The Dorothy Molter Museum shares the story of the Ely legend

Rooting through Dorothy Molter’s legacy

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As you’re heading up to your Boundary Waters trips, why not stop to learn about the land around you?

In Ely, Minnesota the Dorothy Molter museum is open for another season of history buffs and fellow Boundary Waters travelers to learn everything about Dorothy Molter.

Dorothy was an Ely legend. She was a nurse, businesswoman, and outdoor enthusiast, living completely off the grid on Knife River.

“Most people that we’ve encountered here at the museum knew her as the root beer lady,” says Executive Director Jess Edberg. “In her later years before her passing in the 1980’s her reputation as an independent woman was totally unique to the societal norms of that time. What really put the cherry on top was her root beer.”

Dorothy would take the water from Knife River and with other natural ingredients make her own root beer.

Molter now serves as an inspirational role model to women and anyone else trying to find their way in life.

“She was very independent, and that was during a time where that wasn’t necessarily valued in women,” says Edberg, “and so Dorothy represents going against the stream and it really made her happy and gave her a fulfilling life.”