Silver Creek was first settled in 1890 by two different families, Henry Clark
and Ole Wick. (There are some differences in the various historical reports.)
The first white child born in Silver Creek was Campman Anderson in 1897,
although there were Native American families who had been in the area prior to
the arrival of White settlers. The number of immigrant families grew slowly
until there were about 20 families by 1905. That was the year the first town
meeting was held.
The area was initially characterized by logging and fishing along the shore
of Lake Superior. In order to come to Silver Creek, one either came by boat or
along a trail from Two Harbors. In the wintertime, the mail was carried up and
down the North Shore by Chief Bear Grease and his five-dog team. In 1920, the
Castle Danger road was completed. Then in 1924-25, Highway 61 came through.
The first school in Silver Creek was founded in 1895. In the early years, it
was tough because the students spoke Swedish and the teachers did not, so
children were often disciplined for not understanding and sent to the corners,
which were much colder in the winter. The first school in Castle Danger was
built in 1903 as a one-room log house. A new schoolhouse was erected in 1916,
which is now the main part of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church. Sunday school was
started in 1911 and the current town hall was built in 1914.
Fishing in the area has gone through different stages. First, commercial
fishing brought people to the shore. Up until 1944, there were 6 million pounds
of fish processed per season from the North Shore. Indeed, “in 1943 there were
240 commercial fishermen along the north shore between Duluth and Grand Marais
including Isle Royale . . . Today there are only about 30 commercial and
apprentice licenses issues in the entire area from Duluth to the Canadian
border” (Betty Lessard, Betty’s Pies Favorite Recipes, p.4) In the 1950s
smelting became incredibly popular and Betty’s pies had to stay open 24 hours a
day to protect their restaurant and surrounding buildings from fishermen seeking
firewood. By the 1970s and 80s the number of smelt were decreasing and so there
are not as many fishermen. Still, today in the spring, one can often drive
along the lake and see cars parked along Highway 61 and fishermen in the rivers
flowing into Lake Superior. In sum, after beginning as a large industry,
fishing has become mostly an individual and recreational activity.
The Silver Creek Ladies Aid began in 1911 and continues to this day. In
1976, Silver Creek honored the Bicentennial of the Township with an
old-fashioned town picnic.
In general the Township today can be characterized as a rural place where
there are many senior citizens, people who are commuting to work outside the
Township, and a smaller number of children. The main industry is tourism and
there are also quite a few small businesses within the Township’s borders as