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July 24, 1865: Birth of George Crosby, namesake of Crosby, Minnesota

On this day in 1865, future Duluthian and iron mining executive George Crosby was born in Hastings, Minnesota. By 1887 he was in Duluth operating a paint store when he was struck with iron ore fever. Soon he was north of Duluth prospecting for ore. He helped open both the Mesabi and Cuyuna iron ranges, discovering ore bodies that became the Hawkins, LaRue, and Crosby mines. He also founded the town of Crosby on the Cuyuna range and constructed that community’s streets, sidewalks, and water plant. Crosby was a strong civic leader in Duluth, and his many efforts on behalf of the community include organizing the Duluth Community Fund and serving as president of the Seaway Council, which helped open the St. Lawrence Seaway, connecting Duluth with the Atlantic Ocean. In 1931 Duluthians elected him to the city’s hall of fame. In 1954 Mr. Crosby donated 3,320 acres in the lower valley of the Manitou River on the North Shore to the state of Minnesota as an addition to the state park system, creating Crosby-Manitou State Park. Mr. Crosby died in 1961. His home at 2029 East Superior Street is considered architect I. Vernon Hill’s masterpiece of his ornamental cube style and features carvings by George Thrana, whose work still adorns Old Central High School and many other buildings in Duluth.

George H. Crosby, caricatured by the Duluth News Tribune ca. 1910. (Image: Duluth Public Library)