MPR: Remembering the 'Root Beer Lady' of Knife Lake

By Dan Kraker
Minnesota Public Radio

Cary_Root coverST. PAUL, Minn. — The Dorothy Molter Museum in Ely celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, telling the story of the last, full-time resident of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. For more than half a century the "Root Beer Lady," as she became known, defied the government to live alone, on an island, 15 miles from the nearest road.

Dorothy Molter first visited what would become the Boundary Waters in 1930, as a 23-year-old nurse, on a fishing trip with her dad. When she died, in the winter of 1986, she was revered across the country for defying the conventions of her era, standing up to the government, and for doling out hot soup and cold root beer to thousands of visitors every year.

Read, listen, and check out a slideshow here.

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Browse our Fall/Winter 2022-23 catalog for exciting forthcoming books!

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