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Atlas Obscura 3M Birthplace Museum

In 1902, a business venture was born based on a serious blunder, which then started a tradition of profitable mistakes, including the Post-it note. It all began in Minnesota, in the former law office of John Dwan, where the five original 3M partners signed incorporation papers for a small mining interest that would grow to become an enormous multinational corporation. 

The operation started out with corundum, which the enterprising prospectors were extracting from the western shores of Lake Superior to be sold to the sandpaper industry. A fairly obvious problem manifested when the lawyer, doctor, two railroad executives, and meat market owner realized that their partnership did not include a geologist.

Keep track of the places you have been, log in.
Atlas Obscura 2018
Minnesota’s Singing Beach

When the waves disturb the rocks, they tinkle like millions of tiny bells.

Atlas Obscura 2017
A Mausoleum To An Impractical Idea

Harvey Whitney of Duluth expected to make a lot of money, but instead he ended up with a useless pile of concrete.

Atlas Obscura 2017
Grassy Point Railroad Bridge

Discover Grassy Point Railroad Bridge in Minnesota: A haunting army of decomposing, moss-covered stuffed animals and dolls guard this swinging truss.

Atlas Obscura 2020
Tom’s Logging Camp

Discover Tom's Logging Camp in Duluth, Minnesota: This quirky roadside attraction provides insight into Minnesota's logging history.

Atlas Obscura 2019
Ely’s Peak and DWP Railroad Tunnel

Discover Ely's Peak and DWP Railroad Tunnel in Duluth, Minnesota: A spooky defunct railroad tunnel now part of a sprawling trail.

Audio Guide
Audio Guide
Lake Superior Zoo
Audio Guide
Audio Guide
Jay Cooke State Park: A Bridge to Freedom of the Mind
Atlas Obscura 2020
Copper Crow Distillery

Discover Copper Crow Distillery in Bayfield, Wisconsin: Sip whey-based vodka at the first Native-owned distillery opened on a reservation in centuries.

Atlas Obscura 2017
A Massive Library Museum of Original Manuscripts

Discover Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum in Duluth, Minnesota: Home to part of the world’s largest private collection of original manuscripts and documents.

Atlas Obscura 2018
The World’s Largest Floating Loon

The 20-foot-long statue bobs in the lake to kick off an annual festival.

Atlas Obscura 2017
A World of Accordions Museum

Discover A World of Accordions Museum in Superior, Wisconsin: A collection of 1,300 accordions of all shapes and sizes displayed in chronological order.

Atlas Obscura 2019
Free Range Film Barn

Discover Free Range Film Barn in Wrenshall, Minnesota: This century-old barn is home to a homey, eclectic film festival.