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Your Guide to Ely, Canoe Country & the BWCAW – Boundary Waters Canoe Area

Ely Minnesota > Books > Ely History

Ely History

A Finnish Family in Ely, Minnesota

Dedication: To all the people, living or dead, of Finn Hill. They made this neighborhood so delightful a place in which to live. It is a community that I miss and will never forget.

Price: $18.95

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“Root Beer Lady” The story of Dorothy Molter

“Root Beer Lady” Written and Illustrated by Bob Cary. The story of Dorothy Molter who came to the Minnesota-Ontario Wilderness area as a young woman and stayed for fifty-six years. Making her home on Knife Lake, 18 miles from the nearest road, Dorothy became a North Woods legend. Trained as a nurse, she often cared for wilderness residents and visitors who needed help in this remote area. An ice-cold root beer and a warm welcome greeted thousands of visitors to her island home. 177 Pages, Soft Cover.

Price: $16.95

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A History of Incredible Ely

By John Somrock, author, and pictures by Lee Brownell.

Stories taken from the files of old newspapers, mining industry journals, and logging company records, along with stories told by old settlers, miners, lumberjacks, trappers, prospectors, guides, and Indians. Conversations with early immigrants and first-generation Americans whose parents and grandparents came from Europe to work in the mine and cut the virgin timber of Northeast Minnesota.

Price: $15.95

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A Wonderful Country The Quetico-Superior Stories of Bill Magie

Transcribed, edited, and arranged by Dave Olesen. Illustrations by Bill Nelson When Bill Magie began taking canoe trips in the wild country along the Minnesota-Ontario border, there were places where the lakes were so crowded with logs heading to the mill that his group put their gear on a horse-drawn wagon to portage to a spot where they could paddle. There were other places where they could travel for two or three weeks and see no one except the occasional Indian family. Take this book on your next canoe trip, and imagine Bill has joined you, spinning tales of lumberjacks and trappers, surveying the border, flying bush planes when flying at all was a novelty, camping before nylon and plastic and freeze-dried food, hunting and fishing when you succeeded or went hungry. And know that the spirit of those who have loved this pace lives on as today’s paddlers discover what a wonderful country this is.

Price: $22.95

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Burntside Lake: The Early Years

By Milt Stenlund in cooperation with the Ely-Winton Historical Society.

The early history of Burntside Lake deals with those Native Americans who called it home for centuries, and those who came later in search of land, timber and minerals. Interviews with several people who lived in the area, or who had worked with the logging companies. Includes map of Burntside Lake with locations of the logging operations by various companies.

Price: $10.95

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Dorothy’s Christmas Letters

Years Nov.1955 bird letter, and Christmas Letters 1955,56,57,58, 59,60,61,62,63,64,65,67/68, $3.50 per booklet
All 13 booklets, $30.00

Dorothy took advantage of quiet times in the winter to write long Christmas letters which she sent to her friends in every part of the country. These letters describe the happenings of the year and give the reader great insight of what living in a remote wilderness was like.

Price: $30.00

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Enterpreneurs and Immigrants

By Michael Karni.
Series of essays selected from several that were read at the Iron Range Research Center in Chisholm, Minnesota, as a result of two conferences held there. The topics that were covered include Indian life before the coming of the mine bosses, the gold rush of 1865-1866, early mining entrepreneurs and their task of establishing iron mines in the wilderness, women on the mining frontier, company social policies, labor unrest among the miners, and the development of town-sites on the Vermilion Range. Cover by Carl Gawboy.

Price: $20.95

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Ghost Mines of the Ely Area

By Milt Stenlund in cooperation with the Ely-Winton Historical Society.
Stories about twelve iron mines that were explored and developed between the Mud Creek Road area from Armstrong Lake to Lake Vermilion and a six-mile radius of Ely. Also included, the Howard Mine near Lake One on the Fernberg Road out of Winton, some 15 miles. The mines were developed between the 1880s and the early 1920s, and all were abandoned by 1924.

Price: $10.95

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Happy Depression on the Iron Range

By Finny Lager.

A number of humorous stories relating to the Depression. Written by a second-generation Finn, covering stories of the Finnish people, also taking in the different language dialects on the Iron Range.

Price: $10.95

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Magic on the Rocks by Michael Furtman

Pictographs of Northern Quetico, Eastern Quetico, Central Quetico, Western Quetico, and the Boundary Waters. Covers the origin of the pictographs, the symbolism, and social customs. Also, maps, directions to sites, and photos.

Price: $17.95

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Old Babbitt

By Milt Stenlund in cooperation with the Ely-Winton Historical Society.
History of old Babbitt, the plant and community, with pictures in the early 1920s.
Also history of the remaining community from 1924-1955, with pictures. Interviews with residents about memories of the past.

Price: $6.95

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Pioneer Life in Ely

By Lee Brownell and pictures from collection of Lee Brownell.
Not a history of Ely, but a number of stories about people and the events as remembered by somebody making a remark or by other means. Stories are accompanied with many pictures.

Price: $15.95

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Roaring Stoney Days, 1888-1958

A souvenir booklet. A commemoration of Ely’s 70th birthday and the Minnesota Centennial. History of Ely with excerpts from the Ely Miner. Pioneer memories with pictures of older residents. Finnish residents listed and a history of the “sauna.” Includes history of Winton. Also information on city churches and businesses.

Price: $15.95

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Section 30 The Mine and the Community

By Milt Stenlund in cooperation with the Ely-Winton Historical Society.
History of the Section 30 mine in Lake County near Winton. Discussion of development of the mine and the community it generated. Interviews with Section 30 residents, pictures, map of Section 30 from 1910-1923 showing location and name of family houses.

Price: $10.95

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Stories of Old Ely & the Lake Country

“Laconic phrases came out of Mike Hillman in a natural North Country Poetry. Mike then digressed — all good storytellers digress — to tell me, offhand and by the way, on of the most affecting small-town stories I’ve ever heard. In Mike Hillman I thought I had stumbled upon the soul of Ely, Minnesota. He is a tenacious and able man of the north. In the spirit of his forebearers, he can do anything he sets his mind to — even if it’s something he’s never done before. Ely should always belong to prople like Iron Mike Hillman, who realize that lakes are the eyes of the earth; people who know enough to thank the Great Spirit for the rice harvest and to tread lightly on the portages.” Charles Kuralt in Charles Kuralt’s America — the introduction from Mike Hillman’s book.

Price: $14.95

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