Historical society receives $ 285,618 for exterior renovation of historic fire station
TOWER – The Tower-Sudan Historical Society (TSHS) has just received a Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage grant of $ 285,618 for the rehabilitation of the exterior of the historic fire hall in the tower. The grant, provided through the Minnesota Historical Society, fills the masonry project’s funding gap of $ 425,000.
TSHS also secured $ 140,000 for this project through the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Downtown Streetscapes program, Tower Economic Development Authority, Minnesota Power Foundation, Mortenson Family Foundation, Frandsen Bank and Trust, and individual cash donations. MacDonald and Mack Architects, a Minneapolis-based architectural firm specializing in historic preservation and management of existing structures of all ages, will oversee the 2022 project.
The historic Tower Fire Station tells the story of Tower as the chain’s first mining town and offers Tower-Sudan-Lake Vermilion residents, seasonal residents and visitors a glimpse into the social history of the city. mining of iron ore in Minnesota. The building housed the town hall and the prison, in addition to the fire brigade. It was used as a community center for social activities for many years after the town hall and prison were moved in 1935. It was sold to private individual and rented to businesses after the civic center was built in the 1970s.
The building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places for its importance in the theme of social history.
Last summer, TSHS completed the replacement of the building’s roof. The original windows and doors were restored in 2019. The exterior restoration project is in pursuit of TSHS ‘goal of developing and providing the community with an up-to-date facility throughout the year where Visitors can learn about the tower and Sudan’s vital role in the development of the iron mining industry which has had a lasting impact on the region and has helped shape its cultural identity.
It will also tell the story of the early days when Tower Harbor was a transportation hub and a bustling commercial center with a hotel, outfitters and a boat builder. Steamboats carried passengers from trains to logging camps and resorts that were only accessible by water, pioneering the Minnesota tourism and resort industry on Vermilion Lake in the early 20th century century, decades before tourism became a major industry throughout the state of Minnesota.
TSHS plans to further develop the historic fire hall into a historic education and event center, and provide an outlet for local artisans, making it a unique shopping and education experience. The TSHS will continue to sponsor a variety of pop-up community events. Charlemagne’s monthly attic sales, History Talks on Main Street series, and prison and town / fire station tours will continue throughout the summer of 2022.
TSHS is currently asking for donations to install a toilet in the historic fire station so that more public events can be held in the building. Please consider making a cash donation, tribute or memorial donation, or an annual pledge. Multi-year commitments to support the preservation of the fire hall and the sharing of the history of the area can be made by contacting Nancy Larson at 218-750-7514 or Louise Gately at 515-229-8757, or at tshsdonations @ gmail .com
TSHS is a 501 (c) (3) organization which operates the Historic Train Depot Museum and Visitor Information Center at the west entrance of the tower, and is restoring the Historic History Education Center of the fire station. Donations of any size can be sent at any time to the Tower Sudan Historical Society, PO Box 465, Tower, MN 55790 or made through PayPal by linking to the website at www.towersoudanhs.org.