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Flashback Friday: 3M Birthplace in T.H. Recorded by Plaque

A bronze plaque was affixed to a building in Two HArbors which housed the offices of John Dwan, an attorney, who was the first secretary of the Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Co., now the 3M company, in 1902.The firm had its inception on a site at Crystal Bay just east of Silver Bay. Shown left to right are Thomas Dwan, Two Harbors; Ralph Dwan, Washington, D.C.; W. Lorne Fowler, Two Harbors; Mayor David Battaglia of Two Harbors and Lake County Engineer T.G. Odegard, Two Harbors.

From the May 21, 1964 issue of the Two Harbors Chronicle & Times

The birthplace of Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Co., now a titan in American industry, was recorded for posterity in Two Harbors last Thursday with the unveiling of a plaque on a building housing the original office of the company on the northwest corner of the intersection of 2nd Ave. and 6th St. in Two Harbors.

0 Talk about it

Actually, the birth of the concern took place at Crystal Bay near Illgen City, on the lake shore northeast of the Lake County seat, where a supply of an abrasive known as carborundum was available.

The first secretary was an attorney named John Dwan, whose office building on 2nd and 6th was headquarters for the struggling young concern in 1902.

Several members of the Dwan family were present in Two Harbors for the unveiling of the plaque and a subsequent luncheon held at the Legion Lounge. Also attending were representatives of the St. Louis and Cook County Historical Societies and other guests. The affair was sponsored by the Lake County Historical Society.

Ralph Dwan, Washington, D.C., an attorney and member of the board of directors of Triple-M, was present for the occasion and introduced members of the Dwan family at the luncheon. He was introduced by W. Lorne Fowler of the Lake County Historical Society, who was master of ceremonies.

Other members of his family from out of the city present for the event were Dr. Paul Dwan of St. Paul, Mr. and Mrs. Leland Schubert of Cleveland, O., and Mrs. John Dwan, Duluth. Mrs. Schubert is a sister of the Dwan brothers.

Presiding at the unveiling ceremony at 11:#0 a.m. was Thomas Dwan of Two Harbosr, and general chairman was Henry Dwan, also of Two Harbors.

Fowler called on Ralph Dwan, who reminisced about years gone by in Two Harbosr and who recalled when an old Mitchell automobile the family had broke down between Crystal Bay and Two Harbors.

Dwan then introduced various members of the family present for the occasion.

Fowler also introduced W.H. Bennett, an official of Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Co., who talked of the history of the concern since its inception in Lake County. Bennett recalled that archives of the firm showed that there no dividends realized by investors from 1902 to 1916.

Some 85 persons were present for the luncheon and about 100 or more were on hand when the plaque on the original office building was unveiled. Among those present, besides the Dwan family and historical society officials, were Mayor David Battaglia and Two Habors city officials and members of the Two Harbors Rotary Club. John Smrekar, Silver Bay, president of the Minnesota Arrowhead Association, was another guest at the session.

During the luncheon program Fowler also called on Mrs. E.W. Davis of Silver Bay, who is compiling a history of this area and recalled the memory of the late Hans Ojard, Knife River. He also regretted the fact that circumstances prevented the attendance at the event of D.D. Chicken and R.B. Elliott, both active in the society. He also introduced in absentia the three absent charter members, Mrs. H. Olson, Dr. James Jumer and Elliot.