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Moose Lake Historical Society plans anniversary events

Natalie Frohrip, vice president of the Moose Lake Area Historical Society, talks about the fires of 1918 as Steve Olson, the group’s executive director, listens. Visible behind and above them is part of the museum’s new mural of scenes from the conflagration, which killed an estimated 453 people. Duluth News Tribune file1 / 2
One of the coffins provided after the 1918 fires sits on display in the Moose Lake Area Historical Society museum’s permanent 1918 fires display. Pine Journal file2 / 2

The Moose Lake Area Historical Society is hosting events Oct. 13 and 14 in observance of the 100th anniversary of the 1918 fires.

This marks a century since the fires devastated the area and became Minnesota's worst natural disaster. The fire caused loss of hundreds of lives and destroyed millions of dollars in property, leaving the remaining victims homeless in the fall of 1918.

The Historical Society built and maintains a museum dedicated to the fire.

On Oct. 13, events begin at 10 a.m. with a bus tour, which departs from the museum. The narrated tour will take visitors to many notable fires sites around Moose Lake. The tour will last approximately two hours, with a catered lunch served upon return. Visitors can then relax and tour the museum. Tickets to this tour are $40; prepayment required.

The commemoration program in the Soo Line Event Center will begin at 2 p.m. The guest speaker will be Curt Brown, author of "Minnesota 1918" and a feature writer for the Star Tribune. There will also be the debut of the restored 1918 Beckwith pump organ originally in the Suomalainen Kirkko (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland) located in Kalevala Township, Carlton County. At this time, Memory Candles will be available at the door and lit in remembrance of loved ones. Coffee and cake will be served after the program.

On Oct. 14, begin at 12:30 p.m. with another narrated bus tour of outlying fires sites, including Kettle River, Split Rock Township and Automba areas. The tour includes a coffee stop in Kettle River. The bus leaves from the Fires of 1918 Museum and will last approximately two hours. Tickets to the Oct. 14 bus tour are $30; prepayment required.

Also Oct. 14, recording artist and Moose Lake native Prudence Johnson, along with Dan Chouinard, will perform a musical tribute for the anniversary of the fires at 4 p.m. at the Moose Lake Community School Auditorium, 4812 County Road 10. Admission is $18 prepaid and $20 at the door.

Call the Moose Lake Depot at 218-485-4234 for more information or to reserve tickets, or stop in at 900 Folz Blvd.