North Shore Commercial Fishing Museum Fisherman picking netsLake Superior shorelineFish CratesFisherman in a skiff
Commercial Fishing on Lake Superior
website menu
Commercial Fishermen
Plan Your Visit

Group Tours
School Groups
Virtual Tour

While On The North Shore…
Places To Visit
Places To Stay

Virtual Tour: The People

In the latter part of the 1800's, Scandinavian immigrants settled the rocky North Shore of Lake Superior. Lured by tales of abundance and opportunity, the first settlers traded the harsh coasts of their homeland for the equally harsh climate of the North Shore. Although the early settlers pursued both farming and logging, fishing was the primary occupation. Fish buyers in Duluth eagerly promoted the fledgling fishing industry by providing both fishing equipment on credit and a ready market for the catch. Glowing reports of success soon attracted more families from the homeland and commercial fishing became an established way of life in the new land.

Many of these immigrants came directly from the coastal fishing villages of Norway, bringing with them a knowledge of appropriate fishing techniques, a formidable work ethic and a native hardiness. The North Shore offered many new challenges, but the familiarity of fishing from a cold, rugged shore provided them with a sense of place.

families working at the docks

Hans Engleson (the first postmaster of Tofte), and Torger Englesen and John and Andrew Tofte founded the community of Tofte. Attracted by an abandoned homestead at the foot of the southeast slope of Carlton Peak, Hans Englesen, his brother and brothers-in-law began clearing the land and building cabins in 1893. In 1897 in conjunction with the opening of the first post office, Hans Englesen named the new community "Tofte" after his wife Johanna's family seat of Tofte in Norway.

next: The Fishing Life


Plan Your Visit | Events & Programs | Exhibits | Collections | Museum Store | Membership | About Us | Home

© copyright 2003, North Shore Commercial Fishing Museum.
PO Box 2312 • 7136 Highway 61 • Tofte, Minnesota 55615
phone: (218) 663-7050

web design by homepage design

Plan Your Visit Events and Programs Exhibits Collections Museum Store Membership About Us