The history of Beaver Bay and Silver Bay (Bay Area) are tied together although their beginnings occurred 100 years apart. With the signing of the LaPointe treaty of 1854, opening of the Sault Locks in 1855 and the arrival of the Steamer Illinois in 1856, Beaver Bay became the first established community on the Minnesota shore of Lake Superior. Beaver Bay survived the “financial panic” sweeping the country that caused the other north shore communities to become abandoned in 1857. Among the mainly German – Swiss residents were the five Wieland brothers who stayed and became pillars of sort for the community. Through the enterprising of the Wielands, a tannery, sawmill and grist mill were built providing a living for residents for 30 years. Beaver Bay’s most recognized resident was John Beargrease, mail carrier who delivered mail for 20 years along the shore. During the 1860′s and 70′s, the interest in mineral exploration in northeast Minnesota prompted a group of Michigan businessmen to send Peter Mitchell to Beaver Bay where he was guided to the Babbitt area by Christian Wieland to search for gold, copper and silver. This exploration led to the discovery of iron ore which set in motion the events which would eventually lead to the establishment of Silver Bay.
By the mid 1880′s, the last of the Wielands had moved from Beaver Bay and the county seat had been moved to Two Harbors. For the next 40 years, the Bay Area would remain a quiet community of small farmers, commercial fishermen, trappers and loggers. The natural resources and features that brought pioneers to the Beaver Bay area 150 years ago are still here. Logging, fishing, mining and tourism are still very important. The large-scale logging operations of Alger-Smith have been replaced by small independent loggers.