North Shore landmark razed to move highway

Associated Press

TWO HARBORS, Minn. -- After nearly a half-century, a North Shore landmark was torn down this week.

The original building that housed Betty's Pies north of Two Harbors was demolished Wednesday.

First owned by Betty Lessard, a one-time professional photographer in Duluth, the building housed a smoked-fish stand in 1956. Lessard started baking simply for something to do. But word spread quickly about her cookies, breads and, of course, pies.

The building and the business have since been sold twice, and a new restaurant building opened behind the original restaurant a couple of years ago.


Now owned by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the building was originally slated for demolition in 2000, said Maureen Talarico, MnDOT spokeswoman. But there was asbestos in the building, and it had to be removed before the building could be torn down, she said.

The old building was where MnDOT officials want to move Minnesota Highway 61 inland, away from the eroding Lake Superior shoreline. It's part of a rebuilding project for the highway between Two Harbors and Grand Marais by 2010.

Lessard was on hand to see the old restaurant leveled.

Carl Ehlenz, Betty's current owner, said Lessard agreed to be a special guest at the restaurant Wednesday. He marked the event with special "Demolition Day" pies, and a variation of a 21-gun salute that involved silly string canisters rather than rifles.

Ehlenz has resolved that the old Betty's won't be forgotten. Photographs of the original restaurant appear throughout the new Betty's, and a scale model will be unveiled later this week.

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