Holding On To History: Tower-Soudan history talks teach young and old about the past

Published: Aug. 21, 2023 at 10:21 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TOWER, MN. (Northern News Now) - In the early 1900′s, James Peyla did something virtually unheard of in turn of the century Tower, Minnesota. The Italian Catholic married a Swedish Lutheran woman named Jenni Anderson. Her brothers owned a gas station and a Vermilion Range busline. In 1925, they sold the busline to the company that would become Greyound and the gas station to James. The Peylas would go on to also run the Glenmore Resort and the Y-Store and become known as the Goldfines of the North. Dick Peyla recently gave a standing room only presentation on his family history and friends and family came from as far away as Arizona.

“The family lore said the transportation business had been purchased by Greyhound and I wanted to know if that was only family lore or did that happen?” said Tami Merry, a descendant of the Anderson family.

Similar talks to Peyla’s have been happening for the last three years. They’re called History Talks on Main Street and they’re put on by the Tower-Soudan Historical Society. Previous talks have covered topics from the long abandonned Pike River power dam to the Marttila Drug store that ran for more than 80 years. The final talk of the 2023 season will come in September when a Range historian from Hibbing focusses on the founder of the Vermilion Iron Range - Civil War veteran Charlemagne Tower.

“And it’s going to be Charlemagne Tower’s Tracks to the Future talking about the development of the iron ore mining industry on the Vermilion Range.” said Nancy Larson of the Tower Soudan Historical Society.

Recently, the Tower Soudan Historical Society has started something called Train Tales in the society’s century old Train Car 81.

“Because we want to get children involved; we want them to start asking questions early on like we never did.” said Larson.

That was one of the conclusions of Dick Peyla’s speech: ask about family history now before it’s too late.

Click here to download the Northern News Now app or our Northern News Now First Alert weather app.