Pequaywan Township History

Pequaywan Township  — 54 North, Range 12W — became a reality on Jan. 28, 1980, when the split from Alden Township was official. But the effort started several years earlier.

Minutes from an April 25, 1976, Lake Association meeting report a discussion on having our own township and how to have a polling place in our area instead of having to travel to Alden.

Minutes from Sept. 25, 1976, record a discussion on how to organize a township. A committee was formed to look into the matter. Members were Lorraine Bierman, Warren Thompson, LeRoy Wright and Lloyd Sandstrom.

Petition to the County Board

An April 19, 1977, petition to divide Alden Township was signed by 36 residents and given to Alvin Hall, then chair of the St. Louis County Board.

The petition stated four reasons why residents wanted to split from Alden:

  • Distance residents had to travel to Alden for voting is from 26 miles to approximately 80 miles, depending on weather conditions.
  • Lack of cooperation from past town boards.
  • Two definite population centers in a double township.
  • No constable or fire protection supplied by township in our area.

The county board held a discussion meeting on the split on Sept. 6 , 1977, and decided to wait for another two years, then bring it up for discussion and a vote at that time.

In a Duluth Tribune article Pequaywan resident Lorraine Biermann explained, “The reason we split was because we are two completely separate communities. It was just too hard for the people up here to realize what was going on down there.”

With the Pequaywan area providing 77 percent of the Alden Township tax base, the article continued, residents said it was also hard to see their tax money pay for repairing three times as many roads in the southern part of the township.

It was also felt that having our own township would benefit road maintenance and help the fledging volunteer Fire Department receive government grants.

Also, the connection between the two communities was tenuous — the main road connecting the two areas was the Rossini trail, 12 miles of logging road, left unplowed in the winter, according to the newspaper article.

In the winter of ’77-’78, the Rossini was plowed for the first time to allow winter travel.

First Annual Meeting

The first Pequaywan Township annual meeting was held March 11, 1980, in the living room of Lorraine and Luverne Bierman, who lived on Big Pequaywan at 550 West Branch Road. Until township meetings moved to the Fire Department garage  in the summer of 1982, meetings would be held in the homes of the township supervisors.

Luverne Bierman was elected one of the first township supervisors along with Roger Johnson and Leroy Wright. Noreen Maki was elected town clerk and Irene Shields, treasurer. Maki had been the town clerk in Alden Township and Wright had been an Alden township supervisor, both elected in 1977.

Business at the first annual meeting included the tax levy for 1981, compensation for supervisors ($15 per meeting) and $100 a year for the treasurer. The township clerk was to get the minimum wage per hour.