Monday, June 20, 2011

Exploring Two Harbors, MN on Lake Superior

We spent the night in Duluth, MN and decided to explore a bit of the famed North Shore of Minnesota, which runs along the northern shore of Lake Superior. Wow -- what a lake! While we had been here a few years ago, we had forgotten that Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world and actually contains 10% of the world's surface freshwater. Much of it is still very wild and very beautiful.

Orinda is standing next to a monument to the town of Buchanan (just north of Duluth), founded in 1856 as a tribute to President Buchanan. Unfortunately for the town, this monument is all that is left as it never took off.

Two Harbors is about 22 miles north of Duluth and was developed at a steel mining area in the late 1800's. Once the mines were established, the question was how to get the iron ore to the steel mill and the answer was by ship. As a result, this breakwater was built (and extended) to the remarkable structure shown here. Rick and Orinda walked all the way to the end of the breakwater (quite a way!) to the original lighthouse.

The steel ore loading docks are still very active and can be seen behind Rick. Barely visible behind the dock are two large freighters that were being loaded. These docks are well over 1,000 feet long and are massive structures.

This shot shows the two freighters being loaded from the dock. Both ships are very large - around 700' and can carry many, many thousands of tons of iron ore pellets.

Because or the number of ships using the Two Harbors area, a lighthouse was constructed in the later 1890's. The lighthouse is now open for viewing and provided a fascinating look at the last century.

The Tow Harbors Historical Society has developed 4 interesting attractions including the lighthouse, tugboat seen above, the railroad Depot museum, and the original 3M company headquarters, since 3M was actually started in this small town. Tickets for all 4 attractions are a very reasonable $10 per person.

The tug above, the Edna G. was the last operating steam driving tug on the Great Lakes. Built in 1896, it is now open for tours and is a great example of an operable tug.

The tour of the tug included the engine room and Rick was delighted to check out the engine telegraph system. He was ready to respond to orders from the bridge.

Here, Rick, as Captain, is ready to give the engine room the engine command of slow ahead. None of this direct connected throttle stuff for this tug -- this is true old school operation!


Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

I rode an ore ship into there once, funny I never thought to sight-see. Looks like I should have.

squawmama said...

Looks like you had a lot of fun checking out the area... We love visiting Lighthouses.
Have fun & Travel safe

Ryan said...

I'm from Two Harbors though I haven't been home in years. It was nice to see pictures that brought me back home for a few minutes. I'm glad you enjoyed your time there. Next time you go, visit Gooseberry Falls and stop in Betty's Pies.