Stewart River

The Stewart River c. 1920. (Image: Zenith City Press)

Located three miles north of Two Harbors, the Stewart River takes its name from early pioneer John Stewart, who settled in the area in 1865 looking for copper deposits to mine. He never found any. Logging occurred along the Stewart in the nineteenth century, but the river was so rocky and narrow it often jammed with logs.

In 1924, just three years after Minnesota began its trunk highway system, a bridge was built to span the Stewart River. Bridge No. 3589, a reinforced concrete arch adorned with Classical Revival details, stretches nineteen feet across the river. Because the North Shore’s Lake Superior tributaries are particularly rocky waterways, it was one of only a few regions in Minnesota provided with the funds to build concrete bridges in the highway system’s early years. The Minnesota Highway Department boastfully declared the bridge “the most aesthetically accomplished statement…produced by the state highway program.”

Today the mouth of the Stewart is a popular place to catch lake trout or to stop for a piece of pie at perhaps the North Shore’s most famous eatery, Betty’s Pies. Betty and Lloyd Lessard opened their shop in 1956; the original building—the former Andy’s Fish Shack—was demolished in 1984, two years after Betty sold the enterprise.

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