In the early 20th century, the Soudan Iron Mine awarded employees of the mine lots on neighboring Stuntz Bay on Lake Vermilion to build boathouses. The employees were tasked with supplying their own materials and labor for the construction of their boathouses. Most were built with tamarack logs and reclaimed corrugated metal from the mine.
Over 140 of these boathouses still stand today, albeit in various states of disrepair, with some renovated for continued use, and some crumbling into the bay. The boathouses now reside within the boundaries of Soudan Underground Mine State Park and have been listed as a Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.
The owners of any boathouses not already surrendered to the park will be the last generation to own them, as current rules prohibit the transfer of ownership under any circumstances. Once the owner dies or surrenders ownership, the boathouse becomes the property of the park. This leaves the fate of the boathouses uncertain, as it’s likely the park will not repair or restore them once they’ve taken ownership.
Know Before You Go
The boathouses are best viewed by boat in Stuntz Bay. They can also be accessed by road via Stuntz Bay Road from Soudan. Avoid trespassing, as they are privately owned or property of the park.