Law Office Preserves Lake County History

Northland Uncovered: Costley & Morris, P.C.

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If you’re heading into a meeting with an attorney, you might be prepared for a tense situation, but we’ll show you that’s not always the case.

Mitchel Costley works hard at Costley and Morris in Two Harbors focused on his clients, but if you’ve never been in his office before you probably wouldn’t know it’s a tribute to Lake County history.

“I had all this wall space and I had all these old Two Harbors pictures so I just turned it into a Two Harbors museum,” said Costley.

Costley has been passionate about history his whole life, majoring in history in college and now serving on the Lake County Historical Society Board.

“Doing what we do is high intensity work. I can walk away from my desk and go stroll through here which is sort of a calming effect,” said Costley.

Pictures fill the walls, highlighting the major events in Two Harbors past.

“I have a ton of pictures of trains, all over, and ore boats and steam locomotives and all the old sites here,” said Costley.

Some, Costley has found himself, many others Northlanders brought to him.

“Somebody will be cleaning out grandma’s house and have a picture, or some old artifact from one of the old stores in town and they’ll drop it off,” said Costley.

Costley says it’s always a nice surprise when a client can tell him more about a picture.

“I’ve had people come in and say ‘that’s my aunt, or that was my grandmother,” said Costley.

It’s something that’s become well-known around town.

“We have heritage days every year and people come home for their class reunions and they come in here and walk around like it is a museum,” said Costley.

The space was built in 1885 and opened as Rose’s confectionery store.

“It was a candy store, ice cream parlor, news center where they’d come and buy newspapers,” said Costley.

The space then transitioned to a J.C. Penny and turned into a bar after prohibition.

“It stayed the Beacon Tavern until I bought it in the mid–1970s,” explained Costley.

The original candy counter and bar now serves as the welcome desk.

Some may say it’s a dramatic transition from a tavern to a law office, but Costley doesn’t think so.

“But remember we’re admitted to the bars, so it’s a good place for us to be,” joked Costley.

All jokes aside, Costley feels at home because of the peaceful presence here.

“Sometimes you go into a law office and you feel like you’ve got to be uptight, this kind of brings them back to earth,” said Costley.

It’s a tribute to his hometown and the people who made it what it is.

If you have a photo you’d like to share with Costley, you can just give him a call or stop in.

The office is located at 609 1st Ave, Two Harbors, MN 55616.

You can call at (218) 834-2194.

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