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

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.

Shifting Gears for 50 Years

Shifting Gears for 50 Years

For the first time since 2007 the White Bear Lake Area Historical Society will not be having the White Bear Area Historic House Tour this fall. The tradition which began in the 1970s as a collaboration between the historical society and the White Bear Lake Women’s Club as a part of Manitou Days was revived by the WBLAHS in 2007.  The community building event served as an opportunity to raise funds, hear stories of our community through homes that are interesting due to their architecture, former inhabitants, location or other features and bring people to the area. With the challenges presented by COVID-19 it was decided that the Historic House Tour 2020 would be canceled.

When one door closes another opens. September 25, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the incorporation of the White Bear Lake Area Historical Society as an organization. With the Historic House Tour scheduled for Sunday, September 27th we contemplated several ideas to commemorate this important milestone, but continued to struggle with balancing it and the effort required by the tour. With the cancellation of the tour event this year, a newly envisioned anniversary celebration has taken shape. Much like the rest of the world, we have had to rethink and re-envision how we do things and particularly how we can continue to connect our community to its past. As a historian, shifting to new and everchanging technology is not my strongest skillset, but I am inspired by looking back to those who had the foresight in 1970 to formally create an organized charged with preserving the history of this special place and those who took the leap in 2001 to hire the first paid staff to allow the WBLAHS to grow and adapt to the changing times. As we celebrate the past 50 years and launch the WBLAHS on the path for the next 50 years we must continue to adapt and reimagine what it possible.

Over the weekend of September 25-27 the WBLAHS will present “50 for 50 – Celebrating 50 Years of the WBLAHS” a 50 hour virtual “event” featuring an online segment each hour that showcases  an aspect of our community’s rich history and inspires viewers to support the important work of the WBLAHS with a goal of raising $50,000 for 50 Years. The online segments will include live and pre-recorded sections on local favorites such as Wildwood Amusement Park, White Bear’s Notorious Gangsters, The Johnson Boat Works Story, Cass Gilbert’s White Bear Cottages, White Bear’s Hockey History and much more including an interactive happy hour and live trivia segment on Saturday night.

In 2020 we have launched our first efforts into virtual programming and have been inspired by the opportunity to reach audiences that would have previously been limited by geography, scheduling conflicts and other obstacles that disappear when a program is available online. Admittedly, the format is not perfect and we would never rely solely upon it for connecting with our members and supporters, but during these unusual times it is a wonderful opportunity to connect in a new way. We hope you will join us!

COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 Update

Based on the guidelines from Governor Walz and the Minnesota Department of Health to help slow the Spread of COVID-19, our office at the White Bear Lake Armory will be closed through April 3rd. Also All March programs have been canceled. Please stay tuned for news about April events. Please feel free to contact us at651-407-5327 or office@whitebearhistory.org 

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but we want everyone to stay healthy!

The White Bear Lake Area Historical Society Offices & Resource Library will be closed Wednesday, January 4th, due to winter storm conditions. It is the policy of the WBLAHS to follow the closing decisions of the White Bear Lake Area Schools. Stay safe, everyone!