Two historic wood cabins at the Dorothy Molter Museum were renovated with new floors recently thanks to a state culture and tourism grant.

The cabins, about 80 years old, were part of Molter's home on Knife Lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Molter, a Pennsylvania-born nurse who in 1930 visited the Boundary Waters for the first time, became a regular visitor to Knife Lake while helping resort owner Bill Berg­lund. She was deeded the resort when he died, and Molter began her life as a single woman in the northern Minnesota wilderness.

A champion shooter as a teenager, Molter took to life in the woods, garnering national publicity from visiting journalists while helping canoeists with her medical knowledge or selling them homemade root beer. The "Root Beer Lady," as she became known, was allowed to stay when Congress in 1964 created the Boundary Waters. She died at age 79 in 1986, the last person living full-time in the state's cherished wilderness area.

Matt McKinney


Tour to display work on 1907 opera house

The ongoing restoration of the Batcher Block Opera House will be on display at an open house and tour set for Aug. 28 at 10 a.m.

The opera house, built in 1907, ceased operation in the 1930s and lay vacant until restoration efforts began in 2002. In 2004, the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In recent years, restoration efforts picked up steam through efforts of the Staples Economic Development Authority, along with local business and community leaders.

Local officials hope that the building, when fully restored, will host as many as 300 civic, cultural and entertainment events a year, bringing new life to the city.


North Shore

Have telescopes, will travel

The University of Minnesota Duluth's traveling planetarium program is offering a chance to view the night sky through large telescopes and learn about the universe in its traveling GeoDome this week.

Experts will be at the Tettegouche Visitor Center on Monday and Tuesday; Voyageur Brewing Co. in Grand Marais on Wednesday and Thursday; and the Seagull Lake Community Center on the Gunflint Trail on Friday and Saturday. The display will be open generally from 6 to 10:30 p.m. For more information, go to

Pam Louwagie