Historical Society


We are dedicated to preserving the unique history of Carlton County. We not only collect artifacts and  remember important events, we also gather the countless individual stories left behind by our ancestors and neighbors. We are proud to serve Carlton County in the collection, preservation and dissemination of the history of the county.

We are always working on our museum displays, the barn calendars, the Carlton County Fair,  and endless other projects to showcase the unique history of our area. 

To stay up to date with our events please follow us on Facebook or check the events page on the top navigation bar. 

If you would like to get involved, visit our Join Us or Volunteer page. 

The Carlton County Historical Society (CCHS) was formed in 1949 by a group of interested citizens as a sub-committee of the Cloquet Rotary Club. It functioned as a volunteer organization for a number of years using makeshift spaces in Carlton. The Society found a home at the Garfield School in Cloquet in 1980 and had one part-time employee. In 1987 the Society was moved to a permanent location in the Shaw Memorial Building in Cloquet. The Society also owns several buildings on the Carlton County Fair Grounds in Barnum where outreach activities are held.

The CCHS Foundation was formed in 1988 to support the Carlton County Historical Society in its efforts to collect, preserve, and disseminate the history of Carlton County.

Each year the Carlton County Historical Society serves the citizens of Carlton County, former residents, and visitors to the area in a variety of ways.


Carol Klitzke | Director
Anja Bottila | Co-Director

Suzanne VanHoever | Administrative Assistant

Davie Proulx| Archivist 

Cloquet Ave. 1950

Cloquet Avenue, Cloquet's Main Street, in the 1950s


Our library is a smorgasbord of information. We've got census data, marriage certificates, newspaper files, naturalization records, microfilm, maps, and more. If you can't visit us, we are available to research your questions by mail, phone, or e-mail. Visit the Research page for more information. 


We host a rotating schedule of exhibits throughout the year, so there is always something new! Look for our exhibits at the Historical Society Building, and the Carlton County Fair.

Meet Our Board Members

We asked our board members "Why is local history important to you?" Read their responses below!

Emily Swanson: 

Board President and Ex- Officio Foundation Board Member.

"Albert Einstein made the case for local Historical Societies when he said 'Whoever is careless about the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters'. History matters."

Cynthia Johnson

"I so enjoy exploring history including my own past, my family’s past, my friends’ past, plus playing the past at the log cabin during the Carlton County Fair."

Cynthia also serves on the Foundation Board

Marian Johnson

"You are a part of history. Learn from it, preserve it, and pass it on."

Ted Lammi

 "Local history matters to me because “Past is prologue.”  The only way to know where you are going is to know where you have been.  History to me is the most exciting drama because it really happened."

John Cavanaugh

"History answers the question 'why are things the way there are?' Today is built on the past and our understanding of the past has benefits for today and tomorrow."

Brandon Hartung

"My interest in local history is rooted in my love for sharing the rich tapestry of natural, human, and cultural history with local people and visitors.”

Tom Urbanski

Jan Larson

"I am interested in history. We can learn from the past. I'm excited to learn more about the rich history of Carlton County" 

Foundation Board Members

Pat Brandstaetter:

 Foundation Board President and Ex-Officio CCHS Board Member

"Valuing the past, present, and future, for future generations"

Anja Bottila

"History repeats itself"

Also acts as Co-Director. 

Paula Davis

Todd Rengo

I was a child when I first heard the stories of the 1918 fire and of the heroic rescue of 60 people who took to the plowed field under wet blankets on my great grandfather John Rengo’s Automba homestead (settled in 1893).  Preserving the rich history of Carlton County ensures a connection to the amazing people, and to the stories and struggles of years past. 

Ed Kavanaugh 

Nita Davis

Meet the Staff

Carol Klitzke


Anja Bottila


Suzanne VanHoever

Administrative Assistant

Davie Proulx


Joy Black