Silver Bay… Before It Was Silver Bay

Reserve Mining Co. plans for a company town at Beaver Bay, dated February 1952; the town would later be renamed Silver Bay.

I stumbled across a file of old, mostly uncaptioned photos in a folder labeled "Beaver Bay." But the 1950s-era shots actually are of what we now call Silver Bay.

The photos – I’ve included several below – show the construction and early days of Silver Bay, which was a company town built by Reserve Mining Co. to serve its large taconite plant on the shore of Lake Superior. According to a history posted on the Silver Bay city Web site (, clearing of the town and plant site began in 1951. The town included homes for Reserve Mining workers, a shopping center and, eventually, several schools. Here is an excerpt from the online history; read the full version at the Silver Bay city Web site:

By December 1952, a few homes were ready for occupancy. There were several different floor plans and house payments were cheap–less than $50 per month–in order that workers could afford them. No down payment was required, and Reserve paid the cost of installing utilities, landscaping, street paving, and sidewalks. At first, only Reserve employees were allowed to purchase the homes.

The town was known as the Beaver Bay housing project – hence the label on the folder in the News Tribune archives – until May 1, 1954, when the new name of Silver Bay was announced.

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