The History of Buhl, Minnesota—and Kinney and Great Scott Townships (through 1922)

The incorporated village of Buhl, which has been described as “the Heart of the Range,” and which a leading St. Paul journal, in 1918, stated to be “one of the beauty spots of the Iron Range,” has had corporate existence for twenty years, and has a creditable history.

Bearing in mind that it is a mining village, and that it is peopled by men and women who were originally of European life and habits, Buhl has much of which to be proud Its municipal building, public library, park and school systems rank with the best to be found on the Mesabi range, which sets such a high standard in town planning.

The “St. Paul Despatch,” May 29, 1918, issue, stated the following opinion of Buhl: “Today, Buhl with its paved streets, water works, electric lights, beautiful schools and churches, handsome public library, and other modern structures is one of the leading towns of the range group.” The same paper further stated: “Pioneers of Buhl still recall the wonderful timber growth which surrounded the village * * Lumbermen recall the “forties that cruised” seven million feet of White and Norway pine, indicating a stand that was equalled in few places in Minnesota.

“Buhl came into being much the same as did other logging towns of the range country. While the woodsmen were busy reaping a harvest in the forest, mining explorations developed on the range.

Drills were taken into the woods and hundreds of them were in operation winter and summer. Nearly a score of companies were engaged in prospecting for iron, and the strikes were daily occurrences all about the townsite of Buhl.” Some of these statements are the outcome of the customary generosity of description practiced by the daily press, but in the main it writes truly of Buhl, which is a well-planned village.

Organization.-Buhl was incorporated in 1901, following a few years of active life, as a logging camp. One newspaper account states: “The logging industry took root (in Buhl) in 1898 and by 1900 had developed into ‘big business,’ employing thousands of woodsmen, making the Buhl ‘camp’ a veritable El Dorado.” Concurrently, mining operations, or rather explorations, were proceeding, and in March, 1900, the Sharon Ore Company, of which Frank H. Buhl, of Sharon, Pennsylvania, was president, platted a townsite of forty acres, the plat being filed in the county office as the ‘Plat of Buhl,” taking that name apparently in recognition of the association of Mr. Frank H. Buhl with the townsite owners, and with the initial mining development in that district. For their miners, the Sharon Ore Company built on the townsite a large hotel, which it has been stated was the ‘first permanent building to be erected in the neighborhood. It became known as the Olson Hotel, and was a house of twenty-four rooms, three stories in height. On April 1, 1901, it was purchased by Swan D. Olson, who still owns it. Other buildings soon followed, Gust Cronberg, who became the first treasurer of the village, when incorporated, being probably the first to build a store. The first postmaster was M. A. Nichols, the present municipal judge of Buhl. And when the Great Northern Railway Company 471built their road from Swan River into Buhl in 1900, it was felt that the community had indeed reached a point of such promise that corporate powers might be asked of the county for it.

Consequently, before the end of that year, 1900, a petition was prepared, circulated among, and signed by a majority of, the legal voters of Buhl. The petition bears date of December 20, 1900, and was sworn to by M. A. Nichols, T. P. Corey and C. A. Nelson, on December 21st, before James Rafferty, justice of peace, soon thereafter being filed with the county officials. It came before the county commissioners on January 9, 1901, and was at once approved by that body, the board ordering election to be held on February 15, 1901.

First Election.-Following the election on February 15th. which was held “in the building and room used as a lumber office by A. Nelson,” and at which election seventy-two of seventy-three votes cast were in favor of incorporation, the election for officers of the village was held. The first meeting of the village council was held at the office of the Sharon Ore Company, on March 6, 1901.

First Officials.-The first village administration was constituted as follow s: John McWhinnev, president; Edward Cram, Andy Nelson, John Carlson, Alex. Renlund and John Anderson, trustees; Wm. M. Bohn, recorder; John Anderson, marshal; Gus. Cronberg, treasurer.

First Council Chamber.-The office of Andy Nelson was rented to the municipality, temporarily, for council meetings, the village paying a rental of fifty cents “per night of meeting.” First Jail.-On March 19, 1901, the council purchased from Andy Nelson a small frame building on Forest Street, near L. Goldman’s saloon, and where now Wrm. McKinney’s building is, to serve as a 472jail. The price paid was $18, the seller including three pairs of woolen blankets in the sale. It was only roughly constructed, but Mr. Nelson contracted to supply sufficient good two-inch planks, and also line the interior with them, for an additional $19. The marshal received a monthly pay of $53, having to be on duty from noon to midnight daily.

First Village Hall.-The first village hall is now the fire station, and one record states that it was originally a schoolhouse. The minutes of the village council, however, show that the Sharon Ore Company offered to donate to the village one lot west of their office, for the purpose of having the village hall built thereon. The council minutes also record that on August 13, 1901, the village purchased from Lewis Erickson, for $162, lot 1, block 4; also that on September 18th a contract was placed with A. Nelson for “the erection of council room and lock-up and hose-room,” for $484.

Present Village Hall.-The present substantial municipal building was erected in 1912, at a cost of $45,000, and is today worth much more than that figure. It centers in a site of 100 by 220 feet, the building being 50 by 100 feet, two stories in height, an imposing structure in exterior, and well-adapted in interior planning. It provides for all the municipal offices, the municipal court, water board, light, the power and heating commissioners, police station and jail, council chamber, public hall, while in the basement the Buhl Concert Band has quarters.

Fire Department.-The fire quarters are opposite the municipal hall, using the old village hall, a two-storied frame building. Fire equipment includes a motor truck, combination chemical, hook and ladder, and small cart for use in case of emergency. There are four paid and twenty volunteer firemen, under Gust. Cronberg, chief.

Water System.-The village has three miles of water mains, the supply coming from a well 698 feet deep, at the pumping station, which is hydraulically operated. The normal surface of the water is at the 158 feet level. There is a 200,000 gallon reinforced-concrete storage reservoir, properly protected against possibilities of contamination of the water supply. The centrifugal pumps have a capacity of 400 gallons a minute, and there is a reserve tank, 100,000 gallon capacity.

Light Plant.-The light and water plant was built at a cost of $200,000. The “white way” is ample for the village, and compares with that of other progressive and well-kept range towns.

Heating System.-There are two and a half miles of steam mains, and consumers get city heat at less than they could get it individually from coal or wood. The rate is 50 cents for 1,000 pounds of condensation.

The water, lighting and heating systems are stated to have cost $500,000 to install, while steam-pipe mains have cost $1,500,000 and water mains $600,000 to lay.

General Improvements.-Buhl has well-paved streets, including two and a half miles of bitulithic street paving, with concrete base, and an equal distance of concreted sidewalks. There has been much tree-planting, and the park system is very good. The municipal band is of repute throughout the range, and is well directed.

Transportation.-The village is served by two steam railways, the Great Northern and the Duluth, Missabe, and Northern. There is the excelleht and frequent service, east and west, of the electric trolley system, the Mesaba Railway, and some autobus lines over good 473 roads. The main trunk road of the Babcock highway passes through Buhl, and there are other good roads through the township.

Library.-One of the most attractive public buildings in Buhl is the public library, built at a cost of $45,000. It is of terra cotta wirecut brick, with stone finish, and is given the dignity of ample ground site, half a block in extent, with lawns and shrubbery such as show much good taste in planning. Statistics for 1920 show that the library is an appreciated public service; 1,156 persons hold library cards, which means that Kinney, Sharon, Spina, and other locations use its service, which “is accomplishing a great Americanization work among the children of the foreign-born parents.” The basement is much used for public gatherings, and is fitted with club features, a smoking room for men, an auditorium and kitchen for social gatherings of both sexes. The library is open to all local lodges, and is appreciated by the American Legion. Library board, 1920: Gust Cronberg, president; Miss Mayme Demel, secretary; Hazel Dean Laing, librarian; Mrs. M. A. Nichols, A. A. Williams, Anthony Sartori, O. O. Ormond, Mrs. T. G. Flynn, Emil Pesonen and T. J. Murphy, trustees Hospital.-Shaw’s Hospital, Buhl, conforms in type of architecture and construction with other public buildings of Buhl. It has capacity for thirty-six beds, and some private rooms, and is an up-todate well-equipped hospital. The medical staff, 1920, includes: Drs. A. W. Shaw, S. M. Johnson, W. W. Weber, C. C. Smith, G. Allaben and F. E. Edwards, the last-named being X-ray specialist.

Banks.-The older is the First National Bank of Buhl, which was established, as the First State Bank, on March 15, 1905, with capital of.$10,000, later increased to $25,000. It was reorganized as a national bank on February 27, 1920, with capital of $35,000. Its present surplus is $13,500, and average deposits $350,000. The first officers of the state bank were: R. M. Sellwood, president; A. M. Chisholm, L. G. Sicard, P. H. Nelson and Gus. Cronberg, directors. The present directors are: G. A. Wellner, president; R. A. Angst, vice president; T. G. Flynn, cashier; F. H. Cash, Gus. Cronberg, A. L. Smith and T. P. Corey, directors.

The other bank of Buhl is the First State Bank, which was organized in March, 1919. Its capital is $20,000, and its surplus $4,000, with average deposits of $150,000. Present directors are: H. P. Reed, president; E. J. Morrisey, vice president; Peter Western, cashier.

War Work.-Buhl contributed its full quota to the nation in the World War, its full quota in men, in money, and in raw materials.

Those who went into the national armed forces did credit to their village. Some did not return; their lives are reviewed in the military chapter. Those who worked at home did their best. The output of ore was as much as could be won; the money that was contributed to the governmental war issues was willingly given, and in fullest measure. Buhl “went well over the top” in every Liberty Loan campaign.

It is stated that Buhl was the first town in the state to undertake to care for the families of her soldier sons drafted for service where need was present, the village resolving to accord financial aid to “every soldier’s family.” The Buhl chapter of the Red Cross was a most active organization, numbering seventy-five women, prominent among whom were Mrs. P. B. Ingersoll, Mrs. John L. Anderson, Mrs. M. A. Morse, Mrs. C. C. Clapper, Miss Irene Anderson and Miss Mayme Demel.

More than two hundred of the young men of Buhl entered mili- 475tary or naval service during the war, and there is now a strong American Legion post in the village.

Mining.-The mining in township 58-19 is generally classed as in the “Buhl Group.” The search for ore in that township in the early days of the Mesabi range discoveries does not appear to have been so feverishly pursued as to the east and west of it. E. M. Fowler, of Chicago, had an interest in lands in the township in 1887, and the state appears to have early sensed the mineral possibilities of northern Minnesota, and of the value of state school lands. A mineral-lease law, approved April 24, 1889, authorized the state land commissioner to issue permits for one year to explore land for minerals, with right to profit by discovery by leasing from state for fifty years, at 25 cents a ton royalty, the terms of lease stipulating for payment of $100 when executed, and all taxes, and also $100 yearly until developed, and with SEVILLE MINE, KINNEY, IN 1908 the stipulation that within five years of railway reaching to within one mile of the property 1,000 tons must be shipped, and thereafter 5.000 tons minimum, annually. The Missabe Mountain Iron Company, a Merritt company, took state leases to land in several sections of township 58-19 in the spring of 1892, having rights in sections 9, 12, 15, 35, 28, and 33. Other leases concerned sections 13, 14, and 24.

On June 19, 1893, agreement was made between C. W. Danielson and M. W. McDonald. whereby the latter had option to explore in section 9, “subject to approval of Indian Commissioners,” option providing for payment of $6 advance, and eventually a 25-cent royalty, with a minimum of 10,000 tons mined. In 1895 Johann Mueller leased to Hibbing and Trimble the w. half of sw. and n. half of nw., sec. 22, 58-19, with a minimum of 25,000 tons at 20 cents for 63 per cent Bessemer, and 25 cents for richer ore. Johann Mueller in 1898 leased to Wm. Hellman and John Randall land in sections 15 and 22 on a 35 cent basis.

However, the Buhl group of mines did not come into evidence until the dawn of the twentieth century. Then activity began in earnest, and with the incorporation of Buhl mining activity may be said to have begun the shipping stage.

The Sharon mine, which in 1919 had almost fifteen million tons of ore available, was explored by Robert Whiteside, of Duluth. It was opened in 1901, and wrought for three years as a milling proposition by the Sharon Ore Company. It has since been idle, passing to the Oliver Iron Mining Co. in 1903.

The Kinney mine was originally explored by the man for whom it was named. 0. D. Kinney, with E. B. Hawkins and George H. Crosby, proved the mine, which was leased to the Republic Iron and Steel Company, and opened as a shaft mine in 1902. No ore was shipped from it in 1902, but in 1903 32,352 tons were shipped. It has been continuously worked since, and has yielded more than four million tons. In 1904 stripping operations began, but many years passed before it became an open-pit mine.

The Frantz mine, operated by a Hanna company, was explored by Alexander Maitland and E. D. Parmelee. Shipments began in 1904, but from 1907 until 1917 not a ton was shipped.

The Grant mine, on section 20, is one of the important open-pit mines of the range. The first shipment was made in 1902. It belongs to the Inter-State Iron Company (Jones & Laughlin Steel Company) and was opened by them. In 1905 a “grab and overhead carrying system of stripping the ore was installed > * * in the expectation that it would be more economical than the steam-shovel method of stripping and mining.” The usual method of steam-shovel operation has, however, since been adopted. The mine has available 5,597,879 tons of ore, and has yielded 2,312,381 tons.

The Iron Chief mine was proved for the Minnesota Iron Company by D. H. Bacon, and passed with other properties to the Oliver Company.

It has never been worked, but in the property is a large deposit of ore, of which 524,800 tons has been proved.

The Culver mine, adjoining the Iron Chief, is also an Oliver property that has never been on the shipping list. It has 4,849,035 tons available.

The Croxton mine was developed by Joseph Sellwood. Shipments began in 1902 and ended in 1914. It yielded 1,335,187 tons, operated by the Rhodes Iron Mining Company. The property shows no ore now available.

The Yates mine shipped 679,038 tons between 1904 and 1908.

It belongs to the Hanna Company, and shows no more ore available.

The Jennings mine was one of those early explored. Shipments began in 1906, and ended in 1909, and apparently has no reserve. The Jennings was operated as an open-pit mine by the Greer Contracting Company.

The Wabigan mine, which belongs to the Hanna Ore Mining Company has almost nine million tons of ore available. No shipments have been made, but stripping operations were begun in 1920 with a 300-ton electric shovel, the first of its type to be used on the Mesabi range.

The mines of the Buhl group and Great Scott township include: The Cavour mine, at Kinney, owned by the Cavour Mining Company; the Culver Reserve, before referred to; Dean mine, including the Itasca, owned by the Tod-Stambaugh Company, from which properties have come almost two million tons of ore, with three million still in reserve; Eaton mine, a small property, leased to the Eaton Mining Company; Frantz, before referred to; Grant mine; Great Northern Reserve, one of the Great Northern ore properties from which no ore has yet been mined; Helmer, a state m-ine at Kinney, leased to Cleve- 477lands-Cliffs Iron Co., from which mine a million tons of ore has been taken, and which has almost half a million yet available; Iron Chief and Jennings, before referred to; Kinney mine; Margaret mine, Buhl, operated by Butler Brothers in 1918 and 1919; Midway, Nos. 1 and 2 mines, operated, or rather to be operated, by the Oliver Iron Mining Company. The reserve is almost seven million tons, but no shipments have yet been made; Neville Reserve, also an Oliver property unexploited, yet with more than a million tons available; Oliver Reserve at Kinney, from which nothing has been taken, but 590,197 tons proved available; Section 17 mine, which has reverted to the state, no shipments having been made since 1913; Seville mine, Kinney, belonging to the York Mining Company; Sharon mine, inactive; Shiras mine, an Oliver property, with a million tons in reserve; Thorne mines, on shipping list, and operated by Hanna Ore Mining Company; Wabigan mines, before referred to; Wade mine, Kinney, which belongs to the Clevelands-Cliffs Iron Company, and entered the shipping list in 1918, a property with two and a half million tons available; Wanless mine, a three million ton property of the Oliver Iron Mining Company, on the shipping list for first time in 1918; Whiteside mine, from which shipments began in 1910, and which had 4,510,464 tons available in 1918. It belongs to the Shenango Furnace Company; Woodbridge mine, leased to Fort Henry Mining Co., shipments began in 1910, totalling to 1,351,485 tons to end of 1919; Woodbridge No. 1 Reserve, an Oliver mine from which nothing has been shipped; and the Yates mine, before referred to.

From the Buhl and Kinney mines of Great Scott township, 1,477,- 984 tons were shipped in 1919: Woodbridge, 145,863 tons; Margaret, 48,185; Wanless, 154,491; Shiras, 74,484; Seville, 5,923; Thorne, 99,281; Wade, 211,883; Dean, 448,003; Frantz, 104,618, and Kinney, 185,248.

Village Ordinances.-The first village ordinance (now known as “Original Ordinance No. 1,” to distinguish it from “Village Ordinance No. 1,” passed in 1912) was adopted on March 26, 1901, it being “An ordinance to license and regulate hawkers and peddlers in the village of Buhl.” The other village ordinances have, in the main, followed the customary course of the average well-governed city. Ordinance No. 47, passed April 31 (30), 1915, established the Lakeview Cemetery, on “Part of the southwest quarter of the northwest quarter … of section twenty-eight (28),” the tenure, however, being subject to such mineral and fossil reservations and exceptions as appear in previous deeds of record affecting said tract of land.” Ordinance No. 35, passed August 7, 1911, records the twenty-five-year-franchise granted to the Missabe Railway Company, “to construct, maintain, and operate motor railway lines … in and over the streets and avenues of the village of Buhl,” one of the conditions of franchise being the undertaking of transportation company to carry persons a distance of two and a half miles within the limits of the village for a charge of 5 cents “and no more.” Ordinance No. 48 established a municipal court in Buhl. The ordinance was passed December 15, 1915, and fixed salary of municipal judge at $1,800 a year. M. A. Nichols has.

been judge ever since the establishment of the office. Judge Nichols has been thrice mayor of Buhl, and for five years was recorder.

Mayoral Succession.-The presidents of the village of Buhl since its incorporation in 1901 have been: John McWhinney, 1901; M. A. Nichols and E. N. Everson, 1902; W. J. West and John Pasich, 1903; Gust. Cronberg, 1904; John Pasich, 1905; M. A. Nichols, 1906; 478A. B. Holley, 1907; John Pasich, 1908; Geo. R. Barrett, 1909; M. A. Nichols and Nels Rian, 1910; John Pasich, 1911; J. M. Riggs and Gust. Cronberg, 1912; W. J. Doyle, 1913; W. J. Doyle, 1914; G. R. Barrett, 1915; W. J. Doyle, 1916; Lee Raucstadt, 1917; W. J. Doyle, 1918; J. Morrisey, 1919 and 1920.

The present recorder, F. J. Demel, Jr., has given several years to village service, as clerk. Gust Cronberg was recorder also for some years.

Annexations.-The village boundaries have been extended several times since 1901. An election held on August 8, 1909, at the Frantz mine brought expansion of village limits; an addition came in 1919; and another increase was decided by election of September 20, 1920, “in the residence of Frank Bullis, near Washington School.” SEVILLE MINE LOCATION, KINNEY, IN 1908 Taxes.-In 1901, the assessed valuation of Buhl was only $106,763.

In 1919, Buhl had a taxable value of $9,577,822. In 1901, the total levy was $3,694. In 1919, the total levy was $838,059.43, the bulk of which was of course borne by the mining companies. The total tax was 87.5 mills, of which the village tax was 28 mills, and the school tax 41.5 mills.

Population.-The population of Buhl, or what eventually became Buhl, was not separately recorded in 1900, but in 1910 the village had 1,005 inhabitants. In the next decade the village almost doubled in population, the 1920 census showing that 2,007 persons were living in the village then.

Schools.-Buhl, Kinney, and Great Scott township are well served in the matter of educational facilities. Buhl has always been in School District No. 35. The operation of that district will be referred to later in this chapter.


A mining location at Kinney began to assume the proportions of a village early in the twentieth century, and the mining operations and preparations were extensive, giving employment to many men.

479It is therefore rather surprising that no effort was made to secure corporate government for the location until 1909.

A petition, which bears the date September 2, 1909, and was signed by Charles Schultz, and others, then sought to get the incorporation, as the “Village of Kinney,” of 1,940 acres, in, adjoining, or contiguous to the location of Kinney. The platted portion was only the north half of northeast quarter of northeast quarter of section 15, but the petitioners sought to have included in the corporate limits of the village: the southeast quarter of section 9; the south half of sections 10 and 11; all of section 14, nearly all of section 15, and part of section 16, seemingly more than they could reasonably ask for.

Nevertheless, when the petition came before the board of county commissioners, Commissioner Ryan moved that it be adopted; and at that meeting, the commissioners ordered the matter put to the public vote. Place of polling was the Post Office Building, Kinney, and time, December 13, 1909. The voting showed that the movement was not favored by a majority of the 367 persons then resident in the area.

Organization.-Another petition was circulated in 1910. It bears date of August 31st, and sought jurisdiction over only forty acres, that is, over the northeast quarter of the northeast quarter of section 15, the platted townsite of Kinney being in that “forty.” The petition was adopted by the county commissioners on October 7th and election held on November 1st, “at the saloon of Solomon Ketala, lot 9, block 2, Plat of Kinney.” Twenty-two votes were cast, and only one was against incorporation.

Annexation.-An election was held on February 13, 1913, to determine whether it was the wish of the legal voters that certain additional areas be brought into the limits of the incorporated village.

Nine of the ten votes cast were in favor of inclusion of: the se. qr. of sec. 10; e. half of sw. qr. sec. 10; ne. qr. of nw. qr. of sec. 15; nw. qr., ne. qr. sec. 15; s. half ne. qr. sec. 15; and n. half se. qr. sec. 15, all of twp. 58-19.

In 1918, the village sought to annex the nw. qr. of section 13, the western half of section 12, all of section 11, all of section 10 not then within village bounds, and the nw. qr. nw. qr. section 15. The annexation would increase the village boundaries 1,580 acres, and would have brought within the village valuable mining properties of the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company. That corporation stopped municipal action by securing from the United States District Court an order restraining the village from holding an election upon the question during the pendency of the case.

Valuation.-The value of taxable property in Kinney was only $40,680 in 1911. The assessed valuation in 1919 was $1,753,491. This is a true indication of the growth of the village.

Population.-The increase has not been so marked in population as in valuation. When census was taken in 1909, for the purpose of prosecuting petition to incorporate, the population was stated to be 367; in 1920, Kinney was found to have 1,200 inhabitants.

General.-The Kinney mine is “a big hole in the ground,” but the village of Kinney is rapidly reaching the high standard in townplanning and administration that has brought other range places into high repute. Kinney has excellent schools; has an up-to-date lighting system, with an adequate “White Way”; is well paved; and has a good sewerage system. It has a well patronized state bank, some good stores, and some fine residences.

Village Officials.-The village administration, in 1920, was con- 480stituted as follows: H. R. Van Gorder, president; John Field, Ed. Eskola and Peter McGrath, councilmen; Oscar Erickson, clerk; Helmer Hendrickson, treasurer; B. Bragg and C. A. Doliber, justices.

Education.-Independent School District No. 35, the administrative offices of which are at Buhl, is responsible for the direction of the public schools of Great Scott Township, and the standard of education is such that the principal schools of the district may well take place among the leading progressive schools of the country. Excellent school buildings, as well as schools, are at Buhl and Kinney, and it would seem that, in placing the value, in 1919, of school property in Great Scott township at $475,000, the estimators set conservative figures on the school buildings, for although the original cost of the Buhl High School was $200,000, additions since made to it have increased its cost to, approximately $1,000,000. And the Junior High School, at Kinney, cost $350,000. The two modern rural schools, Anderson and North Star, cost $30,000 and $25,000, respectively.

School District No. 35 has been in operation since the year in which Buhl was incorporated, and under the present superintendent, M. D. Aygarn, who came in October, 1919, from Sauk Center, Minn., is well administered.

In 1901 a one-story frame building was erected at BuhI, on lots 9, 10, 11 and 12, where M. 0. Hall’s garage now stands. The first board of directors consisted of: Gust Cronberg, president; M. A. Nichols, clerk; and William Bohn, treasurer. These public-spirited men gave their personal notes for $700, so that this one-room building might be immediately erected to serve as a school building. Miss Gertrude Sheehy was engaged as teacher that year. The next year the sum of $2,000 was secured from the state, to provide more room and space, the original school building having become too small to accommodate the rapid increase in school attendance. Four years later, in 1906, an appropriation of $5,000 was secured from the state, for the erection of a new building. That school building, the Washington at Buhl, is still in use. Soon after the opening of the Washington School, the district was placed on the state graded school list.

N. P. Lang was the first principal.

During the next six years, good schools were erected at Kinney and Hartley (Spina), and also at Buhl, the third being the Buhl High School, which was completed in 1913. Thus, the district earned righf to place on the state high school list, M. A. Morse securing appointment as original superintendent. Since that time great progress has been made. Additional territory annexed at different times has enlarged the school district until it now comprises 108 sections, or three townships. There were four rural schools in outlying territory, but consolidation has been effected, and two semi-graded schools, the Anderson and North Star, established. The higher education of the children of rural sections has not been overlooked; to encourage pupils who have passed through the rural schools to take the high school course at Buhl, a grant of $250 a year is offered them.

The Buhl High School was erected in 1912-13, at a cost of $215,000. Enlargements, which brought the extreme length of the building to 420 feet, and added about 20,000 feet to its floor space, were completed in 1920. The building is a conspicuous landmark, and in architecture, and planning of interior, ranks well with the magnificent schools of the Mesabi range, where can be found, it is generally conceded, more complete educational facilities for elementary and high school students than are provided in any other part of the United Vol. 1-31 481 r la f4 0 0 a P .. W M o 2 5~48 0E > § Fi 0 F ra Bo .

VZ < 03 P-l3 X gil a C2 p^ i~ i &14 cp States, not even excepting the very large cities. The wealth of the school districts of the Mesabi mining towns makes it possible to offer such salaries to educators that the most skilled of the profession are attracted into service. And in equipment, the large schools of the range are wonderfully complete. The Buhl High School has swimming pool, gymnasium, vocational-training shops, such as wood and metal working, machine, automobile, electrical, plumbing, and printing.

There is an auditorium, a cafeteria, an adequate library, music and art rooms, laundry. The latest department is dentistry, and all work on temporary teeth, and the six-year molar, is given free to the school children throughout the district. The high schools of the range have many conveniences that are impossible to poorer school districts. Indeed, the additions to the curricula of the high schools, and the adjuncts to general educational facilities one finds in the school districts of the Iron range region of Minnesota, are so many and so diversified that one is apt to wonder whether all are necessary for the proper and adequate education of children who, in the main, will enter the trades, and will do so as apprentices, with little or no heed paid by employers to vocational-high-school diploma.

Next in size, and importance, to the Buhl High School comes the Wilson School, at Kinney. It is to be completed for the 1921 schoolyear, and will cost $350,000. It is to be of fireproof materials, and will be up to the standard set in the range towns for properlyequipped schools, as it will have shower baths, gymnasium, cafeteria, teacherage, garage, pneumatically-operated clocks, intercommunicating telephone system, and other conveniences. When opened, it will cater to kindergarten and elementary pupils of the place, adding to the facilities of the Kinney School, an eight-roomed frame two-story structure, which adjoins it. The Kinney School is a graded one, and also has manual-training and domestic-art departments. The equipment also includes autobusses, for the transportation, to and from the school, of children of distant mining locations. The Hartley School, Spina, a two-story frame building of seven rooms, caters to children of primary grades. The auditorium, which has seating capacity for 300 persons, is often used for public gatherings.

The Anderson semi-graded school is situated eight miles north of Kinney. It is a large one-storied building, having two classrooms, but in addition a library, kitchen and community room, all opened to the inhabitants of that rural district for public gatherings. There is also a comfortable teachers’ cottage, or teacherage, where the few teachers of that school “keep house” for themselves, in comparative comfort.

The North Star School, of the same class, has two floors, the lower being the classroom, and the upper the teacherage. Maybe, since the consolidation of the rural schools, and the establishment of a large teacherage at Buhl, providing room and board for sixty teachers, the teacherages at the Anderson and North Star schools have been abandoned.

Every care is taken by the school directors to provide properly for the comfort of the teachers. The corps of instructors, during the school-year 1919-20, comprised five male and fifty-three female teachers. The school-year was of ten months duration, and the average salary of the male teachers was $169 a month, the female teachers averaging $131.

Independent School District No. 35 had a total enrollment of 1,166 scholars during the school-year of 1919-20. The school board is a most progressive body. Their work, as shown in the magnificent 483 484Buhl High School, should bring to them the approval of. the people of Buhl, who surely must be proud of their high school. During the last two years the school directors and administration have initiated a new and even more progressive policy. More than a million dollars is being expended for additional school buildings, mainly in the improvement of the Buhl High School and the building of the Kinney School. Education in industrial work will be offered in the all-day unit trade school, part-time extension school, and evening schools.

And, with a view to agricultural possibilities in the district, the school board has established a school farm, near Buhl, where instruction in agriculture is thoroughly given to the children by an expert. Parts of the township have well returned the efforts of the pioneer settler to till it, and the school farm will probably prove to be a valuable adjunct to the school system, and a good model in scientific farming for the agriculturists of the township.

School Board, and officials in 1920 were: M. D. Aygarn, superintendent; F. E. Anderson, clerk; George R. Barrett, treasurer; Lee Raustad, chairman of directors; S. M. Johnson, J. F. McGrath and John Pasich, directors. They constitute a most progressive board.


  • Van Brunt, Walter, ed. Duluth and St. Louis County, Minnesota Vols. 1 – 3. The American Historical Society. Chicago: 1922.
  • Menu