History

  • Pictured is the rebuilt Pokegama Hotel in Grand Rapids in 1897. The Pokegama Hotel first opened in 1891. That hotel burned down in 1893. The building pictured opened in 1894, and still operates today and houses a number of shops including Shaw Florist.

  • The three story Gladstone Hotel of 1893 was considered a first-class establishment complete with a ladies parlor. It was built in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids.

  • The elegant Ogema Hotel opened in 1904 on the shore of Pokegama Lake four miles south of Grand Rapids.

  • In 1910 Bovey welcomed the opening of the Roan Hotel.

  • One of the earliest hotels built in Itasca County was the Fraser House in LaPrairie constructed in 1891.

  • Bovey was becoming a hub for miners so the Fitger Hotel, built in 1907, was surely needed.

  • The Kennedy Hotel of 1901 offered lodging in La Prairie.

  • Nashwauk offered accommodations at the Ollila Hotel.

  • The Smith House of Balsam in 1907. It could lodge more than 100 men a night.

  • The Riverside Hotel in Grand Rapids, circa 1961, was torn down to make room for the Blandin Foundation in the 1980s.

  • 29The Stevens Hotel in Grand Rapids opened in 1892. It would change hands becoming the Riverside Hotel in the ‘30s and finally the Downtowner Hotel/Motel

  • The Lexen Hotel in Bovey, circa 1905, would later become the Whitmas Hotel.

  • Now Northern State Bank of Virginia at 600 Chestnut St., the building was originally used as a depot for the Duluth, Winnipeg & Pacific Railway and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1913. Photo by Cindy Kujala.

  • The difference between the influenza mortality age-distributions of the 1918 epidemic and normal epidemics—deaths per 100,000 persons in each age group, United States, for the interpandemic years 1911–1917 (dashed line) and the pandemic year 1918 (solid line). Source: Wikimedia Commons.

  • Soldiers from Fort Riley, Kansas, ill with Spanish influenza at a hospital ward at Camp Funston. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

  • Demonstration at the Red Cross Emergency Ambulance Station in Washington, D.C., during the influenza pandemic of 1918. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

  • The 1958 Edsel taillights had a “squinting” appearance on the trailing edge of the tail fins. Like most automobiles in the 1950s, the truck was very generous.

  • With its “horse-collar” grille, the 1958 Edsel looked like no other vehicle in its debut year. It was meant to fit in between the Mercury and Lincoln lines, literature on the Edsel explained. The Edsel would last only three years before Ford halted production and swept it from sight.

  • Jack Gentilini, Louis Gentilini, Sr. and Louis Gentilini, Jr. are pictured on Aug. 6, 1963, receiving awards for outstanding sales from a Buick representative. Submitted photos.

  • The dinosaurs of the Iron Range were the locomotives that pulled the long trains of LTV Steel Mining Company pellets from the plant site at Hoyt Lakes to be unloaded at Taconite Harbor on Lake Superior. The Electromotive Division of General Motors built these units in 1956 for Erie Mining Company as part of the original equipment order for the operation. A typical round-trip to Taconite Harbor lasted about 8-hours with a top speed of 30 mph. Photo courtesy of Mining Machines 2010, Iron Range Historical Society.

  • Three locomotives head south through Mt. Iron on Dec. 8, 2007, pulling ore cars filled with steaming taconite pellets to Proctor. The engines are BL

  • The Unit Rig Company pioneered the development of the diesel electric-drive, rear dump truck for use in open pit mining operations. Photo courtesy of Mining Machines 2010, Iron Range Historical Society.

  • Oshkosh Truck Corporation was founded in 1917. The founders received patents in 1914 and 1915 for improvements on four-wheel-drive capability. Large numbers of the truck were purchased by mining companies for hauling ore. Photo courtesy of Mining Machines 2010, Iron Range Historical Society.

  • A theatre situated 250 feet below the surface of the ground was one of the recreation features offered employees of the Oliver Iron Mining Company at Eveleth. Called the Wilsonian Auditorium, it was located in the bottom of the Spruce No. 4 shaft. Photo courtesy of Mining Machines 2010, Iron Range Historical Society.

  • The Inter-State Iron Company was one of a number of mine operators not owned by a parent steel company. It was a subdivision of the financially strong, independent Jones

  • The Sherman Mine was located near Chisholm. It was operated by the Oliver Mining Division and the Minnesota Ore Operations of U.S. Steel. From 1948 to 1978, shipments totaled 32,690,394 tons. Photo courtesy of Mining Machines 2010, Iron Range Historical Society.

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  • The first loading of iron ore in Minnesota was done at the Soudan Mine on the Vermilion Range on July 31, 1884. The first locomotive used to haul the ore from Soudan to Two Harbors is known as the “Old 3-Spot” and is preserved as a memorial in Two Harbors. The train was built for a railroad in Brazil, which then refused her. She was taken up the line to Duluth and put on a raft to be hauled over Lake Superior to Agate Bay. Photo courtesy of Mining Machines 2010, Iron Range Historical Society.

  • A parade of IWW supporters leads a spirited march through downtown Hibbing, June 21, 1916. As with many union parades, women and children led the way in a valiant act of bravery as strike parades could often turn violent. Courtesy of the Iron Range Research Center, Minnesota Discovery Center, Chisholm, MN.

  • A Finnish temperance society brass band provides music for a Slovenian funeral parade through Ely, Minnesota, circa 1910. Few events brought people out like a funeral, and the planning of such an event was an occasion for solidarity among ethnic groups. Courtesy of the Brownell Collection, Iron Range Historical Society, McKinley, MN.

  • Mechanization by railroad and steam shovel came early to the Mesabi Range. This early photograph by Frances Benjamin Johnston from the 1890s conveys the sheer human and mechanical labor needed to extract iron ore from open-pit mines. Courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

  • At the time of the 1907 strike, beer was brought to the iron ranges by train and was then transferred onto horse-drawn wagons. August Fitger’s brewing company out of Duluth was a leading provider to the region’s urban areas. In this photograph, Louis Sadar delivers a shipment of beer to a merchant in Eveleth. Courtesy of Christine Sadar and Steve Ketcham.

  • Finnish and Slovenian mine workers pose for a photograph in front of a headframe on the Mesabi Range, circa 1907. Often work gangs were composed of multiple ethnicities who could not communicate well on the job. Mining companies preferred this dynamic because workers were not able to discuss conditions or pay. Courtesy of the Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota.

  • Oliver Iron Mining Company officials from northern Minnesota and Michigan photographed in Duluth in 1903. Included in the photograph are Oliver president Thomas F. Cole (14), vice president William J. Olcott (13), and regional superintendents Pentecost Mitchell of Hibbing (2), J. H. Hearding of Eveleth (4), and Charles Trezona of Ely (7). Photograph by Louis P. Gallagher. Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections, Kathryn A. Martin Library, University of Minnesota–Duluth.

  • The Tonawanda Laboratory began the design, engineering and construction of a truckmounted rock piercing rig. It was successfully tested at Reserve Mining Company’s Babbitt site in 1946. Photo courtesy of Mining Machines 2010, Iron Range Historical Society.

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  • The Marion Steam Shovel Company was established in 1884. There were earlier shovels, but their first model had solid iron rods (hog rings) to support the boom of the shovel, which were stronger than the simple chains used on the early shovels. Photo courtesy of Mining Machines 2010, Iron Range Historical Society.

  • L.B. Harper worked for Arrowhead Boat Works until he struck out on his own in the 1940s with Harper Boat Works.

  • Ski jumper Jim Maki of Coleraine is pictured showing his technique in the air. Maki was on the U.S. Ski Team for the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria, and for the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY.

  • Gene Wilson of Coleraine is shown in 1960 jumping at Mt. Itasca where the Wilson Memorial Hill 50-meter ski jump was dedicated in 1978.

  • Harry "The Horsethief" Johnson of Grand Rapids holds the checkered flag at the Itasca County Fairgrounds.

  • Bill Baker is shown playing for the University of Minnesota in 1979 just before heading to the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, NY.

  • Ron Hane (far right), the author’s father with his jazz band the Aristocats. Author Jody Hane and her father Ron Hane both played in the pep band during their high school years in Grand Rapids.

  • The Philadelphia Eagles football training camp in 1950 was held on the field of what is now Itasca Community College in Grand Rapids. All photos submitted by the Itasca County Historical Society.

  • Joe Mlakar, age 92

  • Slavey Velacich (left) and Anthony Bombich

  • Button Box Clubs were popular at area polka festivals. The billboard on the truck announces the Range Polka Club Annual Polka Festival being held at the Chisholm Sports Arena on July 14, 1979, from 1 p.m. – 1 a.m., with four terrific polka bands.

  • Frankie Yankovic

  • Bob Delich

  • Bobby Aro

  • First post office.

  • Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Sandstrom and their children, Sandra (age 4) and Rick (age 8) were the first family to move into Hoyt Lakes. They came in September of 1954.

  • Early years Hoyt Lakes Water Carnival parade.

  • Aerial view of Hoyt Lakes.

  • Evergreen Trailer Park in Hoyt Lakes provided temporary housing for Erie Mining employees in 1955. (Range Historical Society photo).

  • Kitchen of new home-Hoyt Lakes era 1955-1960.

  • The historic main lodge is visible as campers enjoy evening bonfire-side activities. Photos submitted.

  • Hoyt Lakes offered many recreational opportunities for residents.

  • A city with plenty for kids to do year-round.

  • Home at last! Hoyt Lakes residents are finally able to settle into their new homes.

  • Home at last! Hoyt Lakes residents are finally able to settle into their new homes.

  • A city with plenty for kids to do year-round.

  • Hoyt Lakes offered many recreational opportunities for residents.

  • CC workers, probably at Camp 707 in Deer River, circa 1938. Forest History Center (Grand Rapids) photo by Cindy Kujala.

  • Called Roosevelt’s Tree Army, 124 million seedlings were planted in Minnesota by the CC. Forest History Center (Grand Rapids) photo by Cindy Kujala.

  • CC Company 1723 posed for a group portrait at Douglas Lodge in Itasca State Park in 1935. The CC put 2.5 million young men to work planting trees, fighting forest fires, building roads, dams, bridges and thousands of miles of telephone lines, and erecting buildings at state parks. Forest History Center (Grand Rapids) photo by Cindy Kujala.

  • The many different work projects and tools of the CC are shown in the exhibit at Minnesota Discovery Center. Photo by Cindy Kujala.

  • During the Cretaceous Period (145-65 mya), dinosaurs and other marine life roamed the Iron Range.

  • An interesting tidbit from 90 million years ago: “A large ocean called the Western Interior Seaway effectively cut North American in two. Minnesota was right at the edge of this seaway. Nearly all of the Mesabi Iron Range experienced incursions by this seaway.”

  • Learn how scientists know when the earth was formed, when dinosaurs ruled the land, or when humans first evolved.

  • The fossil of a dromaeosaur claw bone was found at Hill Annex State Park in Calumet. The fossil is now part of the Science Museum of Minnesota paleontology collection. Dromaeosaurs had feathers and were a very early relative of modern-day birds.

  • Eveleth native John Mariucci, referred to the as Godfather of Minnesota Hockey, is described as “one of the most important figures in the growth of American hockey, especially in Minnesota.” Photo by Brian Miller.