Research Your History!

The White Bear Lake Area Historical Society has many resources to help you uncover the stories of our community.  Whether you are looking for information on your family, a local organization, or photographs to decorate your office the WBLAHS may be able to help.

The WBLAHS Resource Library is located in the White Bear Lake Armory at the intersection of 4th Street and Cook Avenue in downtown White Bear Lake. It is open throughout the year—hours may vary depending on season.

Resource Library appointments are strongly recommended even during regular business hours as staff and space is limited.

Appointments allow staff to plan accordingly and assist researchers to the fullest benefit. To schedule an appointment please contact us at 651-407-5327.

No fee is charged for onsite research. Please see the WBLAHS Research Library Fees and Policies for information on research services.

Please note:  Many items are stored off-site and can be provided for research with advance notice.

The Banfill Trail: The Route it Took... and Other Bits of Local History

“Welcome to a journey down North Oaks History Lane. This one is a bit unusual, in that it is about a somewhat obscure thing in Minnesota History, the Banfill Trail…”

The Research Collection

The White Bear Lake Area Historical Society’s research collection spans more than 150 years of local history and continues to grow. With the addition of our Resource Library in 2001 and on-going cataloging projects, the collection is more accessible to the public than ever before. Resources available for research include:

  • Books on Local History
  • Saint Mary’s and Saint Pius Church – Baptism, Marriage and Death Records
  • Microfilm of Local Newspapers—The Lake Breeze, The Breeze, White Bear Life, The White Bear Press, The Free Press, The Railsplitter and The Town Crier (1887-2005)
  • Genealogical Index of White Bear Newspapers 1887-1988
  • Index of White Bear Lake Cemeteries: St. John’s Episcopal, Lakeview, Union and St. Mary’s Catholic
  • Vertical files on local subjects, businesses, events, buildings and more
  • Biography and obituary files on local individuals and families
  • Organizational records including: American Legion Auxiliary, White Bear Women’s Club, White Bear Lake Fire Department, the Masonic Lodge—Garnet Lodge #166 of White Bear Lake, White Bear Lake Genealogical Society and the White Bear Lake Area Historical Society, White Bear Lake Lions Club, White Bear Lake Men’s Garden Club, Bald Eagle Lake Improvement Association, Priebe Lake Improvement Association
  • Plat maps and atlases of the area: 1898/1901, 1908
  • School records (1861)
  • White Bear Town Board Meeting Minutes 1883-1990
  • White Bear Village Council Meeting Minutes 1881-1921
  • White Bear Lake City Council Meeting Minutes 1921-2000
  • Family and Community Scrapbooks-some indexed
  • More than 8,000 Photographs of the area, including original images and negatives from Snap Fournelle’s local photography studio capturing White Bear Lake and its families in the 1930s. (1860s-present)
  • Birth and Death Indexes (1916-1932)
  • Local Maternity Hospital Registers (1921-1932)
  • 1980/81 Ramsey County Historic Sites Survey (local section only) featuring inventory sheets and photographs of buildings deemed historic

Growth of the White Bear Lake Area Historical Society’s collection relies on donations from the community members past and present. Photographs, maps, books, papers, letters, family and business records relating to the people and places of the White Bear Lake Area are desired. If you have an item you would consider donating, please contact Sara at 651-407-5327.

Tips for Researching Property History

House History Research