A Brief History of Quarantines in White Bear Lake

A medical mask on a red background.
Sara Markoe Hanson from the White Bear Lake Area Historical Society shares some history about past quarantines.

Through municipal records we know that both White Bear Township and the City of White Bear Lake had health officers whose job it was to order quarantines on homes or buildings where an infectious outbreak had occurred. With unpaved roads kicking up dust and debris, no sanitary sewer systems until the 1920s or later, and dumps located on private farms with little or no restrictions, the chance of a contagious disease was high, and quarantine was common. In the early 1900s, it was not unusual to have an outbreak of rabies in town due to wild dogs roaming the streets.

The invention of antibiotics and a better understanding of bacterial and viral infections, along with the vast improvement of sanitary conditions, has reduced those possibilities significantly, but as we well understand, risk still remains.

Whether you are serving as a caregiver to a loved one, helping students with distance learning, volunteering for our local organizations or supporting local businesses through conscious choices to buy local—you have all stepped up!

It has been said many times that today’s experience is tomorrow’s history. At the White Bear Lake Area Historical Society, we have been documenting the local response to this global pandemic. As time goes on, we will continue to capture the stories of the people in our area through photographs, oral history interviews, and collecting journals for our manuscript collection. For more information on this process, please visit whitebearhistory.org.