Going northeast from Duluth, Minnesota State Highway 61 follows the shore of Lake Superior to Lake County (pop. 10,866).
Lake County extends north from Lake Superior to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the Canadian border.
The county seat is Two Harbors (pop. 3,745). The 3M Company, now headquartered in St. Paul, started in Two Harbors in 1902 as the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company. Two Harbors now has a 3M museum.
The Two Rivers Depot Museum, in the historic Duluth and Iron Range Depot (1907), has exhibits on Lake County’s three biggest industries: iron mining, timber, and commercial fishing.
The tugboat Edna G is also on display in Two Harbors. It was the last coal-fired, steam-powered tugboat on the Great Lakes when it retired in 1981.
Lake Superior, the world’s largest freshwater lake, has had about 350 shipwrecks over the years – the largest of which was the Edmund Fitzgerald (fully loaded for Cleveland) in 1975.
In recent years, most of the lighthouses (to aid ships’ navigation) on Lake Superior have closed, but the Two Harbors Lighthouse (1892) is still operating. The Lake County Historical Society has a museum inside.
Farther up the coast are several state parks, including Gooseberry Falls and Tettegouche.
The nearby town of Silver Bay (pop. 1,887) was constructed in 1951-55 as a company town for the Reserve Mining Company, which built a 47-mile railroad line from its taconite mine in Babbitt (in the Iron Range) to its processing plant in Silver Bay.
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