Ted Wheeler’s Livery

wheeler

Tower Stage Line at Ted Wheeler’s Livery. The livery is believed to have been located on the site of The Tower News building. This Tower Stage Line provided public transportation between the Tower Depot, boat landing, Tower business district,the saw mill on Pike Bay, near Hoodoo Point and the mines at the Breitung and Stone locations (present day Soudan). Unfortunately none of the men depicted in this undated, 19th century, photograph are identified. Without any specific concrete evidence, it is speculated that the photograph would most likely date to the 1890s, due to the style of the stage and the need to transport people between Tower and Soudan during that busy time.

Ted Wheeler was a blacksmith and teamster who learned the trade from his father, George E. Wheeler, a United States Indian Agent at the Lake Vermilion Indian Reservation. The treaty with the Bois Forte band of Chippewa Indians specified that the Indians were to be provided a blacksmith and George Wheeler filled that role as well. Coming from one of the first American white families to live on Lake Vermilion, Ted Wheeler was one of the teamsters delivering much-needed supplies for the fledgling iron mining industry making trips from Duluth to Tower starting in 1882. The 100 mile trip was arduous and travel was nearly impossible across swamp lands in the summer. Although driving a freight team of horses was easier during the frozen winter months, on one difficult six-day trip in January 1883, bonfires had to be kindled to keep the teamsters and their horses from freezing during the bitter cold nights.

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