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Now and Then

Then and Now: view of Howard Street.
View of Howard Street.

Leonidas Merritt
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Prospector and Mine Owner
LeonidasMerritt, often called Lon, led his seven brothers in forming a mining company after they discovered that the soft, red earth on the Mesabi Range was a rich source of iron ore. Hard times in the 1890s forced them to turn to outside investors.They lost control of their company to John D. Rockefeller, who they claimed had cheated them.
Victor Power
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Mayor of the "Richest Village in the World"
Victor L. Power was elected mayor of Hibbing ten times (1913-1923.) A strong defender of labor, Power forced mining companies to pay taxes that he used to make Hibbing a better place to live.
Edmund Longyear
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A Better Drill
Edmund Longyear arrived on the Iron Range in 1890, along with the first prospectors. He was best known as a pioneer drill operator and built a successful business providing drilling services for other miners.

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Two Processes of Digging ore from the Earth
The mining industry in Hibbing fueled an economy that not only built Hibbing, but also developed and strengthened northern Minnesota. Two different methods were used to remove the ore, each of them involving rewards and risks.

The Iron Range
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Formation of a Rich natural Resource
The Mesabi Iron range formed slowly over a period of millions of years. A variety of special geologic events combined to make it an ideal place for the formation of iron ore, hidden in the giant hills of the Mesabi Range.

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The Hunt for Hidden Iron Ore
Prospecting is the first step in finding the best location for a mine. Prospectors dig test pits to find ore deposits rich enough to assure that a mine will be profitable.
Dangers of Mining
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A Dangerous Job that Built Hibbing
Mining has long been one of the most dangerous occupations. Miners on the Mesabi Iron Range worked long hours, all year round, in frequently dangerous conditions.
The Strike of 1916
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Refusing to Work, in the Name of Fairness
Protesting low pay and a contract system that forced miners to compete against each other, 8000 miners walked off their jobs in the Mesabi Range in the summer of 1916. Three months later they returned to the mines, having won only a few concessions from the steel companies.
Moving Hibbing
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In 1927, the entire town of Hibbing was relocated away from possible iron ore deposits. None of the new town was built on top of iron. Ethnicity
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They Chose Minnesota
The mining industry recruited workers in Europe, offering relatively high wages, and attracted large numbers of immigrants to jobs in the Iron Range mines.


Historic Tour