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Tower
Motto(s): 
"Your Gateway To Beautiful Lake Vermilion"
Location of the city of Towerwithin Saint Louis County, Minnesota
Location of the city of Tower
within Saint Louis County, Minnesota
Country United States
State Minnesota
County Saint Louis
Incorporated March 13, 1889
Area
 • Total 2.86 sq mi (7.41 km2)
 • Land 2.86 sq mi (7.41 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
Elevation
1,394 ft (425 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 500
 • Estimate 
(2019)
486
 • Density 169.81/sq mi (65.58/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
55790
Area code(s) 218
FIPS code 27-65272
GNIS feature ID 0662661

Tower is a city located in Saint Louis County, Minnesota, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 500.

State Highways 1 (MN 1), 169 (MN 169), and 135 (MN 135) are three of the main routes in Tower.

Tower is located near the southern shore of Lake Vermilion.

History

The city was incorporated March 13, 1889, which makes it the oldest city in the Arrowhead region. It owes its establishment to the Soudan Mine, and was named after mining financier Charlemagne Tower. Tower is home to the Tower Train Museum; near the museum is McKinley Monument, the first erected in honor of former U.S. President William McKinley shortly after his assassination in 1901. President McKinley was in office from 1897 to 1901.

Tower set the Minnesota record for coldest temperature on February 2, 1996, when the temperature dropped to -60 °F (-51 °C). This was the lowest temperature ever recorded in the United States east of the Great Plains. Tower and the Embarrass Valley to the south are the coldest inhabited locations in the Lower 48 states, based on average winter temperatures.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.41 square miles (8.83 km2), 3.00 square miles (7.77 km2) is land and 0.41 square miles (1.06 km2) is water.

Tower has a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb), with long, bitterly cold winters and humid and warm summers. January averages 5.0 °F or −15.0 °C, and lows reach 0 °F or −17.8 °C on 67 nights annually. Highs only reach the freezing point 18–19 days during December to February, and in combination with a seasonal snowfall of 67.2 inches or 1.71 metres, snow cover is thick and long−lasting. Spring, and more especially autumn, are short but mild transition seasons. July averages 63.9 °F or 17.7 °C, with highs reaching 90 °F or 32.2 °C on only 3.2 days annually, with only about four-fifths of all years seeing temperatures that high. Summer nights are cool despite the warm days, with the average window for freezing temperatures August 25 thru June 22. Precipitation averages about 27.77 inches or 705.4 millimetres per year, and is concentrated in the warmer months. The all−time record high temperature is 101 °F (38.3 °C), while the all−time record low is −60 °F (−51.1 °C), a range of 161 °F (89 °C).

Climate data for Tower, Minnesota (1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 52
(11.1)
59
(15)
77
(25)
87
(30.6)
95
(35)
98
(36.7)
101
(38.3)
98
(36.7)
95
(35)
84
(28.9)
75
(23.9)
57
(13.9)
101
(38.3)
Average high °F (°C) 17.9
(-7.83)
24.5
(-4.17)
36.6
(2.56)
51.6
(10.89)
64.7
(18.17)
73.3
(22.94)
77.6
(25.33)
75.8
(24.33)
66.0
(18.89)
51.7
(10.94)
35.2
(1.78)
21.8
(-5.67)
49.7
(9.83)
Average low °F (°C) −7.8
(-22.11)
−4.1
(-20.06)
9.6
(-12.44)
24.9
(-3.94)
35.9
(2.17)
45.6
(7.56)
50.3
(10.17)
47.9
(8.83)
40.0
(4.44)
29.7
(-1.28)
16.7
(-8.5)
0.5
(-17.5)
24.1
(-4.39)
Record low °F (°C) −57
(-49.4)
−60
(-51.1)
−42
(-41.1)
−22
(-30)
10
(-12.2)
18
(-7.8)
24
(-4.4)
21
(-6.1)
11
(-11.7)
−7
(-21.7)
−39
(-39.4)
−52
(-46.7)
−60
(-51.1)
Precipitation inches (mm) .58
(14.7)
.57
(14.5)
.74
(18.8)
1.77
(45)
3.17
(80.5)
4.03
(102.4)
4.17
(105.9)
3.74
(95)
4.14
(105.2)
2.86
(72.6)
1.36
(34.5)
.63
(16)
27.77
(705.4)
Snowfall inches (cm) 14.5
(36.8)
9.1
(23.1)
8.3
(21.1)
7.4
(18.8)
.3
(0.8)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
2.7
(6.9)
13.5
(34.3)
11.4
(29)
67.2
(170.7)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 6.1 5.5 6.0 7.9 12.4 13.4 12.5 11.4 12.5 10.4 8.0 6.6 112.8
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 6.7 5.4 4.1 2.6 .2 0 0 0 0 1.3 5.6 6.3 32.1
Source: NOAA (extremes 1897–present)

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 1,110
1900 1,366 23.1%
1910 1,111 −18.7%
1920 706 −36.5%
1930 801 13.5%
1940 820 2.4%
1950 773 −5.7%
1960 878 13.6%
1970 699 −20.4%
1980 640 −8.4%
1990 502 −21.6%
2000 479 −4.6%
2010 500 4.4%
2019 (est.) 486 −2.8%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 500 people, 265 households, and 126 families residing in the city. The population density was 166.7 inhabitants per square mile (64.4/km2). There were 331 housing units at an average density of 110.3 per square mile (42.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.6% White, 2.4% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 0.2% from other races, and 2.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.2% of the population.

There were 265 households, of which 20.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.5% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 52.5% were non-families. 45.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.89 and the average family size was 2.61.

The median age in the city was 48.4 years. 18.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 21.6% were from 25 to 44; 30% were from 45 to 64; and 24% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 50.8% male and 49.2% female.

Entertainment and sports

St Louis county MN IMG 1247 tower Korea War Veterans
Fourth of July celebration in Tower

Fortune Bay Resort and Casino is located a few miles west of Tower. It is near Lake Vermilion, a well-known lake which attracts tourists and locals alike. The casino is owned and operated by the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa.

Tower has a simple sports ground with bleacher stands, close by the Tower School. At Lake Vermillion, a run tournament named after the lake is staged every year.

Education

Tower is part of the St. Louis County school district based in Virginia, Minnesota. In town there is the Tower-Soudan Elementary School that serves students K–6. Students 7–12 are transported to other secondary schools nearby as Tower-Soudan does not have a secondary school at this point.

Outside of the district, Tower has a public charter school that serves students 7–12, called Vermilion Country School. Based in the old PowerRain building, this project-based secondary school was set up by parents and townspeople who advocated for a local secondary school. Opened in 2013, VCS graduated their first 6 seniors in May 2014.

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