Nestled in a quiet grove of pines, just outside of Ely, Minnesota, are the cabins and museum of one of the north wood’s dearest and most colorful individuals, Dorothy Molter. Some remember her fondly as the “Root Beer Lady” while others recall her as the “Nightingale of the Wilderness” or, simply, Dorothy.
Dorothy carved out her legacy in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) located within the Quetico-Superior National Forest. Dorothy lived on the Isle of Pines on Knife Lake for more than 56 years where she paddled, hiked, fished, skied and snowshoed this pristine area, until her death in 1986. She was visited by as many as 7,000 people a year.
About the Dorothy Molter Museum
The Dorothy Molter Memorial Foundation located in Ely, Minnesota, was formed to preserve and interpret her legacy. Dorothy’s homestead was dismantled in 1987 and transported by dogsled and snowmobile to Moose Lake, and then on to Ely where volunteers restored two of her cabins. We welcome you to our website, and invite you to stop by our museum where the root beer is always cold and Dorothy’s story lives on.
The Dorothy Molter Museum is located on the south side of Hwy 169 on the east end of Ely, MN. Guided tours are available daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Fridays and Saturdays in September and the Saturdays in October. Admission is $6.50 for adults, $5.50 for Seniors, $4.00 for ages 6-17, and free for children 5 and under.
New Point Cabin Exhibit – Dorothy Molter: Living in the Boundary Waters
In 2013, as part of its 20th anniversary celebration, the Dorothy Molter Museum unveiled a new exhibit in the Point Cabin: ”Dorothy Molter: Living in the Boundary Waters.”
By combining objects and photographs from the museum’s collection with quotes and clips from the 1987 documentary film of the same name, this exhibit illustrates how Dorothy Molter embodies the spirit and inspiration of the northwoods wilderness.
Funding for the exhibit was provided through a grant from the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB), as well as through generous private donations.