History in the Spotlight

History in the Spotlight

Now, more than ever history is in the spotlight. People are questioning what they have been taught and seeking a better understanding of what they have experienced. Does that change our history? No, but it does push us to look at things from many different perspectives. Throughout 2021 we have worked to do just that. We have highlighted lesser told stories in a variety of ways including:
  • sharing stories of women in our community such as Dr. Mary Parker Hopkins who was the first female Health Officer for the Village of White Bear in 1910-11;
  • presenting the era of the suffrage amendment and its impact on our community;
  • exploring newly available resources on the Sophie Wirth Camp, the first Jewish Camp in Minnesota, which was located at White Bear Beach;
  • increasing our understanding of our local Native American history;
  • analyzing data from the Mapping Prejudice project and the role racial covenants played in shaping our area, and
  • celebrating the centennial of the incorporation of Birchwood Village.
White Bear Town Hall
Fillebrown House
Armory

We have said it many times throughout the past year or so – we are living through a very historic time – and we need to capture this moment! While this is certainly more apparent during recent times, it is something the White Bear Lake Area Historical Society has worked to accomplish on a regular basis over the past 51 years. What does this mean and how do we do that? Click here to see our many ongoing activities and initiatives.

Photo of Downtown White Bear Lake from mid 20th Century
Black and White Photo of White Bear Lake from mid-20th Century

Whether we are digitizing and transcribing an oral history from Dorothy Magnuson Haas sharing how she watched the Church of Christ, Scientist on Clark Avenue be remodeled in the 1940s, or compiling the origination of street and park names from resources such as blue prints from streetcar archives to share in our virtual programs, or investigating the lawsuit that caused the removal of the great burial mound along Lake Avenue in 1889, we are gathering, preserving and sharing our collective story in order to connect our community to its past.

Volunteers at Marketfest

All of this happens with a small team of dedicated staff and volunteers. At this time, I ask for your continued support of these efforts with a year-end contribution. The White Bear Lake Area Historical Society is a 501c3 non-profit. All donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Please consult your tax advisor for details.

In gratitude,

Sara Markoe Hanson
Executive Director

Village of Birchwood Celebrates 100 Years

Village of Birchwood Celebrates 100 Years

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of the Village of Birchwood. In preparation for a centennial celebration in September, the WBLAHS has been gathering stories and images of Birchwood and its people. Several projects are in the works, including a series of interpretive signage for parks within the city that share the history of the property and the namesake for each.  

Currently underway is a study of the Birchwood Village Hall. The 1970s cedar siding was recently removed to reveal the original 1930s vertical pine siding that was designed in the Moderne style by architect Magnus Jemne. A task force appointed has been working to recommend next steps to the city council.

Jemne worked locally in the office of then Minnesota architect Cass Gilbert and eventually partnered with co-worker Thomas Holyoke for five years. He is best known for the design of the Women’s City Club completed in 1931 in St Paul, Minnesota. There are few other known examples of his work that remain. 

Watch for future updates on the future of the Birchwood Hall and upcoming programs and events to celebrate the centennial of Birchwood Village. 

COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 Update

The White Bear Lake Area Historical Society offices and Resource Library at the White Bear Lake Armory are open to the public by appointment. Please call 651-407-5327 or email office@whitebearhistory.org to arrange a time. 

The Fillebrown House and White Bear Town Hall remain closed to the public at this time. 

We made it to $50,000!

We made it to $50,000!

We made it to $50,000!

We are so excited to announce that with a donation from WBLAHS Past President and supporter Mary Jane LaVigne we have reached our goal of raising $50,000 through the 50th anniversary!

It was a tremendous undertaking that took the efforts of a great many dedicated volunteers, sponsors and donors to pull off. We could not have done it without each and every one who played a part in this milestone.

Please continue to the enjoy the online offerings at Whitebearhistory.org through October 31st and if you have not yet made a contribution to the important work of the White Bear Lake Area Historical Society to gather, preserve and share the stories of our community there is still time to do so.

We thank you all and can’t wait to see what the future brings for the White Bear Lake Area Historical Society!

Support our work

There are so many more stories to tell! Help launch us into our next 50 years.

Segment 49 – What has the WBLAHS Accomplished over the last 50 years? What’s Next?

Segment 49 – What has the WBLAHS Accomplished over the last 50 years? What’s Next?

Segment 49 – What has the WBLAHS Accomplished over the last 50 years? What’s Next?

Our 50th Anniversary Celebration runs Friday-Sunday, September 25-27, 2020. View schedule

Support our work

There are so many more stories to tell! Help launch us into our next 50 years.

Segment 47 – White Bear Water Ski Company Project LIVE

Segment 47 – White Bear Water Ski Company Project LIVE

Segment 47 – White Bear Water Ski Company Project LIVE

Sponsored and hosted by Dennis Zerwas, Jr. of White Bear Water Ski Company Project

Our 50th Anniversary Celebration runs Friday-Sunday, September 25-27, 2020. View schedule

Support our work

There are so many more stories to tell! Help launch us into our next 50 years.

Segment 46 – Downtown White Bear Lake: Then and Now – Viewer’s Choice

Segment 46 – Downtown White Bear Lake: Then and Now – Viewer’s Choice

Segment 46 – Downtown White Bear Lake: Then and Now – Viewer’s Choice

Our 50th Anniversary Celebration runs Friday-Sunday, September 25-27, 2020. View schedule

Support our work

There are so many more stories to tell! Help launch us into our next 50 years.