Aug. 3, 1944

First ore train

Thomas E. Owens, pioneer of this city, relates this vivid historic event in the story of the D.M. & I.R. and Two Harbor:

Sixty years ago, July 30, marks a period in the iron ore industry — the first train of ore was brought from Tower Junction to Agate Bay Two Harbors. It consisted of ten car loads, 330 tons, hauled by locomotive No. 8, whose crew members were conductor Henry Black, rear brakeman Jack Caverly, head brakeman Steve Hannan, fireman C. Tom Fisher and locomotive engineer Thomas Owens. Locomotive No. 3, now in the honored position in the depot yard, handled the cars at the mine.

The first trip was accomplished by loading from Breitung Pit and the trail left Tower at 4 p.m. after a celebration. It arrived in Agate Bay at 11 p.m. where a banquet awaited at the Lake View Hotel. High spots on the menu were oranges and salt pork. Eighteen guests of President Tower made the trip.

July 30 is significant because President C. Tower Jr. paid John Wolf Co. contractors $50,000 as the road was completed for carrying ore on July 30, 1884.

Thomas Owens was made superintendent of the DMIR in 1892 and vice president in 1923. He retired at the age of 74.

Aug. 7, 1969

‘Homeless’ light guarded by locks

The site of the famed Split Rock Lighthouse, the beacon light of which went out on the first of this year after 59 years of lighting the way to seafarers of the Great Lakes, is now padlocked to public access.

The site is caught between vacation of control by the U.S. government and acquisition by the State of Minnesota. It is temporarily under the control of the federal government's general services administration.

The padlocking came about with the disclosure that some vandalism had occurred to the lighthouse structure, none, fortunately, of a serious nature.

The State of Minnesota plans acquisition of the site as a historical and scenic landmark but, as in all governmental operations, considerable red tape is involved with may delay its formal acquisition.

Reports of public access to the lighthouse grounds since the locking of the gates are conflicting. While the move was reported an attempt to keep persons away from the grounds, Kellogg said sightseers Wednesday gained entrance by walking around the fence.

The store operator said he was informed Wednesday by Langen’s office that the government property is to be placed in control of the General Services Administration, an agency that disposes of federal land and final transfer to the State of Minnesota would take another six months.

Kellogg said there have been instances of vandalism to the buildings on the lighthouse grounds but regarded them as not too serious. Persons have torn a few boards from windows he said, but not caused any known damage to items of value.