St. Louis County Historical Society Celebrates 94 Years

Northland Uncovered: St. Louis County Historical Society

For centuries important events have been documented throughout the world and there are special groups of people in each community making sure that happens.

In this week’s Northland Uncovered we show you the folks keeping track of the history in St. Louis County.

“History isn’t dry dusty facts; history is really our story, your story,” explained Jo Anne Coombe, Executive Director for the St. Louis County Historical Society.

Duluthians have been officially preserving our stories for 94 years.

“Names like Congdon, Alworth, Merrit, and many more got together and said this is important,” said Coombe.

In all, it was about 45 of Duluth’s most influential leaders who formed the St. Louis County Historical Society in 1922, but it already had a strong foundation.

Coombe mentioned there were societies like this before, “1884 ‘The Old Settlers Association of the Head of the Lakes’, we also have the 1887 ‘Historical and Scientific Association’ and then in the 1900s the ‘Minnesota War Records Commission.'”

Coombe says back then they kept the documents much differently, “The organization started as grassroots and now we are working with computer technology that allows us to keep track of thousands and thousands of artifacts.”

These artifacts are very special to many Northlanders, especially Coombe who grew up in Ely, Minnesota, “My grandparents walked on the bricks in the railroad museum when they arrived from Slovenia, then known as Austria.”

Her uncles also walked those same bricks when they left to serve in World War II.

“The building where history was made is where history is being preserved,” said Coombe.

Soon, her uncle’s, Albin Zaverl’s, collection of art “Old Country Memories” will be hanging on the walls of the museum.

“I’m thinking my immigrant grandparents would be particularly proud that their history was documented by their artist son,” said Coombe.

The St. Louis County Historical Society is celebrating with their annual membership dinner April 26.

Megan Marsnik will present “Immigrant Woman & Labor in Northern Minnesota”.

Tickets are $35.

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