The History of Hibbing, Minnesota (through 1922)
From Walter Van Brunt’s Duluth and St. Louis County, Minnesota Vols. 1 – 3. The American Historical Society. Chicago: 1922. Available at the Duluth Public Library.
The history of Hibbing, “the Place of Big Things,” is a wonderful and holding story, a record of great doings, of wonderful achievements, and of immense wealth and possibilities-even from the beginning.
Everything connected with Hibbing’s history has been big.
In the first place, the stand of timber was such that the lumbermen made money rapidly in logging it. The seekers for iron had a similar experience. They made great discoveries. Nothing small was possible in the Hibbing district. The explorers found such deposits that the mines subsequently developed have been the most wonderful of the many stupendous mines of the most wonderful iron range of America. Hibbing proved to be the center of the treasure country, the richest portion of the Mesabi Range. And, as she grew, she held to her original status of supremacy. Hibbing has excelled in most things, as will be appreciated by a reading of her history. She is a village, it is true-the “richest village in the world,” by the way, but she has forged ahead of all other communities of the Range country, in population and wealth, and is the richest incorporated place in the county-exceeding Duluth even in wealth, by almost as much as is the total wealth of the City of Virginia, Hibbing’s nearest rival on the range. It can, therefore, be readily understood that her place in the state is that of a very important, very promising, and very aggressive city.
In the Days of the Timber Barons.
To appreciate the story of Hibbing fully one must have some knowledge of the earliest activities of white men in its vicinity. The story has grounding in the operations of the timber barons, the lumber kings, who became the land barons, and by sitting still soon had the “grubbing ore men” paying them fief.
Passing briefly over the earliest pre-settlement history, Northern Minnesota, until 1855, was the hunting ground of the Indian; and it was not until the seventies were almost spent that white men settled far from the shore of Lake Superior, at its western extremity. In the middle sixties and seventies some had passed over the eastern end of the Mesabi Range-in great numbers during the “gold rush” to the Vermilion in the sixties, and spasmodically in the seventies, hoping against hope that the lean magnetite formations of the Eastern Mesabi would bring a little money to the well-nigh empty pockets of Duluthians, after the panic of 1873 had taken away Duluth’s first treasure, Jay Cooke. But very few had been in the middle and western parts of the Mesabi Range until the eighties; and those who did pass along the range, or touched parts of it, were mapmakers, geologists, or timber cruisers. Geologists, of course, had eyes mainly for mineral indications, but the cartographers and timber cruisers might be grouped, the mapmaking being in most cases incidental to timber cruising. Northern Minnesota was the land of white pine.
St. Louis County had an especially heavy “stand”; and Stuntz township was, it seems, among the best areas in that respect. But nothing could be done until the government survey had been made and the vacant lands had been thrown open to entry, which was done in the seventies and early eighties. The period 1875-1884 was, perhaps, 538539 the most active in land-office transactions, i. e., in the sale of pine lands to lumbermen. Pardee writes: as fast as these vacant lands were thrown open to entry, two or three townships at a time, the pine-land crowd was waiting at the land office, with purse and scrip, to take their pick of the pine … The explorers, who had been crossing and recrossing the lands to be offered, came in with their estimates of standing pine, their rough maps showing what streams could be used to drive the logs and where the boom should be, and their rumors of iron.
To which, since the cruiser was a bit of a seer and a prophet, the land men listened indulgently; but when he spoke of pine, they hearkened-for the cruiser knew. Iron was not in their books; buying land at a dollar and a quarter an acre, and holding it until the timber fetched fifty dollars an acre was profit enough for their modest desires … Many of these bewildering prizes that Fortune thrust on the pine-land men were bunched in two fall openings, in 1875 and in 1882 … These were largely offered lands, sold under a law of 1854 (repealed in 1889) by which any lands that seemed especially choice were to be auctioned off at a minimum bid of $1.25 an acre. More often than not that was the top price, for baronial truces were formed from time to time, each land man marking off his selection. Sometimes, however, there was lively bidding.
At the big sale in Duluth, in 1882, when lumbermen from all over the country were present … some feeling had risen. One group of big buyers, fearing the price would be run up on them, asked a young cruiser to put in a bid for a thousand acres they wanted. The lad made his bid. “That for yourself, George?” asked A. J. Whiteman … George gulped hard and admitted it was. “Then I’ll not bid against you.” “How many pieces are on your list?” asked one of the Pillsburys. “Twenty-six” the young man said, breathing hard. “Looks like a good deal for a cruiser,” said the big lumberman, “but if all the rest will hold off, I will.” And so, much to his confusion, the whole block was knocked down to the young man at his opening bid. When his principals heard it, they were so delighted that they had half a notion to give him an interest in the mineral rights-for all the country was under suspicion of value-but they compromised on a twenty-dollar bill. The same land contained seventy million tons of ore.
The Pillsburys … were buying pine lands in the country in 1875, sometimes at public sale, and often by soldier’s additional scrip. An ordinary citizen who exercises his homestead right thereby exhausts it; but a soldier or his widow who failed to take all he might claim could have scrip for’the remainder, good anywhere at any time. And it seemed as though every veteran had been taking up a homestead that left something coming to him. Anyway, the Pillsburys filed on thousands of acres at a uniform price of $200 a parcel.
Well, years later, H. M. Bennett of Minneapolis came to them, saying he thought there was iron under some of their lands. Naturally, they were pleased to hear it, though they did not feel like spending money on an improbability.
But they would give him a chance to prove it. If he could show up 100,000 tons of ore, he could have a half-interest in the mineral rights.
With that contract in his pocket, Bennett went to John M. Longyear, of Marquette, an experienced explorer then operating on the Gogebic, offering him one-half of his half for all the ore he could uncover. They found some millions of tons, the Monroe, Glen, Pillsbury and a number more. These mines are paying the Pillsbury estate and the Longyear-Bennett partnership immense royalties … for the husks of a pine-land deal … Likewise acquired by scrip and sagacity, the 50,000 acres of timber land of the Lorenzo Day estate, and the holdings of T. B. Walker and Pettit and Robinson and others …have turned out a number of good ore properties.
Fortune played many whimsical tricks. James McCahill, a carpenter and capitalist in a small way, loaned $1,000 on a homestead up in the woods. The homesteader, tickled to death to get that much out of his claim, hurried away, thinking what a cute trick he had played, leaving McCahill to bemoan his folly and worry along under the carrying charges. Last heard from, the Shenango mine was paying him close to $100,000 a year royalties on that abandoned homestead.
But the big prizes fell to a comparatively small group of men, most of them members of the Saginaw crowd, Wellington R. Burt, Ezra T. Rust. Elbridge M. Fowler, Clarence M. Hill and Aaron T. Bliss, the Wright and Davis syndicate … Simon J. Murphy, Morton B. Hull, of Chicago, William Boeing and W. C. Yawkey, of Detroit, and others, on whom Opportunity lay in wait, with a richly upholstered club.
In the heart of the Hibbing district is a solid ‘body of ore two miles long, half a mile wide and a hundred million dollars thick, known as the Burt-Pool and the Hull-Rust, as the government line crosses it. Burt, formergovernor and otherwise prominent in Michigan, followed the pine bargains into the new country, buying in the same district from 1883 down to 1888.
His best purchase was in the last year, when George N. Holland bought for him a few forties from Eaton and Merritt … and about 1,500 acres from the C. N. Nelson Lumber Company. Now the Nelson people, who had a confidence in mineral values that was hardly warranted by the developments up to that time, were reluctant to let the land go. But they happened to need the money just then, and so Burt bought the land, timber and all, for $17,000.
That was in 1888. Two years later, the first discoveries (on the Mesabi range) were made, and inside of five years Burt was leasing his mining properties at a rate that has paid from the Burt mine alone as high as $250,000 a year.
The Hull and Boeing lands also shared in the capital prizes. In 1882, Hull and Boeing engaged with Marshall H. Alworth, a reliable Saginaw cruiser, to look up lands for them in the towns that were about to be opened.
They would furnish the money on his judgment, and after they had been reimbursed, with interest, one-third of the profit was to be his, “in consideration for his services in locating and selecting these lands.” He brought them ,several good tracts on which the pine yielded a profit, and at the big December sale they bought 7,500 acres. Their total outlay for the several tracts was $22,500. Alworth’s one-third, which cost him a summer’s campaign, through woods and swamps, fighting mosquitoes …has made him a millionaire a dozen times over. These mines were in the group uncovered by Frank Hibbing in 1893. In a few months he showed up 10,000,000 tons-not onetenth of the deposit-and sold for $250,000 a half-interest in his mines, on which the lessees reckoned they could net a dollar a ton, on a guaranteed product of 300,000 tons a year (a million was nearer the actual figure).
Clarence M. Hill and Aaron T. Bliss paid about $50,000 for some 11,000 acres picked up by F. R. Webber in 1887, scattered over a tract sixty miles one way and thirty-five the other. Most of the land yielded nothing ‘but pine, maybe half a million dollars worth; but in four years they were making leases at twenty-five cents a ton for the ore in a few of the forties, and after the known deposits were disposed of they sold the remaining mineral rights, on a chance, for $150,000.
High and low, the fairies scattered their favors. One poor cobbler homesteaded a forty, and, as soon as he got his patent, gave an option on it for $30,000. He died soon after. It was more prosperity than he could endure.
Leonidas Merritt spent exactly $41 in digging a testpit, and turned up a mine worth a million (Missabe Mountain).
But speaking of fairies whose favors were scattered so widely. The Wright and Davis syndicate had 25,000 acres near Swan River. In the hard times of 1894, they would have been glad to sell it for $75,000. They kept it because nobody wanted it, and in a few years the Mahoning had developed on this land. In 1904, James J. Hill, coming into the ore market bought the Wright and Davis lands. “The Michigan people had offered it to Weyerhaeuser for $3 an acre,” says Hill. “I paid them $4,000,000; it will yield $60,000,000.” As happy over it as a ‘boy who has got the best of it, swapping jack knives.
Which narrative by Mr. Pardee gives the reader an intelligent idea of the fundamentals of Hibbing history. The timber barons were the land barons, and are the lords of the manor today. They, or their heirs, are still enjoying the favors of Fortune, without risk or labor. A feeholder, royalty taker, has an enviable existence. “The ore is found, and he may, therefore, sit at his ease; the mining company will mine it for him.” If the mining company should fail, the feeholder need not worry. Another operator will “turn up.”. Meanwhile, “the ore will keep.” As James J. Hill once said: “The ore won’t burn up, and it won’t go out of fashion.” His treasure is moth and rust proof.
That was the happy psychology of the land baron, the feeholder.
The tragic failures of Mesabi history have been among the operators, the mining men; the great fortunes yielded by the Mesabi have gone to the land barons, the feeholders, mainly.
540Early Explorers.-Frank Hibbing was on the range from 1888, but until the end of 1891, or early in 1892, was to the eastward, it is believed. Captain LeDuc, a mining man, was in the vicinity of Hibbing in 1887, and found “drift ore and quartz on the surface” in many places, but he passed on to the westward. Other early explorers were more or less conversant with conditions and prospects along the range, and the Merritts who, from the early ‘eighties, “hovered over the Range,” and seemed to know “every foot of it,” may be presumed to have stood upon the site of Hibbing long before E. J. Longyear cut his “tote” road through, to Nashwauk, in 1891. But it seems that the first to engage in actual explorations, that is, to establish a mining camp, within close proximity to what now is the Village of Hibbing, was Frank Hibbing. He was in township 59-14 in 1891, but several leases of land in the Hibbing district were granted to him late in that year, or early in 1892, so that the time of his coming to Hibbing may, with fair assurance, be recorded as 1891.
The first indication, in lease record, that Frank Hibbing had been in township 58-20, is lease of December 29, 1891, from Wellington R. Burt, of Saginaw to Frank Hibbing, giving the latter right to mine ore deposits found on “parts of sections 13, 20, 21, 23, 24, 28, 31, 32,, and 34 of township 58-20. This lease was transferred on March 17, 1892, to the Lake Superior Iron ‘Company, and called for a 35- cent royalty, and $6,000 advance payment. Another lease bears date of January 1, 1892, and is from George L. Burrows and Ezra Rust, of Saginaw, and Gilbert B. Goff, of Edenville, Michigan, to Frank Hibbing, the leasing being of lands in sections 4 and 5 of 57-21, at 30 cents a ton royalty. Another from Burrows and Rust to Hibbing, same date, leased seven forties in 58-21 and 57-21. These also were assigned to the Lake Superior Iron Company, on March 17, 1892.
And at the same time that company received transfer of lease secured of Alworth and Trimble, from Foster Lumber Company of Milwaukee, of lands in 58-20, at the same royalty.
Burt-Poole Mine.-These activities of Frank Hibbing had incentive particularly in his discovery of merchantable ore on what was known at the outset as the Lake Superior mine, but eventually came into record as the Burt-Poole mine. “To Frank Hibbing,” states an early record, “belongs the honor of discovering the first merchantable body of ore in the Hibbing District.” The record continues: “In 1892, ‘Capt. T. W. Nelson, working for Mr. Hibbing, discovered ore on the property known as the Burt-Poole, and the Burt bears the reputation of being the first shipping mine” (of the Hibbing District, presumably, seeing that it was not until 1895 that the first shipment was made). Winchell confirms the discovery of ore at the Lake Superior Mine in 1892.
The Lake Superior Iron Company was organized on March 15, 1892, by A. J. Trimble and Frank Hibbing, of Duluth; W. D. Vernam and William Munro, of Superior, and W. H. Buffum, of New York.
The capital authorized was $5,000,000, in shares of $25 denomination.
The Lake Superior Iron Company became the operating company for many holdings of Hibbing, Trimble and Alworth, many leases being transferred to it during the next year or so. Among them were: Lease October 8, 1892, M. H. Hull to A. J. Trimble and M. H. Alworth, lands in section 2-57-21, in 12-57-21 and 13-57-21; lease February 23, 1892, C. L. Ortman to Frank Hibbing and M. H. Alworth, thirteen forties in 58-20, sections 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15; October 8, 1892, M. B. Hull to Trimble and Alworth, 11-57-21; same Vol. II–3 541date and lessor, to Hibbing and Alworth, section 14-58-20, and other leases sections 14, 15, 22 of 58-20. Further leases from Hull to Trimble were filed in 1893. In March, 1893, E. B. Bartlett, of Brooklyn, and C. W. \etmore, of New York, come into the record. These promoters, in March, 1893, working with the Merritts, sought to effect a consolidation of the more important Mesabi mining companies, and an arrangement was made by them, on March 6, 1893, with the Lake Superior Iron Company, by which a one-half interest in the Hibbing group of mines was to be transferred to the new company, for $100,- 000 cash, and a further $150,000 in deferred payments over eighteen months, the promoters to guarantee that the Duluth, Missabe and Northern extension to Hibbing “would be in not later than September 1, 1893.” The agreement was assigned by Bartlett and Wetmore to the ill-fated New York-and Missabe Iron Company-the new holding company organized by these promoters, with the Merritts,-as was also assigned the Hibbing-Trimble contract of April 11, 1893, to them, covering seven forties in 31-58-20, leased by Lorenzo D. Day and J. W. Day to Hibbing and Trimble. The intracacies of the financial endeavors of Wetmore are referred to in the chapter that deals with the general history of the Mesabi Range, and need not be restated here. Suffice it therefore to state that the New York and Missabe Iron Company’s assets eventually (in August, 1893) passed to John D. Rockefeller, and in November to the Rockefeller subsidiary formed to operate the mines. The importance of the Hibbing group is reflected in the name of the new company, the Lake Superior Consolidated Iron Mines, by the forming of which and the eventual merger into the subsidiary of the United States Steel Corporation (in 1901), Hibbing and his associates became millionaires.
The Lake Superior (Burt-Poole) mine development was placed under the superintendence of Capt. P. Mitchell, in 1893, when the Rockefeller subsidiary, the Lake Superior Consolidated Iron Mines, was formed, W. J. Olcott becoming general manager of all the mines.
In 1894 the Lake Superior, or Burt-Poole, mine was being developed for underground mining, and Winchell stated that the basis of operations by the Rockefeller Company was “a 30-cent lease, and the profits … divided between the Consolidated and the Lake Superior Companies.” In other words, Hibbing’s original company still held a one-half interest in the property, or, to be exact, in-the mining lease.
The Duluth, Missabe and Northern Railway Company reached Hibbing in the fall of 1893, but although there were several mines then in process of development, no ore was shipped from the Hibbing District until 1895, the Burt-Poole being the first to reach the shipping stage. Only 201,938 tons were shipped to 1900, but up to the end of 1919 the Burt is shown as having yielded 16,347,691 tons.
This total covers shipments from the Poole Mine. There are today several Burt reserve mines, in Stuntz and Balkan townships, all controlled by the Oliver Iron Mining Company. They show available deposits of approximately 24,000,000 tons of ore.
Sellers Mine.-The Sellers Mine was opened in the same year as the Burt. The feeholder, M. B. Hull, in 1893, gave John M. Sellers mining right to much of section 6 of 57-20, lease of January 17th covering the n. half of nw. qr., on the basis of a 35-cent royalty, with $7,000 cash advance; lease, April 5, 1893, was for n. half of section 6, on similar terms; and another lease of that date and terms referred to the sw. of ne. and nw. of se. of section 6. The first lease 542was transferred on October 20, 1893, to the Sellers Ore Company, “a combination of Pittsburg furnace men.” C. H. Munger became superintendent, and shafts were being sunk in 1894. Winchell noted, in 1895, that the mine then had “an unpleasant amount of water to contend with.” Up to 1900, the total quantity shipped from the Sellers mine was 188,102 tons, but the mine has been yielding fair quantities almost every year since that time, the total mined to end of 1919 being 8,952,358 tons. The property passed to the Oliver Iron Mining Ccmpany, present operators, and shows an available deposit still of about thirteen million tons. What is known as the Sellers Townsite mine, also an Oliver property, has an available deposit of 33,373,500 tons, to be able to work which is one of the reasons for the recent removal of part of the Village of Hibbing.
Mahoning Mine.-The Mahoning Mine was purchased from the Wright and Davis Syndicate, and the great property has been termed “the largest open-pit iron mine in the world.” It probably is, in combination with the other adjoining mines, which, by the ceaseless shovelling of the many and tireless steam shovels, have become merged into one vast gaping chasm. One writer thus describes the chasm, and the activity: Stand on an edge of an open pit near Hibbing. One looks across a gulf a quarter 6f a mile wide and deep enough to lose a skyscraper in its huge trough. As far away as Grace Church from City Hall Square (New York) in one direction, as far in the other as from City Hall Square to the Battery, a puffing steam shovel is gnawing at the steep purple bank, perhaps a dozen of them here and there nipping at the rim of the bowl. Each thrusts its dipper against the bank, its jaws creak, the derrick groans, and five tons of ore are swung over the waiting car. As the bucket lets go its burden, one can hear one dollar and twenty-five cents clink into the feeholder’s pocket, while another dollar and twenty-,five cents jingle in the till of the leaseholding company.
Ten of these bucket-loads fill a fifty-ton car that looks, from the brink of the pit, like a match-ibox on spools, as it crawls on the bottom. Another car is warped into place and the steam-shovel again groans under its burdening wealth. All day long, all through the summer, these shovels are scooping up six, eight, ten thousand tons a day of fusible wealth.
Such activity has been going on for a generation, not only in Hibbing, but in all parts of the Mesabi Range, the excavations (of earth as well as ore) being approximately as much every three or four busy years as were accomplished in the whole of the work at Panama Isthmus. But at Hibbing, from the brink of the Mahoning- Hull-Rust Mine, the result of the ceaseless delving is impressively evident. The Hull-Rust-Mahoning open-pit alone has yielded more than eighty million tons of ore up to the present. That means, roughly, one hundred million yards of excavation, and probably another forty million yards could be added for original stripping; say, 150,000,000 yards of excavation, in all. The Panama excavation represented only 80,000,000 yards up to July 1, 1909, and it was then estimated than only another 100,000,000 yards would complete the work of cutting the canal. This comparison will give the general reader some indication of the stupendous work daily proceeding at Hibbing.
The Mahoning Mine was explored by W. C. Agnew, in 1894.
The Mahoning Ore Company was formed, and the work of stripping the surface was at once begun. It was the first mine to be stripped in the Hibbing District. The original discovery by Agnew was in the ne. qr. of section 3, township 57-21, but soon the development extended to the north half of sections 1 and 2. The mine came into the shipping list in 1895, the ore going over the Wright and Davis 543logging road, known as the Duluth, Mississippi River and Northern, to Swan River, where it connected with the Duluth and Winnipeg line, leading to the ore docks at Superior. By the way, strenuous objection was made by the Mahoning Ore Company, in 1896, to the proposed inclusion of township 57-21 in Stuntz township, Mr. Agnew explaining that township 57-21 “is very rich, if not the richest in mineral and timber lands in the county,” and, to support his belief that an injustice would be done the mining company by the proposed annexation which would give the township supervisers right to tax the company, he instanced the case of the school fund. Large amounts were drawn from the company, in school levy for the Hibbing District, in which the Mahoning location had been placed, notwithstanding that the children thereof “must walk from one to two miles to reach the schoolhouse.” However, the protest was ignored, and the Mahoning location, with township 57-21, came within the jurisdiction of Stuntz, the richest township in the state.
The Mahoning Mine shipped more than two million tons of ore in the nineties, when A. O. Beardsley was the mining captain, and up to the end of 1919, had shipped 29,618,759 tons. The mine is still under the direction of Mr. Agnew, though the Mahoning Ore Company has given way to the Mahoning Ore and Steel Company.
R. N. Marble is the general superintendent, and the mine still has an unworked deposit of approximately 75,000,000 tons, including the several Mahoning reserve properties controlled by the same company.
Day Mine.-The Day Mine was explored in 1892 or 1893 by Frank Hibbing. It adjoins the Burt, and passed eventually to the Lake Superior Consolidated Iron Mines, subsequently coming into the control of the Oliver Iron Mining Company. It had yielded only 20,626 tons by 1900, and is credited with only 319,453 tons up to the end of 1919, though some ore from it is included in Burt Mine figures.
There is still available a deposit of approximately six million tons.
The Hull and Rust Mines are owned, in fee, by the Hull and Rust families, the original landowners being M. B. Hull and Ezra Rust. The mining leases were the Hibbing, Trimble and Alworth, the mining leases passing to the Lake Superior Iron Company, and in turn to the Lake Superior Consolidated Iron Mines, and the Oliver Iron Mining Company, present operators. The Hull- Rust Mines entered the shipping list in 1896, under management of the Consolidated. It was then an underground mine. The separate figures for the Hull and Rust Mines are not available, but the combined shipment up to the end of 1919 was 51,848,910 tons. No other Mesabi mine comes anywhere near the Hull-Rust in tonnage shipped, or in quantity mined in one year. Within recent years the mine has given more than five million tons a year, the record being 7,665,611 tons in 1916. The available unworked deposit of the Hull-Rust and Hull Reserve Mines aggregates to the stupendous total of about 120,000,000 tons.
Penobscot Mine.-The Penobscot Mine was explored in the middle nineties, by Cheeseboro, of Duluth, and shipments began in 1897, Eddy Brothers and Company being then in control. It was an underground mine, and very wet. In fact, it had the reputation of being “the wettest in the Lake Superior Region, the inflow of water being about 5,000 gallons a minute.” The superintendent was John A. Redfern. In 1901, the property passed to the Oliver Iron Mining Company, previous shipments having been 127,204 tons. Between 1903 and 1918, the mine did not yield a thousand tons, but 32,531 544tons came from it in 1919. There is an available deposit of about eight million tons.
The Agnew Mine was explored by W. C. Agnew and associates in 1901. The property was eventually leased to the Great Northern and passed to the Deering Harvester Company, which later became the International Harvester Company. That corporation still operates it, B. W. Batchelder being general superintendent of its Mesabi properties, and Martin Trewhella, captain at the Agnew.
Shipments began in 1902, 45,582 tons. Total shipments to end of 1919 are 1,907,238 tons. About two and a half million tons are still available.
There is also the Agnew No. 2 Reserve, and the No. 3 Reserve, with deposits of about eleven million tons, in all, but these belong to the Oliver Iron Mining Company.
The Albany Mine was explored in 1901 by A. M. Chisholm, D. C. Rood, and A. Maitland, who leased it to Pickands, Mather and Company, who have controlled it ever since. It was operated by two methods, underground and open-pit, and first entered the shipping list in 1903, with 109,608 tons. Robert Murray has been identified, as superintendent and general superintendent, with Pickands, Mather operations in the Hibbing District since the early days.
The Albany to end of 1919 yielded 4,831,974 tons, and there is still about as much available.
The Cyprus Mine was one of the discoveries of W. C. Agnew. He found it in 1901, and soon afterwards leased it to Joseph Sellwood and Pickands, Mather and Company. First ore shipped was in 1903, 121,818 tons. Total shipped to end of 1019, 1,780,986 tons. But the statistics show that only a further 50,000 tons are available. The mine was an open-pit from the beginning.
It has reverted to the Sellwood interests again.
The Forest was one of the mines of the Hibbing District in the first years of this century. It was explored by M. L. Fay, in 1902, and developed “as an open-pit milling proposition” by the Tesora Mining Company. The first shipment was in 1904, and the last in 1910. Total quantity shipped, 248,540 tons. Fee-owner is the Mississippi Land Company.
The Laura Mine was explored by the Fay Exploration Company, in 1901. The company sank a shaft, and began to ship ore in 1902, first year’s shipment being 16,453 tons. In 1903 the lease was transferred to the Winifred Iron Mining Company.
Eventually it passed to the Inland Steel Company, which corporation has operated the mine for many years. William Wearne, general superintendent, has been with the company since the beginning of their operations on the Mesabi Range. The ore from the Laura Mine, went, mainly, to the company’s furnaces and steel mill at Indiana Harbor, near Chicago. The mine has yielded about an equal quantity yearly since 1906, and the total of shipments to end of 1919 is 2,548,300 tons, with about 2,000,000 tons still available.
The Leetonia Mine was discovered in 1900, by George H. Warren and associates. It was developed as an open-pit by Joseph Sellwood, the first shipment coming in 1902, 28,784 tons.
There was a heavy overburden, and by 1909 more than 2,000,000 yards of overburden had been removed. Indeed, in some parts of the mine, it seemed more practicable to mine by underground methods.
The property was acquired by the Inter-State Iron Company, and, although latterly it has been operated by the Leetonia Mining Company, both are subsidiaries of the Jones and Laughlin Steel Com- 545pany, which corporation has controlled the pronerty since 1905. In the fall of 1908 a shaft was sunk, and at that time an incline slope was also in operation. An electric hoist was installed, and the Leetonia was the first Mesabi mine at which that method of mining was instituted. E. S. Tillinghast has been the superintendent at the Leetonia since 1905. The total quantity mined to the end of 1919 was 6,924,545 tons, and there is still a deposit of about two million tons available.
The Longyear is another of the Mesabi properties of the Jones and Laughlin Steel Company, and Mr. Tillinghast is superintendent of that mine also. It was discovered in 1901 by E. J. Longyear. The lease was assigned by him to the Columbia Mining Company, who transferred it to the Williams Ore Company, and that company sold it to the Inter-State Iron Company, present operators. It was developed as an underground mine, and the first shipment was made in 1902, when 22,788 tons were mined. From 1905 the mine has been dormant, with the exception of the year 1913, when 11,799 tons were shipped. The total quantity mined to the present is only 133,190 tons, but it is a good property, having about 5,218,420 tons available. The Longyear Reserve Mine, from which nothing has yet been mined, also has about 2,000,000 tons available.
There are three Morris Mines. They all belong to the Oliver Iron Mining Company, and all are in sections 31 and 32 of township 58-20. The Morris Mine was discovered by Duluth mining men in 1902, and soon afterwards leased to the Oliver Company.
From the outset, the Morris was destined to be one of the big mines of the Mesabi. Its first year’s shipment was the record for an opening year, being 1,070,937 tons in 1905. The next two years averaged almost two million tons, and altogether, the Morris Mines have yielded, to the end of 1919, 14,949,021 tons, and the available quantity is still about 20,000,000 tons. There was very little stripping necessary at that mine.
The Nassau Mine was discovered by E. J. Longyear.
It was leased to the Rhodes Mining Company, and later to the Nassau Ore Company, a subsidiary of the Pittsburg Iron Ore Company, which was organized in 1905. Capt. Alfred Martin was the superintendent. A shaft was sunk, and shipments began in 1907.
The mine, however, only yielded 71,563 tons to the end of 1919, though there is a deposit of more than 3,300,000 tons proved.. The property has passed to the Jones and Laughlin Steel Company.
The discovery of the Pillsbury Mine was one of the first E. J. Longyear made, on behalf of J. S. Pillsbury. The mine came into the shipping list in 1898. Eventually it passed to the Oliver Iron Mining Company. It had yielded 206,178 tons by 1900, and to the end of 1908, 1,640,265 tons. Since that year it has been idle.
Scranton Mine.-The Scranton Mine is one of the large mining properties of the Hibbing District, although, up to the present, it has only yielded 520,673 tons of its deposit of more than eighteen million tons. It was discovered in 1902, by A. M. Chisholm and associates, and as an underground mine was at first known as the Elizabeth.
It was disposed of to the Lackawanna Steel Company, under which company the first shipment was made in 1904, 1,168 tons, the ore being hauled in wagons to Hibbing and there shipped in that year, “in order to comply with conditions of state lease.” The mine has remained in the control of the Pickands Mather interests ever since, although nothing was mined between the years 1904 and 1910, and nothing has come from it since 1915.
he Stevenson Mine was discovered by E. J. Longyear in 1894, and leased eventually to the Stevenson Iron Mining Company, which seems to have been a company formed by Corrigan McKinney and Company. It is said that the mine “was named for Stevenson Burke, who was prominently identified with Corrigan McKinney and Company.” At the outset, mining was by shaft, and the first year of shipment was in 1901, 56,031 tons. However, it was soon decided to strip the heavy overburden, and that work was begun in 1901. A review of Mesabi mining in 1902 stated that the Stevenson was “the largest thus far opened on the western end of the Mesabi Range.” Mining operations at the Stevenson were then “carried on with steam shovels, there being three of them on ore bodies, besides two working on stripping.” The property then was under the supervision of Amos Shephard, and the mining captain was Frank McCreary. Several million yards of surface were removed, and “the immense pit opened” was “one of the largest and most noteworthy of any on the Range, being one mile in length, while the extreme width is 800 feet.” It is now very deep. Water became one of the main obstacles to mining, and in 1906 and 1907 shafts were sunk, primarily to drain the water, but incidentally to mine. One of the features of the mine was a suspension bridge, 815 feet long, to span the open-pit gully, and to provide means of getting from the location and offices to the shafts. G. E. Harrison was the superintendent from 1904 until the property passed, a few years ago, to the McKinney Steel Company, E. D. McNeil being now the general superintendent, and E. L. Cochran, superintendent. Altogether, to the end of 1919, the Stevenson Mine has given 13,945,402 tons, but its available deposits seem now to be very little.
The first attempt to develop the Susquehanna mine was made in 1900 by E. Dessau, of New York. He failed and abandoned the lease. The property eventually passed to the Great Northern Railway Company, and was sub-leased by that corporation to the Buffalo and Susquehanna Iron Company. The mine was opened in 1906, and is one of the “big holes” that hem Hibbing in. The shipment in 1906 was 20,984 tons. Up to end of 1919 the mine yielded 6,324,358 tons. But the hole will be much bigger and deeper before the deposit has been exhausted, for there is still an ore body of about eighteen million tons to mine. The early superintendent was Bert Angst, and A. E. Wilson is now general superintendent.
The property is now in the control of the Rogers-Brown Iron Company, a Chicago promotion.
The Sweeney Mine was discovered by E. F. Sweeney and J. B. Adams. Leased to the Denora Mining Company, and later absorbed by the Oliver Iron Mining Company. The property has a deposit of about 1,800,000 tons, but has only yielded about 8,000 tons. It is interesting in one respect, in that “it has a very light surface” and should have been one of the first discovered, the ore being “but a few inches” below the surface in places, and located “on the old Grand Rapids road” which was travelled over for years by mining men without being suspected.” It was not discovered until 1901.
The Utica mine is a Pickands Mather property, and it has yielded, to end of 1919, 3,999,524 tons. It was explored in 1900 by Thomas J. Jones and others, and leased to Pickands Mather.
Under Robert Murray it was developed as an open-pit and as an underground mine, first shipment being made in 1902, 9,009 tons.
There is an available deposit of about 2,700,000 tons.
The Webb mine was explored by P. H. Nelson in 1901. An underground mine was developed by the Shenango Ore Company, but shipments did not begin until 1905. D. C. Peacock was superintendent. Up to the end of 1919, the total quantity shipped was 1,524,746 tons. The mine still belongs to the same people, the Shenango Furnace Co., E. J. Maney being manager, and H. S. Rankin superintendent. It is a valuable property, having almost ten million tons of ore still available.
Great Northern Iron Ore Properties.
When the United States Steel Corporation was organized in 1901, “panic seized owners of mining property.” They felt that they had lost their ore market.
It is said that “one could have bought the whole of the Mesabi range (that lay outside the Oliver Iron Mining enclosure) for little more than the Dutch gave for Manhattan Island.” But there were some independent operators and financiers who were more courageous. A few, who saw further, gathered up handfuls of these begging properties, and it “was not long before there began the first era of lasting prosperity the range had known.” Independent steel manufacturers were in the market for ore, and the demand expanded amazingly.
The history of the Mesabi range indicates that “it has afflicted with additional wealth men already laboring under great fortunes.” Lumbermen who bought these lands for a trifling price, for the timber only, found themselves “besieged by promoters who pleaded for leave to pay them a million or so for their discard. Rockefeller loaned a million and was recompensed by fifty. Carnegie, yielding to Oliver’s entreaties, to buy something that cost him not a penny, was thereby master of the situation. James J. Hill bought a second-hand logging road to oblige a friend, and was introduced to an estate on which he once placed a value of eight-hundred million dollars.” Hill, it seems, was indifferent to ore until almost forced into it, by the Wright-Davis logging railroad purchase, by which, figuring haphazardly, he knew to be worth $60,000,000, in ore values. But soon he took up the ore matter deliberately, and to the surprise of the steel men gathered in all the “odds and ends” they had passed by, and made the “odds and ends” into the “enormous assembly of ore” the Great Northern properties represent. In a few years, his holdings became almost as enormous as those of the Steel Corporation, which could not permit him to have such a weapon of raw material to “hold over their heads.” To keep the supremacy for the Steel Corporation, to maintain a safe base in raw materials, the United States Steel Corporation were forced to come to James J. Hill eventually, and pay him a larger royalty than had ever been paid on Mesabi ore. The matter is dealt with in the general Mesabi Range chapter, of this work.
Going back to the beginning, A. W. Wright and C. H. Davis, of Saginaw, and John Killoren and M. H. Kelly, of Duluth, acquired at the early land sales about six thousand acres of timber land, much of it along the Mesabi range. They built a logging road from Swan.
River into the heart of their land, which was near Hibbing, and commenced logging. The Weyerhaeusers were their best customers, and eventually the Wright and Davis syndicate offered them what timber they had remaining, with the land as well, for a million and a half. The Weyerhaeusers thought it better to take the timber for $1,300,000, and leave the land in the possession of Wright and Davis.
Cut-over land was then worth from $2 to $5 an acre, where settlement was possible. That on 6,000 acres did not represent much, and 548taxes were a small but certain liability. Still, cut-over land “beyond the pale of civilization” was not worth having. So the great timber barons took only the timber, forming a company to handle the logs.
Wright and Davis still had the land, which they looked upon as a “white elephant,” and even though there were certain discoveries of iron made, they could not get anyone to “nibble” at their holding when offered for $3.00 an acre. So they held it, having no option. A few years later the Mahoning mine was developed on their land; then the Stevenson. In 1899, James J. Hill paid them $4,000,000 for their land, and their railway.
He was quite satisfied with the transaction, knowing its potentialities, yet it does not seem that he was over-anxious to enter into mining operations himself. And had it not been for the formation of the huge steel corporation in 1901, and the consequent “flurry” among independent mining companies of the Mesabi range, it is doubtful whether he would have invested further in ore lands, even with a legitimate accessory, a railway. But when the deflation came, he saw his opportunity and bought Mesabi ore properties courageously, being quite content to hold them until the great steel corporation came to him, as has been elsewhere stated. The astounding leasing contract made by Hill with Judge Gary of the Steel Corporation in 1907, held until 1915, and while he drew enormous royalties during that period, incidentally, the steel corporation developed some important properties for Mr. Hill, leaving him much richer in mines when the contract terminated than he had been when it began.
That is the history of Hibbing mining in general, and it is a sufficiently sensational story to be fiction instead of fact.
-Many of the important mines of the Great Northern have within recent years been taken over (on a royalty basis of course) by the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company, which has been operating on the Mesabi range since 1903, and in recent years has been finding employment for about 900 men. In 1919, a subsidiary corporation, the Mesabi Cliffs Iron Mining Company, was organized, to operate the leases from the Great Northern, the properties including the Boeing mine at Hibbing, the Hill and Trumbull mines at Marble, and the North Star at Taconite. The Boeing mine is being opened as an open-pit and milling proposition, and the Winston Deere Company began stripping operations in 1920. Previously, in September, 1919, the Mesaba Cliffs Company had begun to sink a shaft, for underground development of the property. The Hill and Trumbull mines, which adjoin, are to be operated as an open pit, though until taken over by the Mesaba Iron Mining’Company no stripping had been attempted on the Trumbull. The Hill was one of the properties developed by the Steel Corporation during the leasing. The North Star was also opened by the Oliver Company. Altogether, James J. Hill did quite well by his introduction to the Mesabi range, through the initial transaction with the Saginaw lumbermen, Wright and Davis.
There are one or two other Hibbing properties worthy of mention, among them: the Kerr, which included the Sheridan, discovered by James Sheridan, in 1894, and now one of the Oliver properties; the Morton, a Pickands Mather mine; the Philbin, operated by the Oliver Company; and some inactive mines. But page space is unfortunately not unlimited, and more space has already been given to the recording of the important Hibbing mining history than had been originally planned.
When men first were drawn to township 57-20, they were attracted by possibilities in lumber. Some men saw only lumber; nothing else meant “bread and butter” to them. Such a cruiser nust have been John Day, who, according to a well-authenticated story, published in the “St. Paul’s Despatch,” May 20, 1918, stood upon tile site of Hibbing many years before it was settled, and actually knew that there was iron in the immediate vicinity-knew it without being in any way excited by the knowledge. The story is: Twenty-five or more years ago, John Day, a land cruiser for the lumbering interests, stopped one evening, near sundown, to get his bearings. The country was new to him, and to his companion. Neither had ever been in that section of Minnesota before.
They decided to take their bearings, and so unslung their compass. But the instrument was crazy; the needle danced this way and that. It whirled round and round. It refused to perform its proper duties as a compass.
Wonderstruck, Day and his companion, carefully moved the instrument to another place. But still it danced and whirled, and whirled and danced.
Never in his long life as a cruiser had old man Day experienced a similar phenomenon. The two men cast anxious looks at each other, and then at the sun, which was rapidly sinking in the west. Here they were, lost in the great north woods, with a crazy compass.
Old man Day cursed softly to himself, and slowly scratching his head boxed the compass.
“Son” he said, turning a sorrowful face to his companion. “We camp right here. Build a fire.” He sat down on a log, lit his pipe and smoked for a while in silence.
Then: “Son, I reckon I’ve got it. There’s iron round about here somewhere, and some day some tenderfoot is going to find it. But that ain’t your business nor mine just now, and I don’t reckon it’ll be of any use in your time or mine, anyhow; so, after we’ve had a bite, we’ll turn in and get away from here tomorrow.” And so they camped that night less than a mile from the mouth of the great Mahoning open-pit mine, which, until the past few years, was the greatest ore-producing property in the world.
Today, on the spot where old man Day stood, in impenetrable wilderness, stands the city of Hibbing.
Day was not the only man who, in the eighties, knew that there was iron along the Mesabi range. But there was little activity in logging, or in mining exploration, until Longyear cut a road “westward as far as Nashwauk,” in 1891. The Wright and Davis logging operations had been proceeding since the late eighties slowly northward along their logging railroad, which started “at what was called Mississippi Landing, across from the old Duluth and Winnipeg railroad at Swan River Junction, eight miles east of the Mississippi.” The railroad, however, did not reach the vicinity of Hibbing until 1894, according to Joseph Moran, who was a cruiser for the Wright and Davis syndicate at the time. And there was probably very little logging done until the railroad was near, whereas hot-footed on the heels of Longyear came mining explorers, in 1891. So that after the “tote” road had been cut through (and one seems to have been cut through all the way from Mountain Iron, where mining explorations were feverishly pursued at that time) there seems little doubt that logging became of secondary importance, excepting to the lumbermen.
It interested the mining men only so far as logging was necessary to clear the timber from the land they wished to explore and develop. Yet, while mining was the direct and lumbering the incidental activity in the first years of Hibbing, the place was to an extent a lumber camp for some time after Frank Hibbing began to explore for iron, late in 1891, or early in 1892. Soon, the Hibbing 550551 district had many little exploration camps, and with the coming going and of interested mining men, a central community, not very regularly delineated, came into evidence in the vicinity of the spot later chosen by the Hibbing townsite projectors. The community, with- out legal authority, came to be known as “Superior,” because of Frank Hibbing’s first find, the Superior mine, presumably.
The original landowners of the site of Hibbing are stated to have been Martin B. Hull, Rudolph Ostman and Marshall Alworth. All were purchasers of timber land in the range townships in 1882, al- though in 1892 M. H. Alworth was also identified with Frank Hib- bing and A. J. Trimble in mining explorations. The land had be- come so potentially valuable in minerals by the time Hibbing and Trimble thought of platting a townsite that it was impossible for them to purchase outright the land they wanted for townsite pur- poses. They had to be content with a leasehold, and so it happened that the village of Hibbing eventually was termed, “The Town on Wheels,” and ultimately was destined to be actually raised onto wheels and transported to a new site, two miles or so distant, the land upon which it had rested and developed for a generation being especially important to, and needed by, the landlord and mining company, seeing that for a depth of two or three hundred feet the townsite was all iron ore, of high grade, probably a hundred million tons of it.
Platting the Townsite.-The original townsite of Hibbing was platted by H. L. Chapin, a civil engineer, in the spring of 1893, for Frank Hibbing and A. J. Trimble, leaseholders. The original plat embraced, according to the subsequent petition for incorporation, “Lot five (5), and the se. qr. of ne. qr. of section 6, in township 57 n., range 20 w.” The plat was “designated as the town of Hibbing” and “on the fifth day of June, 1893, duly approved and certified by the Plat Commission of … St. Louis County,” and “on the sixth day of June, 1893, duly filed in the office of the Register of Deeds * in Book F. of plats.” Conditions at that Time.-C. M. Atkinson, editor of the “Mesaba Ore,” wrote in 1902 some interesting “Early Day History of Hibbing,” gathering his material, in part, from John B. Conner, a pioneer settler. He begins: From the time Mr. Longyear completed the connecting link of the road in from Swan River, there were comings and goings and, with the announce- ment of the discovery of iron ore, many people came in here with the intention of remaining with the new camp. New mining camps had sprung up all along the range, and many of them had been seriously overdone, and the overflow, looking for a new world to conquer, came here. Some of the early travelers are here yet, and mighty good citizens they are too. After a time a considerable “town” of shacks and tents came up, from no one knew where, and the little settlement in the wilderness was known as “Superior.” Additions were made to the village from time to time. Hibbing and Trimble, of Duluth, secured interest in iron lands here and nearby, and Mr. Hibbing, having full faith in the future of this end of the range, finally decided to make a town and call it Hibbing-a name good enough for anybody, or any town.
Accordingly, he selected the townsite, started a crew of surveyors at work, and the announcement of the birth of a husky robust infant was re- corded in the court house at Duluth in June, 1893.
The struggle for existence was a most fierce one, and that every man in town was not discouraged and quit the “diggings” is something to be won- dered at, as one stops to look back at the sore trials that beset the pioneers of what is now the leading village of the Northwest. Virginia was then the center of attraction of the whole range, and when Hibbing was announced it was made the laughing-stock of the whole country.
That conditions were rigorous for the pioneers of Hibbing may be well imagined. It was almost inaccessible. The railway had not reached it in 1892, and the journey along the “tote” road from Mesaba Station, the nearest railway point, was well-nigh unbearable. The traffic, along the dirt, and in the worst spots corduroyed, mountain road to Mesaba Station in 1891 and 1892 was exceptionally heavy, there being innumerable mining camps needing supplies, with mining equipment as well as provender, and the road was at time almost impassable.
The further to the westward the mining camp lay the harder the conditions, and Hibbing at that time was almost the farthest westward. During those first years of the nineties, Captain’ A. H. Stevens, who later joined Oliver in mining work, had about thirty horses employed constantly in hauling supplies westward from Mesaba Station, and to make a “round trip” between that point and Hibbing seven days were needed. Today, the distance could be covered, by auto, in a few hours at most. The freight rate from Mesaba Station to Hibbing was six cents a pound, and mining companies had the preference. Frank Hibbing paid $100 a ton for hay.
The hardships were made even harder in 1893 by the almost universal depression. As the year advanced, money actually was not to be had, and what work was not absolutely urgent was postponed.
Where work was found, payment was usually “in kind,” food being the most acceptable. Much of the exploration work was continued on “grub-stakes,” and one of the modes of payment in currency was in “clearing house certificates.” That state of affairs prevailed notwithstanding that,.from August of 1893, the great John D. Rockefeller, was in command, to all intents, of the mining activities of Frank Hibbing and his associates. What would have happened in Hibbing had the great financier not taken hold at that time is hard to conjecture.
It is quite certain however that at that time Hibbing, Trimble, and Alworth had little or no money. Atkinson quotes Conner as stating that: The winter of 1893-94 was very dull; there was little or no work of any kind going on. The “jumping lumberjacks” were paid anywhere from $6 to $12 a month, and were compelled to accept due bills, payable the following January. The discount on this paper was from 25 to 50 per cent, and jobs were exceedingly hard to get even at that figure. Therefore, inducement was not great to work in the woods, and there was very little exploring going on. A few men were being employed !by W. C. Agnew, for the Mahoning Company, and it is history that Mr. Agnew created for himself the title of “The Working Man’s Friend.” He employed all the men he could make room for and paid them from $40 to $60 per month. After pay-day, a Mahoning miner was looked up to with respectful awe in Hibbing, and the less fortunate ones speculated on whether he could buy a railroad, a line of steamships, or go to Europe for an extended vacation. Hibbing at that time was a mere handful of buildings on the townsite proper, but there were all kinds of shacks, picturesque, grotesque, and otherwise, in all directions. They were occupied for the most part by men who did not know where the next meal was coming from.
In the early morning, a person might stand on the west end of Pine street (that ‘being the only street in town) and not see another man. Between 9 and 10 o’clock the shackers would begin to crawl out, and from that time on could be seen a continuous string of men coming in from all directions. That was the army of “shackers” who lived in the woods on all sides of Hibbing. The tract of land west of First avenue was then known as Cedar Dale.
First Business Men in Hibbing.-The first boarding house “of any note” in Hibbing was that established by Patrick Slattery, though, somewhat earlier, “a mining-camp shanty was run awhile by Joseph Stewart.” “Prior to August, 1893, all there was of Hibbing” stated Mr. Atkinson, “was what’was called the Hay Market, located north 552and northwest of the present power plant.” Murphy “had Brothers, it appears, the first general store established in Hibbing; it was housed in a tent on the lot where later stood the saloon of Ed. LaChance.” James Gandsey was the second to open business, having a grocery store. He was a grocery man in Hibbing for very many years. The first to open an exclusive dry-goods store” was the firm of O’Leary, Bowser and Day. In 1920, Mr. Day was still conducting the same business at 208 Pine Street. Berdie also was one of the early general-store dealers of Hibbing.
Petition to Incorporate.–The petition to incorporate the platted- portion, and also quite a considerable additional acreage, in all about 2,560 acres in townships 57-20 and 57-21, was circulated in June, 1893. It was signed by 89 persons, the first to sign being John Meehan. The petition stated that a census had been taken on June 6, 1893, and dis- closed that there were 326 persons then resident upon the land for which corporate powers were sought. Petition bore date of July 7, 1893, and it was filed with the county auditor at Duluth without delay. On July 11, 1893, the county commissioners approved, and ordered that election to make known the will of the majority of the inhabi- tants, be held on August 15th next, at the office of the Lake Superior Mining Company. Dennis Haley, Ed. Champion and D1. Dugan were appointed inspectors of election. Frank Hibbing was deputed to see that election notices were properly posted, and testified soon afterwards that he had posted notices in five places: at Lake Superior Iron Company’s office; at the Trumble Sawmill; at the Lake Superior Iron Co.’s shaft house; at Brown’s hotel; and at Bradley’s store. The election was duly held, and 106 votes were cast, 105 being for in- corporation.
First Election.-The way was thus clear, and the commissioners ordered election of officers to be held on August 30, 1893, at the same place. The outcome was that J. F. Twitchell, who seems to have been unopposed, was elected president of the village, receiving 176 of 176 votes cast. The other first officials chosen were also almost unani- mously elected. They were: John McHale, J. D. Campbell, and T. N. Nelson, trustees; C. T. Robinson, recorder; Dennis Haley, treasurer; Ed. Champion and G. L. Robinson, justices of the peace; John Meehan and Patrick Harrington, constables.
Regarding the first election, and the outcome, Mr. Atkinson wrote: The first election of the new village of Hibbing was a special, held August 8, and J. F. Twitchell was elected president, without opposition. Mr. Twitchell at that time was timekeeper, storekeeper, and cashier for Granville and Sullivan, the contractors who were doing construction work on the extension of the Duluth, Missabe and Northern railway, from Wolf to Hibbing. The ticket elected however did not suit the fancy of the shackers. The Shackers’ Union.-They decided to organize a “union” for self-pro- tection. No time was lost, and the union was soon organized, with Robert F. Berdie as president, and J. B. Connor secretary. As there was not thirty cents in the whole bunch, a treasurer was deemed an unnecessary luxury. The object of the union was a most worthy one, being to fill the elective offices of the village with men who would pledge themselves to have village work done by the day, instead of by contract (some of the work was done by the year). Second Election.-Drawing on the time of the regular election, a caucus was duly called in “Germany Hall,” a small double-log cabin, in use by Mr. Sellers in exploring the land now occupied by the Sellers mine. This camp was situated near the former office of the Minnesota Iron Company, and was one of the very first buildings erected in Hibbing. The caucus was called to order, and the man who was not a member of the Shackers Union was hard 553 554to find … There was no opposition to the names presented, and the following village ticket was speedily placed in nomination: R. F. Berdie, for village president; J. B. Connor, for recorder; James Geary, D. C. Young and John McHale, trustees; D. Healy, for treasurer; John F. Meehan and W. F. Dalton, for constables. The opposition ticket was: J. Fred Twitchell, for president; C. F. Robinson, for recorder; Burton Hurd, J. D. Campbell, and James Geary, for trustees; D. Healy, for treasurer; John E. Meehan and John McHale, for constables. The Sbhackers elected their ticket, with the exception of Mr. Berdie for president and Mr. Dalton for constable.
Mr. Twitchell, however, did not continue in office for long. His policies probably met with opposition; at all events, he soon resigned, and James Gandsey succeeded him as president before 1894 was far spent.
Pioneer Hotels.-Continuing John B. Connor’s narrative Mr. Atkinson wrote: The winter of 1893-4 was very dull … There were three hotels in the town that winter, the Coffinger, the Brown, and the Cosmopolitan, and James Dillon had a restaurant, located where the New York restaurant now stands. The Hotel Superior was commenced that winter.
The Cosmopolitan hotel was owned by Dorsey and McKinary. Dorsey was one of those freehearted fellows who could not see anyone go hungry if he could help it, and, as a result, his business partner was often taxed to the limit to keep things going. The dining room of the Cosmopolitan was about 24×40 feet, with three tables extending the full length of the room. Dorsey would throw open the door, and announce dinner as follows: “Take it”-in a voice that penetrated the depths of Cedar Vale. That was the signal; and the jam at the tables made light of the opening of an Indian reservation in Oklahoma … In less than an hour, everything eatable had vanished from sight, and Dorsey would say confidentially to his partner: “There was about half-a-dozen money guys in that (bunch.” It was a common occurrence to see hanging over the Cosmopolitan every Friday or Saturday the following notice, printed in large letters: “No more stiffs wanted-this place is closed.” The hotel ‘had a bar-room in connection, and Dorsey would take in enough money over the ‘bar in a few days to buy a ham and a sack of flour, and, receiving a grape-vine telegram a few days later, announcing the intended visit of a few strangers, he would promptly declare the Cosmopolitan open for business again.
Besides the hotels, however, there were eight saloons in Hibbing in 1893. They were those conducted by Churchill and Sullivan, Eugene Brown, John Munter, J. D. Campbell, Thomas Shank, John Bruce and James Geary. One incident of the earliest year is referred to by Mr. Atkinson thus: In the “woolly” days of the town “Duff” Campbell, now of Duluth, occupied a tent on Pig Tail Alley, wherein he conducted a first class sample room.
It is hinted that he manufactured his own hardware and varnish. … As is usual in all new mining camps, there were many “hangers-on,” who were no good to themselves, or anyone else. Duff had a number of these customers, and one, more aggressive than the others, pestered Mr. Campbell unrelentingly.
After the usual request for “just one more, for a bracer ye know,” Mr. Camp- ‘bell handed the vagabond ten cents and told him to go and buy a rope and hang himself.” He did so. “That was the first suicide in Hiblbing.” Another reminiscence repeated by Mr. Atkinson is to the effect that: W. C. Barrett was the first wholesale beer agent. The goods (of Fitger’s celebrated stock) came overland from Mountain Iron, hotter and frothier than … after the long jolt. But we drank it, smacked our lips, and said it was good; probably because whisky was cheaper at that time.
And yet one more of Mr. Atkinson’s reminiscences connects with “the Trade.” He wrote: There is a difference of opinion as to the first ball held in Hibbing. Several of the very old-time swell-set declare that the first dance antedated that held in the “new ‘bank building” by several months, and that it was held in a tent, which was located near where the Center Street School building now stands. A keg of beer was on tap for refreshments …, and it isrecorded that the weather was so cold that the “snout” of the keg froze up solid, and about half the fun was spoiled.
First Franchise.-The first franchise granted by the village of Hibbing was to Messrs Hibbing and Trimble, who organized the Hibbing Light and Water Company. The ordinance under reference is No. 8, which was adopted on February 27, 1894. When it became known that Hibbing and Trimble would soon be laying water-mains, the poverty-stricken and unemployed residents of the village felt that relief was at hand, in work for the water company. But they were doomed to disappointment. The contract for the laying of the mains and erection of supply tank was placed with Fairbanks, Morse and Company, which company imported men to lay the water-mains on Pine Street and Third Avenue. As Mr. Connors described the happening, to Mr. Atkinson: A long, gimlet-eyed, red-headed, seven-foot gasbag named Hammer, from St. Paul, was brought in by the construction company to superintend the work.
Mr. Hammer ignored the Shackers by bringing his own crew of workmen along with him. Hammer was up against no less than a dozen physical encounters a day at the start, and he finally armed himself with a two-faced ax, for protection. However, the work was completed, and was the means of bringing some money to the famishing town.
First Bond Issue.-Arising out of the first franchise granted came the first bond issue. Ordinance No. 10, following resolution adopted by the village council on April 30, 1895, made provision for the issuance of bonds to the extent of $11,400, so that the village might purchase the water plant of the Hibbing Light and Water Company, for $9,700, and make certain extensions to the service at an expense of $1,700.
It was therefore not long before that valuable public utility became municipally owned, at little expense. As a matter of fact, Frank Hibbing had to all interests, loaned the village the sum necessary to establish the waterworks, having apparently never intended to hold the franchise for his personal profit.
Improvement in General Conditions.-Although the “Shackers” were disappointed because of their failure to get work on the waterworks contract, conditions soon began to improve, even though conditions were “dull” throughout the whole of 1894. Mr. Atkinson wrote: About this time (completion of the waterworks contract in 1894), Frank Hibbing advanced $3,000 to the country, for the purpose of building a road, from Hibbing to the Mahoning mine. That caused a decided flurry in the financial circles and every man boasted of the wave of prosperity that had at last struck the town. Of the construction of the Mahoning road we give the telling to Mr. Connor, who was there at the time: “There are not many of the old-timers who worked on that road now (1902) with us, although I can name a few: Thomas McMillan, J. J. Stuart, proprietor of the Hibbing Hotel; Dan Murphy, and myself. Poor old Trucky, who had a blacksmith shop at that time also worked on the road, and carried in five picks daily to :be sharpened at night, thus increasing his daily earnings to $2.00, which was 50 cents more than the rest of us made. I remember Peter McHardy, the lumber dealer, bemoaning his ill-luck, because he was laid up in bed with a fever, and could not get out to make $1.50 a day, by working on the road.” First Barber.-Hibbing was certainly improving, in general tone and prospects, and by the summer of 1894 a barber, A. C. McArthur, appeared in Hibbing, and resolved to stay. He established his shop at the spot where later stood the Crystal restaurant. He was followed by James Van Mere. Maurice Hosteller later “opened a shop in the 555Hotel Superior, and in a short time erected the building on Third Avenue” later occupied by John Orr and Company.
Some of the Original Happenings.-One of the most interesting “first” happenings, perhaps, was the tax levied, for all purposes, in the village of Hibbing for its first municipal year, 1893. The total assessed valuation of taxable property then was $31,318, and total tax was $963.03. One is able to get a quick appreciation of the enormous growth of Hibbing since that year by knowing the figures for recent years. The county “Tax Notice for the Year 1920,” shows that the taxable value of Hibbing property in 1919 was $84,603,682, upon which the total taxes for that year were $4,670,123, which is more than one-fifth of the total revenue of the county. Add the Stuntz township tax, $1,570,510, to that of Hibbing, and it is clear that Hibbing district yields more than one-fourth of the revenue of the whole county. And St. Louis county is by far the largest tax-payer in the state.
Interesting other first happenings are tabulated by Mr. Atkinson.
It appears that: To Mr. and Mrs. Edw. Champion belong the honor of being the parents of the first child born in Hibbing. The child was a boy, and was named Philip. He did not, however, live.
Mrs. York was the first woman to arrive in Hibbing; she afterwards ‘became Mrs. William Wills. (By the way, Joseph Moran claims that “Mrs.
Champion, wife of James Champion, engineer, was the first white woman to reach Hibbing; that she came in on horseback, and that it was hard to state which was horse and which was rider, the mud was so thick over them).
Mrs. Charles Gourdette was the first person who died in Hibbing.
There was no cemetery at that time, and the coffin was carried along a path connecting the embryo village with Leighton’s lumber camps, east of town.
In the woods, about forty rods off the trail, a cemetery was staked off, and the grave is yet (1902) to be seen at the east end of Superior street, Pillsbury.
The first man who died here was James Dixon; he was the father of Miss Jennie Dixon, of the telephone exchange.
The Hibbing News … was the first newspaper of Hibbing.
John Bergman, later a prosperous business man of Duluth, was a member of one of the early village boards of trustees, and when a motion to install an electric lighting plant came before the board, Mr. Bergman moved that the “lection lamps be placed under the table.” A motion to “adjoin” was then made and carried, D. C. Rood was the first resident physician and surgeon.
Hibbing’s first postmaster was John Murphy.
The first depot was a D. M. & N. box-car.
John E. Meehan was the first policeman.
J. Fred Twitchell was the first real-estate agent.
Murphy brothers had the first hardware store.
John Daigle had the first restaurant, and he “made considerable money,” The first religious service was conducted by Reverend Mevel, who found his way in here from Cloquet.
F. E. Doucher was the first lawyer.
The first drug store was established by J. H. Carlson and J. 0. Walker.
Carlson later was the head of the Carlson Mercantile Company, and Walker went to the county auditor’s office in Duluth.
The first man arrested in Hibbing was “Paddy, the Pig”; ‘he stole a ham from Grocer Gandsey, and hams were worth something in those days.
Ed Lehman was the first contractor and builder.
Mrs. Reynolds, now Mrs. Casey, was the first wash-woman. She made money later in real estate.
Malcolm Noble was the first miner injured in the district. A bucket fell fifty feet in the shaft at the Sellers mine, striking him on the head. The injury was a bad one, but Mr. Noble weathered it.
James Dillon was the first drayman. On his dray was a sign which read: “Pioneer Drayman.” James Dillon is reputed to have moved one Hibbing family six times in one year “on an advertising contract of $1.00 per.” He did well in business.
The first fire occurred on the morning of February 20, 1894, when the Coppinger Hotel was burned.
The pioneer ball in Hibbing- took place on January 24, was 1894. The party held in the “new bank building” now (1902) occupied ‘by W. J. Ryder’s furniture store. Tickets were placed on the market at $1.50 each, and it cut even the pioneer swells to dig up $1.50 in those days. But the dollar-fifties were forthcoming readily enough, when it was seen that there was no help for it, and everybody went. And everybody had a jolly time. The floor managers were J. F. Twitchell, G. G. Robinson, Dan McFadden, Mrs. J. J.
Stuart, and Miss Celia Gandsey.
The first banking institution started in Hibbing was the Bank of Hibbing, which later became the Lumbermen’s and Miners’ Bank.
Early Mails.-It seems that the mails came in over the trail from Mountain Iron in the early days before Hibbing was a railroad town.
There was no regular system of mail-carrying, but occasionally a young man would come through, and for the carrying would be paid “for the delivery of each letter.” First Post-Office.-The first post-office was established in the store of Murphy Brothers, said store having a tent for protection against wind, rain, and yeggs. The tent was on First Avenue, but before the winter came, the store and post-office were housed in a stronger shelter, a frame building on Pine Street.
Abundance of Game.-In the hard times of the first year, 1893, it indeed was fortunate for the “shackers” that there was an abundance of game to be had. R. F. Berdie was responsible for the statement that, at that time, “it was nothing unusual to step out and in a few minutes.kill, with a club, enough partridges to last a family a day or so.” Mr. Berdie also told “of a monster bull moose that he saw standing in the street, near where the office of the ‘Mesaba Ore’ was later located.” The Coming of the Railway.-Hibbing became a railroad station in the fall of 1893, even though the first depot was only “a D. M. & N.
box-car.” All depended on that vital transportation connection, and had it been a normal year, instead of one in which all industry was gasping-in all parts of the country-in an endeavor to recover from the stifling effects of the world-wide money shortage there would have been great rejoicing in Hibbing when the railway actually came.
There were many perplexing obstacles to overcome before the short spur of steel track, from Wolf Junction could reach Hibbing. Lack of money stopped the work for months, and with the financial difficulty overcome, in August, 1893, there was still an uncanny natural obstacle that for a time baffled the engineers. “Work was delayed considerably by a sink-hole just one mile east of the present depot.
The sink-hole was the most stubborn ever encountered in road-building in the Mesabi country. The track would be worked up to a level at night, and in the morning it would be ten feet below.” However, the obstacle was finally overcome, and “Jack Dorsey, landlord of the Cosmopolitan Hotel, drove the last spike that connected Hibbing with the outside world.” Hibbing Fire Department.-Hibbing organized a fire department in the summer of 1894. At the outset it was not much more than “a bucket brigade,” because funds with which equipment could be bought was not to be had. Frank Hibbing, to help on the village, had undertaken to bear the cost of putting in a water system, that being an urgent necessity for reasons of health. And he was approached for funds to establish the fire brigade, but could not handle that expense also, until an opportunity came, early in 1895, to acquire cheaply the fire-fighting apparatus of a decadent Mesabi place, the village of Merritt, near Biwabik. Hose cart and hose were purchased, and to receive it a pole and tackle was erected at the corner of Pine and Vol. 11-4Second avenue. On the morning of July 4th, 1895, the pole was struck by lightning, “and shattered to its very foundations.” R. F. Berdie was the first fire chief, and had part thus in the beginning of a municipal department of which -Hibbing is most proud. In i920, the total valuation of the Hibbing fire equipment, not including the water system, hydrants and real estate, but merely the legitimate firefighting equipment, was $165,449.90. Cut off the 165 and you probably have the maximum figure paid to the village of Merritt for the original second-hand equipment.
Hibbing in 1895.-One writer, who visited Hibbing for the first time in 1895, described the place as follows: In those days Hibbing lacked much of being a “right smart place.” … It was only a step from hotel to swamp, muskeag, or an outcrop of rock. Many of those steps, too, had to be taken over a couple of planks, instead of a cement sidewalk. Archie Chisholm was cashier in a dinky little bank, limited in personal purse, but with a soul rich in hope. W. P. Mars, now an official in a wholesale hardware firm of international importance, then conducted a retail hardware here and did much of the heavy work with his own hands. On that visit I met John A. Redfern. It was a warm sunny day and he was setting a new boiler at the Penobscot mine, garbed in a red undershirt that harmonized with his perspiring face and his rather vivid head of hair.
In those days, Hibbing certainly was an ugly duckling. The U. S.
Steel Corporation had not yet been organized, and Victor L. Power was wearing knee trousers, playing hookey, and thinking over whether he had better ‘be a sailor or a soldier.
Notwithstanding appearances, conditions were brightening for Hibbing in 1895. Atkinson writes: The coming of the summer of 1895 brought brighter prospects with it.
The D. M. & N., which had established its depot building at what was then the south end of Third avenue, and did considerable track-laying, which gave needed employment to the people. The Lake Superior Consolidated Iron Mines … began preparation to open several mines, and that gave the future a brighter tint than it ever had before. Property along Pine street ‘began to come up a little, and lots advanced in price from almost nothing to $300, in some instances. The Itasca Mercantile Company purchased the lots it now (1902) occupies, at the corner of Pine street and Third avenue, from Ole Hagerson, paying $750 therefor. The same lots cannot be had today (1902) for twenty ttimes that sum. The year 1895 saw the opening of several iron mines, and the town began to grow.
The City Hall was erected in 1895, and the village became a place of dignity when in the winter of 1895-96 Frank Hibbing so far showed his confidence in the future of Hibbing as to build “the first hotel of first-class character erected on the range.” The Opening of the Hotel Hibbing.-The Hotel Hibbing was opened on February 22, 1896, and “it was an event that interested the people of the entire range.” Atkinson writes: The Hotel Hibbing was opened with a grand ball on Saturday, February 22, 1896. Excursion trains were run from Duluth and all of the range towns and our good neighbors drove across country from Grand Rapids to join in the festivities. The reception committee was: F. Brady, F. H. Dear, Frank Hibbing, P. F. Eagan, James Gandsey, Garry Graham, W. L. Honnold, M. H. Godfrey, James Geary, J. B. Beethold, A. M. Chisholm, Dr. D. C.
Rood, C. H. Munger, Dr. G. N. Burchart, P. Mitchell, and Dr. M. H. Manson.
The floor committee of the memorable ball was Wm. H. Wright, D.
McEachin, F. E. Halbert, A. H. Sicard, C. F. Siheldon, W. L. Selden, and Thomas J. Godfrey.
The Hibbing, until quite recently, when it became necessary to remove the lower end of town to the new townsite at South Hibbing, was the more exclusive of the two leading hotels of Hibbing. But it, and the other hotel, the Oliver, would, in any event, be hope- 558559 lessly outclassed by the four-story fire-proof structure that was process in of erection in the fall of 1920 at South, or new, Hibbing. The Androy Hotel, a palatial hostelry of 162 rooms and 100 baths, prom- ises to excell all hotels in the county, even including the Spaulding of Duluth.
However, such a structure was not even the subject of the craziest dream of eventhe most optimistic Hibbingite, of the ’90s.
Hibbing for Long Literally a Mining Village.-As a matter of fact, Hibbing for very many years was a mining village, a place wherein mining was supreme, and where all other considerations were secondary.
Hemmed in as she was by mines on three sides of her, and actually not owning the ground upon which she stood, her position, as a municipality, and as a place of homes, was not an enviable one.
The attitude of the mining company was that the people were there because of the mines; which of course was true. They argued, or thought, that the people without the mines, without the employment the mines gave and the money the mines circulated, would starve; consequently, the comfort and interests of the people must be subordinate or secondary to the interests of the mining companies. And when it became necessary to blast, for instance, within dangerous proximity to the home of the people, the people must make the best they could of such conditions, which were unavoidable. One writer, who may have been perhaps, somewhat too graphic in his description, pictured the condition in the following words: You sit with your little family around the table, partaking of the humble repast your daily pittance allows you. Suddenly a mighty roar and blast shakes everything in view, and a few seconds later there comes crashing through your roof, or windows, the upheaved rocks and debris, endangering your lives and the lives of your loved ones. Picture the condition as a daily occurrence. Likewise imagine yourself walking upon the public streets of a town and then be suddenly forced to flee for safety into shelter, from similar causes.
Put yourself in the place of a merchant, having erected a suitable build- ing for your use, to wake some day to see the yawning abyss right at your door, witih the hungry maws of the steam shovel tearing away at your streets. And this is just what happened here.
Such a condition has been duplicated, in respect to caving, in quite recent years in the great city of Scranton, Pennsylvania, where cavings have dropped buildings, or parts of buildings, without warning, 20, 30 or 40 feet into the bowels of the earth. But at any time in early, or in modern, times such a state of things is deplorable. It held Hibbing down for many years, just as similar conditions in Scranton, Pennsylvania, resulted in an increase of only 3 per cent in its population during the last decade. However, most wrongs are righted eventually. Unreasonable conditions cannot prevail for long.
But the righting of Hibbing’s wrong came by an unusual sequence of events. The condition at Hibbing in its early years, and the ultimate remedy were referred to in the “St. Paul Despatch,” of May 29, 1918, thus: In the early days, open-pit mining encroached upon the town of Hibbing from all sides, and the clatter and roar of the steam shovels and the blast of explosives filled the air day and night. The din resembled at all hours a miniature battle of the Aisne.
With each and every blast, the rocks and shale had a most unpleasant way of coming down through one’s roof, or giving one a sudden attack of heart failure, by falling in one’s immediate neighborhood. Hiblbing was being literally ‘blasted off the map. But nobody complained. It was’ expected as a matter of course-an hourly occurrence. It was Iron, and Hibbing was iron. The iron and the blasting went hand in hand, and there could be no complaint.
But Fate had written that things were to change. Down of Sellers’ near the edge open-pit mine lived a Swede named Iver Lind. Lind owned a span of Kentucky mules. These animals, lean and angular, powerful and stubborn, were Lind’s choicest possession. Long ago they had b’ecome ac- customed to the din of the dynamite and the steam shovel.
One morning Lind was harnessing his mules, preparatory to starting his day’s labors. Half harnessed they were, and Lind was sweating and swearing over their stubbornness, congratulating himself, withal, upon owning such a perfect span when, suddenly the whistle in the Sellers’ mine blew a warning note.
A blast was due. It was too late for either Iver or his mules to get to shelter.
Bang. The blast tore loose. It sent a barrage of stones and gravel high in the air. … One of the descending rocks struck one of Lind’s mules.
This was something to which the mule had never become accustomed. With a kick and a bray he ‘broke loose. The bray filled the air, while the kick found lodgment in Lind’s anatomy.
Iver rose full of wrath. First, the mules and then the mining company was to feel the weight of his anger. Into the barn, with accompanying blows and curses, went the mules. To the office of power went Iver.
At once the Swede wanted to start injunction proceedings against the Sellers’ Mining Company. T!he ensuing action affected only Lind’s property, but its results were far-reaching.
It started a legal battle in Hibbing which extended over several years, and attracted and aroused the interest of the entire country.
Here are some of the results of the suit, and the resultant injunction
a. It cost the mining companies several million dollars, they now admit.
b. It paved every street in Hibbing.
c. Likewise, in every street it installed a white-way.
d. It woke the people of Hibbing up with a start.
e. It brought them a clearer realization of a number of problems affecting their welfare than they ever had before.
f. It roused the Hibbing spirit, and that sustained the people of Hib- bing through one of the most trying periods in the history of the town.
g. It put thousands of dollars into the pockets of the people, who now are disposing of their holdings on the “north forty.” It is the best thing all round, that ever happened to Hibbing, and everybody realizes it now.
And so, with an injunction growing out of a kick of a mule, peace, comparative quiet, and much prosperity, came to Hibbing.
The Outstanding Figure.-The outstanding figure in this period of Hibbing’s history, this period of evolution-it has been called revolution-undoubtedly was Victor L. Power, “who worked his way through the mines as a blacksmith” and thus knew mining conditions almost as well as he knew Blackstone and state law, when he took up the legal fight for the people of Hibbing against the mining companies.
He has been termed: “Hibbing’s Fighting Mayor,” and again: “Little Giant of the North,” and in the years of litigation, so strenuously prosecuted by the mining companies until they came to the realization that human rights, the right of life and limb, are preeminent, Attorney Power demonstrated his ability at the legal bar.
He has many enemies-that much may be inferred; every forceful successful man is envied; indeed, the man who never made enemies, never did anything worth envying-but Victor Power is undoubtedly the outstanding figure in the municipal history of Hibbing, and Hibbing has been wonderfully transformed since he became mayor, in 1913. Quoting from a campaign statement recently issued by the “Power Administration,” it appears that extraordinary development has come to Hibbing since 1913. The statement reads, in part: Victor L. Power’s first service as a village official began in March, 1912. At that time Hibbing was a ragged village of only 8,250 souls. Today, the population has incerased to 15,082.
560When the so-called “Little Giant of the North” first became president of the Village of Hibbing, there were only one and a half miles of pavement; today there are fifteen miles. In addition, there are twenty-six miles of graded and gravelled streets. In 1912 there were not more than seven miles of concrete sidewalks; today there are twenty-two miles. Then full account must be taken of forty miles of water mains and sanitary and storm sewers.
… a beautiful park system has been developed. First came Mesaba Park, in the very heart of the village, with greenhouse, grassy lawns, shrubbery, flowers, rustic seats and a bandstand. It was a small, but very attractive, breathing place. … Tihen came Bennett Park, 61 acres in area and developed at a cost of $300,000, as artistic as anything ancient Greece ever possessed … neat fences, … driveways, … bandstand, … White-way, … conservatory, … refectory, a swimming and wading pool for children, apparatus … for children’s games, and fifteen out-of-door picnic stoves for the use of picnic parties. Athletic Park, embracing 20 acres, improved at a cost of $20,000 … for baseball, basket ball, … a warming house for winter skating, and other features. … … a public library building that cost $250,000. * * … a complete new water system, at a cost of $750,000.
An up-to-date electric power and municipal heating plant … the admiration of engineers of international fame; its cost was $1,300,000. A municipal gas plant … $289,000; and a city incinerator, cost $55,000.
… a detention hospital, finished in 1920, at a cost of $35,000. … … a newer, bigger, and carefully-planned town (on the new townsite) Soutih Hibbing.
The most recent aim of the Power administration is to bring into operation a city form of government, which “will bring in much outlying territory, and make a city of about twenty square miles.” Certainly, the advance of Hibbing during the years of the Power administration has been rapid. And, fundamentally, Victor L. Power seems to be obsessed by the desire to institute public improvements which will bring to the realization of the alien people who have been attracted to the district by the opportunity of work (which it must be admitted is lucrative) in the mines, that their lot in America is not merely a day of toil and a night of domestic squalor. The wonderful schools of Hibbing and other range places, and the parks, libraries, and suchlike provisions have their effect. Hibbing is no longer a “mining camp”; it is a metropolitan, cosmopolitan city, in which the horny-handed miner may, and does, hold his head high, and provide for his family a typical American home. Hibbing has changed. Not many years ago “Hibbing, as a town, looked little better than some of the mere mining camps, ramshackle and tough in exterior, and with housing conditions of a kind that put the blush of shame on the slums of our biggest cities.” Today Hibbing is an object lesson in what is possible in “the Melting-Pot of the World.” Of course, all the credit is not due to the Power administration; the mining companies are deserving of part. Without the co-operation of the mining companies, such advancement would be impossible, and it will probably be admitted that they have gone “more than half-way” in recent years-since they reached the point where they appreciated that the mining company did not have supreme jurisdiction over all the affairs of the miner that life and limb have right of place even before the vital interests of great industrial enterprises.
New Hibbing is a convincing demonstration of the good that comes by union of classes, by co-operation of employer and employee. All prosper; and accomplish marvels.
There is little more space available, so the remaining historical records must be briefly stated.
Annexations and Additions.-The Pillsbury addition was the first made to the boundaries of the village of Hibbing; that comprised forty acres, adjoining the original townsite on the south. It was platted in 1896. In 1902 another forty acres, known as the Southern addition, was brought within village limits; it lies next south to the Pillsbury addition. In 1910, Hibbing sought to annex the townsite of Brooklyn, and election was held on April 19, 1910. Brooklyn was added to the village, and Ansley’s addition came in 1916. Alice came into the village in 1913, including Koskiville and Sunnyside, and on September 13, 1919, the se. qr. of ne. qr. of 57-21, adjoining Alice came in to provide the site for New Hibbing, where the other additions known as Central, Sargent and Eastern additions, belong to the Oliver Iron Mining Company.
Village Hall.-The first city hall was built in 1895. It was replaced in 1909 by an imposing block of pressed brick, with Bedford stone trimmings, the three-story structure costing $135,000 and providing quarters for all municipal departments. New quarters, it seems, is to be provided in the new Hibbing.
Public Library.-In 1907 Andrew Carnegie was approached and promised to donate $25,000 toward the cost of establishing a public library. The building was constructed, and opened in 1908. Its cost, including site, was $35,000. Improvements since made, in 1917, at a cost of $100,000, give Hibbing a public library better than any other on the ranges. The library had about 23,000 volumes to open its circulation with. In 1920, it had 8,414 active borrowers, and the circulation for the year was 171,032 books.
The original librarion was Miss Margaret Palmer, who came to be recognized as the “Dean of the Range Librarians.” Latterly, Miss Dorothy Huilbert has had charge of Hibbing library. Mainly through the initiative of Captain Wm. H. McCormack, Hibbing soon established a unique library service. Its “traveling library,” a circulation of books in outlying locations by means of a bus, was instituted in 1910, ard has been the subject of many magazine articles since that time. The service is a praiseworthy and appreciated one. Miss Charlotte Clark is the “traveling librarian,” and the bus serves 25 mining locations in an area of 160 miles. A gong announces the arrival of the “Traveling Library,” and it is heard in each location once a week, summer and winter. Hibbing also has two branch libraries.
Oliver Club.-The Oliver clubhouse was an appreciated community service . It was built by the Oliver Mining Company, at an expense of $20,000, for the use of its employees, and their friends, and was equipped with many of the conveniences of a modern city clubhouse.
Banking History.-The first bank organized and established in Hibbing was the Bank of Hibbing. It was merged into the Lumbermens and Miners Bank, in 1894, A. M. Chisholm being the first cashier of the latter bank. A bank known as the Security was founded in the nineties, and conducted business for some time, but was absorbed by the Lumbermen’s and Miners’, which remained a private banking house, owned by A. D. Davidson, A. D. McRae and A. M. Chisholm. In 1901 the First National Bank of Hibbing was organized, to succeed the Lumbermen’s and Miners’. Its original capital was $25,000, but it subsequently was increased to $50,000, and it now has a surplus of more than $60,000. The original officers of the First National were: A. D. Davidson, president; A. D. McRae, vice: F. S. R. Kirbv, cashier. The present officers are: S. R. Kirby, president; Dr. D. C. Rood and Pentecost Mitchell, vice presidents; 563Lewis C. Newcomb, cashier; L. O. Kirby, John A. Redfern, and R. L. Griggs, directors.
The Merchants and Miners State Bank was incorporated on December 31, 1903, and opened for business on February 1, 1904. Its original capital was $25,000, and its first officers were: J. F. Killorin, president; A. M. Chisholm, vice president; L. G. Sicard, cashier. It prospered, and on September 1, 1909, increased its capital to $50,000.
Since 1916, Gust. Carlson has been president, and the present vice presidents are G. L. Train and B. M. Conklin. The succession of cashiers of the institution is as follows: L. G. Sicard, A. W. O’Hearn, J. L. Lewis and A. L. Egge, present cashier. The business of the bank is, it is stated, about five times more than it was in 1904.
The Security State Bank of Hibbing was organized on February 9, 1911. Its original capital was $25,000, and its first officers: Hans C. Hansen, president; H. P. Reed, vice president; W. R. Spenceley, cashier. Mr. Hansen did not qualify and C. A. Remington was elected as the “first acting president.” The capital of the institution has never changed; the only change in official roster was the election of H. C. Hansen, as president, in 1919, and the addition of Emil Salminen, as assistant cashier. Deposits are near $800,000, and there is now a surplus of $5,000.
There is now a fourth bank, the Hibbing State Bank, which was organized on November 10, 1919, and serves the people of South Hibbing. First officers were: H. P. Reed, president; W. J. Ryder, vice president; E. G. Hoskins, cashier. The capital is $25,000 with surplus of $5,000.
Hospitals.-Hibbing has three hospitals. The first to be established was the Rood. Dr. D. C. Rood came to Hibbing in 1893-94, and soon established his hospital which served the village and the mining companies. In 1898 Dr. H. R. Weirick came to Hibbing, and ever since has associated with Dr. Rood in the hospital service. In 1920, the new Rood Hospital at South Hibbing was completed at a cost of $350,000. It is by far the finest hospital on the range, and the same two physicians, Drs. Rood and Weirick, head the medical staff.
They have had enviable part in the development of the community, also during the last 20-25 years.
The Adams Hospital was first opened in June, 1902, by Dr.
B. S. Adams, and provided accommodation for fifteen patients. The hospital has developed considerably since that time.
Hibbing in addition has a detention hospital owned by the municipality. It was completed in 1920, at a cost of $35,000, and “is the only hospital in St. Louis county, if not in all Minnesota, that has a receiving ward for tubercular patients.” Churches.-The pioneer church activity has already been referred to. The first church services, it appears, were held in Murphy Brothers’ store. The religious meetings were of union character.
There are ten or more strong church societies in Hibbing today, all with church buildings, the largest being the Methodist Episcopal.
‘The Catholic church was early active in the pioneer village.
Fathers Joseph F. Buh and Mathias Bilban were the early attending priests, being in the village in 1894. The first mass was offered up on January 27, 1895, by Rev. C. V. Gamache, and for the next three years mass was held in the city hall. The first Roman Catholic church was built in 1897, but not completed until 1900, the first resident pastor being Rev. C. V. Gamache. Unfortunately space in which to enter into details of church history is not available. The Church of the Blessed Sacrament, the oldest Catholic church of 564Hibbing, has the largest membership of any church society of the village. Rev. James Hogan has been pastor since 1911. The Church of the Immaculate Conception, of which Catholic church Rev. Raphael Annechiarico is pastor, is attended by Italians and Southern Europeans, generally.
The Presbyterian church has one of the strong memberships of Hibbing churches. Present pastor is Robert von Thurn.
The Episcopal church maintains its dignity and service, and its church building adds to the beauty of modern Hibbing. Present pastor is R. A. Cowling.
The Grace Lutheran has a substantial church at South Hibbing.
Pastor is Rev. Walter Melahn.
The First Methodist Episcopal church, the largest in Hibbing, is on Sellers Street, and has a very strong membership. The Methodist church society dates back, in Hibbing history, to the early years of pioneer struggle. Present pastor is H. WV. Bell.
The Swedish Methodist Episcopal church has a strong membership.
Its present pastor is Rev. C. M. Carlson.
The Immanuel Swedish Lutheran is in charge of Rev. G. P. Williams; and Our Saviour’s Lutheran, at South Hibbing, is the pastorate of A. E. Baalson. There are also two Finnish Lutheran churches, which together have a larger membership than any other Hibbing society. There is also a Norwegian Lutheran.
Then there is the Union church, at Alice, the Christian Science church, and the Jewish Synagogue. Certainly, in church attendance, and religious observance, Hibbing has long since passed out of the category of a “mining camp.” She has, of course, in all things, and there are just as many devout men in Hibbing as in the average eastern city of like size. Possibly the people of Hibbing are even more liberal and loyal in the support of its church societies than is the general experience in other places.
The New Power Plant.-Hibbing has a “million-dollar” power plant. The magnificent plant built in 1919-20 at new Hibbing was estimated to cost $900,000. It was decided upon in 1918, when it became evident that the original site of Hibbing would be needed soon for mining purposes. In any case, a plant would have soon been necessary, the existing plant having become inadequate. So it was decided to build “for the future,” in new Hibbing. Contract was awarded in April, 1919, and the plant completed in September, 1920.
Technical description cannot here be given, but it should be stated that the completed plant as it stands is a credit to its designer, Charles Foster, who is general superintendent of the Hibbing Water and Light Department, and supervised the construction. There is not a finer municipal power plant in St. Louis County, it is claimed.
Parks.-Conrad B. Wolf became superintendent of parks in 1913, the year in which Victor L. Power became mayor for the first time.
Both made themselves evident by accomplishment of great things.
Wolf has had all he has asked the village administration for, and has had the hearty co-operation of the mining companies in his plans of city betterment, and so has been able to establish a system of parks that must be an inspiration and a pleasure to the people of the place.
The parks have been elsewhere referred to herein, but tribute must be paid to the planner. By his work in Hibbing, Mr. Wolf has come into good repute throughout the country among park superintendents, and landscape architects in general. His task was an exceptionally difficult one, owing to the severity of the climate, but he has brought 565color, fragrance and beauty to the village, and pleasure to the children.
The people of Hibbing should get good return for all the money invested in the park system.
Commercial Club.-Hibbing is fortunate in having an unusually alert business body. The Commercial Club is making Hibbing very evident in other parts of the state, and neighboring states. Its energetic secretary, S. V. Saxby, has the hearty co-operation of almost all the business people of the place, and especially of the officials of the association. The officials of the Commercial Club are: R. \. Hitchcock, president; C. C. Alexander, E. A. Bergeron, E. W. Coons and John Curran, vice presidents; S. V. Saxby, secretary; A. L. Egge, treasurer; C. C. Alexander, E. C. Eckstrom, C. V. Chance, S. C. Scott, O. G. Lindberg, F A. Wildes and G. H. Alexander, directors.
D’S-EYE VIEW OF BENNETT PARK, HIBBING, 1915-AFTER FIRST YEAR OF W( UPON IT Newspapers.-The Hibbing “News” was established in 1899, as a Hibbing paper, although as a range newspaper its age can be increased five years, for it was in the spring of 1894 that C. A. Smith issued his first number of “The Ore,” at Mountain Iron. It was intended to cover the whole of the range, and at that time Mountain Iron was, perhaps, the most important place. But with the great development of mines at Hibbing the center of activity changed, and in 1899 the owners of the “Ore” decided to move their office to Hibbing. There the paper became “The Mesabi Ore and Hibbing Daily News,” and so it remained until 1920, when it became a daily, a successful morning paper, the only morning paper of the range, by-the-way, and in consequence enjoying a good circulation throughout the range. Claude M. Atkinson, a gifted and original writer, acquired the paper in May, 1899, and with his son, Marc M., has conducted it ever since.
Another early paper was the Hibbing “Sentinel,” Will A. Thomas, editor and proprietor. The paper was in existence in 1899, the “Sen- BIRI )RK 566tinel” plant having been “hauled overland from La Prairie by Wm.
McGrath. Publication of the “Sentinel” was discontinued in the fall of 1899, but resumed in July, 1902.
The “Tribune,” which of late years has been an evening journal, was founded in June, 1899, and in the early years was a weekly publication.
It was originally owned, it has been stated, “by a stock company, whose manager was J. Waldo Murphy.” Another record is to the effect that in 1902 the plant was owned by H. C. Garrott, of Eveleth, and that the editor then was Theodore C. Surdson. Early identified with it as partners were T. C. Congdon, druggist of Hibbing, and F. G. Jewett, pioneer dentist of the village. A. E. Pfremmer was the sole owner of the paper in 1906, when R. W. Hitchcock, present editor-owner, acquired a part-interest in the journal. With the retirement of Pfremmer in 1910 Mr. Hitchcock became sole owner. The “Hibbing Daily Tribune” has a good circulation, and covers the afternoon field well.
Another local paper of merit established recently is the “Gopher Labor Journal,” a weekly, founded by W. T. and C. J. Lauzon, at South Hibbing in 1919. W. T. Lauzon became sole owner in March, 1920, Sandford A. Howard, an experienced newspaper man, coming to Hibbing to assume editorial direction of the paper. Recently from the Gopher Printing House came a well-written and elaborately-illustrated booklet on Hibbing, “The Old and the New.” Transportation.-Hibbing has two railroads, and a wonderfully efficient motor-bus service along the range. And in addition, an electric trolley system that brings all the important places of the range within an hour of Hibbing. The’ motor-bus service, owned by the Mesabi Transportation Company, is an instance of how rapidly worth-while things are developed in that country. The Mesabi Transportation Company was organized on January 1, 1916, to operate a line of motor buses between Hibbing and Grand Rapids. At the outset, the company had five busses, the officers of the company being the drivers. In 1920 they were building a $75,000 garage at South Hibbing to house its twenty-three White and Studebaker buses; and they were averaging seven thousand passengers daily, and maintaining a service “as regular and reliable as a good clock.” The officers of the company are: C. A. Heed, president; C. E. Wickman, vice president and manager; E. C. Ekstrom, secretary; A. G. Anderson, treasurer, and R. L. Bogan, director.
Court House.-The magnificent District Court House at Hibbing is one of the finest buildings, probably the finest, in old Hibbing; and it is far enough away from the point of mining to be sure of its present site for many years. It was built in 1911, so as to give to the western part of the Mesabi range within St. Louis county a service equal to that established in Virginia, for that part of the range, in 1910.
Hibbing ere long hopes to have a Federal building.
War Record.-Hibbing’s war record was a meritorious one. Its young men went into the fighting forces, as has been recorded elsewhere; its women formed a powerful Red Cross chapter; its miners put even more “steam” into their work; and its people, rich and poor, combined to give to the limit of their means to the various war funds.
If the Lake Superior district represents 8-lOths of America’s ore supply, and the Mesabi produces more than all the other ranges combined, then Hibbing’s part in the providing of the raw material with which to make the shells and the ships was by no means insignificant, when one realizes that from one alone of Hibbing’s open-pits, the Mahoning-Hull-Rust, came about 9,000,000 tons of the 40,0000,000 tons won for the world and the allies from the Mesabi Range in 1917.
Moving of the Village.-While it is erroneous to state that Hibbing as a whole is being removed, it is proper to assert that all buildings on the original townsite will have to be removed. The removal will be undertaken gradually, and even when completed, about twothirds of what is known as the “old town” will remain undisturbed, the Pillsbury and another “forty” not being needed by the mining company.
The Minneapolis Daily Tribune, of May, 1920, stated: For twenty years it has been common knowledge to the townspeople that the ore body in the east, west, and north sides of the original townsite of Hiblbing extended under the principal business section. … For the last ten years the most densely populated district of Hibbing has been surrounded by open pits, making it impossible for the town to expand.
The northerly extremity extends out thumb-like and somewhat like a plateau, some of its buildings ‘being perched on the edge of a wild gorge, hewn deep into the earth. Since the original townsite was laid out, the mines have steadily encroached on it, the Sellers’ from the north and east, and the Rust from the west.
The Oliver Company … had already acquired the right to the minerals under part of the town by lease, in 1899, and two years ago began to buy the surface rights. It paid $2,500,000 for them, and today owns the majority of the lots and ‘buildings in an area of more than eight city blocks.
After these purchases were made, it became necessary to acquire a new location for that part of the town that had to be transplanted. One mile away was the Central Addition, owned by the mining company, and here is to be the “New Hibbing.” The first buildings moved from the original townsite to the new addition, in September, 1918. All frame buildings in good condition have been transferred. … The moving of the buildings had to be done by steam log haulers and tanks (traction engines) of the caterpiller type.
The Central Addition is growing very rapidly. Since last September sixty-two buildings, dwellings, and three store buildings have been moved onto the site, and twenty-four new buildings have been built. … … Within another year, the mining company officials say, there will hbe little left of what was the original business section of Hibbing.
Recently fifteen persons residing in the southern end of the business and residential district, the Pillsbury and Southern Additions, and in the township of Stuntz, just outside the village, began an action against the Oliver Company, the Town of Hibbing, and the Mesa’ba Electric Railway Company, to enjoin the town from disposing of its property in the original townsite, enjoining the vacation of streets, enjoining the railways company from removing its tracks, and enjoining the Oliver Company from doing certain things which would permit the mining of the northerly forty acres.
They suggested that the Oliver Company purchase their property, but it has no interest in the ore underlying the Pillsbury or Southern Additions.
The application for a temporary injunction was argued Novem’ber 28 and 29, and was taken under advisement.
An issue of the “St. Paul Dispatch,” that of September 8, 1920, stated that $20,000,000 was being expended in the removal of the town and the building of the new. Other estimates place it at $18,- 000,000. And the “Hibbing Daily News,” of July 4, 1920, thus tabulated the cost incurred in removal and new construction: New business buildings ………………………….. $3,000,000 New hotel and hospital …………………………… 1,000,000 New power and theating plant …………………….. 1,000,000 New homes, already constructed or under construction 1,000,000 New school buildings …………………………… 2,600,000 Water and sewer mains ………………………….. 650,000 Street grading ………………………………… 450,000 Recreational building ……………………….. 750,000 City hall ………………………………………. 500,000Depot and railway improvements ………… $ 500,000 Vvarehouses ………… ………………….
New homes and apartments to be built by the Oliver Company for its employes.. …….. …………… 1,800,000 Office buildings, Sargent Land Company, and Meridan Iron Company ……… ………………….. Interurban .. 500,000 line improvements ………. …… .. .. 100,000 County Fair Grounds 250,000 Municipal Athletic Park ………….. 25,000 Additional boulevarding …….. ……… . .. 50,000 Other civic improvements .250………………..2,50000 $16,950,000 which is quite a “big construction bill for a little village of fifteen thousand.” It would be “big” in other places than Hibbing, where dimensions, no matter how “big,” bring no surprise to men who know Hibbing’s history. Hibbing started “big,” and always will be.
Schools.-The biggest, most astounding, feature of Hibbing is its schools. The new high school at South Hibbing, the cost of which is expected to pass $2,000,000 will, probably, be the finest high school in the state, indeed in many states, because not many public school districts have the means with which to provide such a costly school.
There is no doubt that educators of eastern parts of the country would look with amazement at the range schools, if they paid a visit to this part of the country. And they would look with envious amazement at the salaries drawn by the teaching staff of a range school. The superintendent of Hibbing District receives a higher salary than any other public school superintendent in the state, it has been stated.
Hibbing’s school history begins with the first school session, held in the pioneer village in 1893, when Miss Annie McCarthy had the use of the upper floor of J. H. Carlson’s store building, on Pine street.
In 1894, the first school building was built, and at the time it was thought that they were planning well ahead of requirements in building a four-roomed schoolhouse. But the building problem has always been a serious one in Hibbing, where the enrollment outgrows the schools almost before they are ready for occupation. “A building that was thought to be ample for several years’ growth would be filled to overflowing almost before it was fully completed.” The following grade buildings have been erected within the last nine years: A twenty-room building, costing, with equipment, $150,000; four fourroom buildings, costing $20,000 each; one eight-room brick building, costing $40,000; two four-room frame buildings, built on leased sites … at a cost of $18,000 each; two two-room frame buildings, costing $15,000 each, and five one-room buildings. In addition, there is the large Central high school building, the Lincoln, built in 1912, at a cost of $350,000. But notwithstanding this costly building program, there was serious overcrowding in some of the Hibbing schools in 1920. In South Hibbing fourteen classes were held in store buildings, and the kindergarten in the fire hall. In the main school it was found necessary to take the enrollment in sections, and to use the basement rooms.
Relief will come with the completion of the present building program, which includes a large school and the $2,000,000, or $2,600,- 000 high school and junior college. Hibbing, by the way, has the third-largest junior college west of the Alleghenies and east of the Rockies. The high school growth has been from 73 to 650.
The enrollment for the Hibbing district in 1893, perhaps, reached the tens, but did not get far into it; the enrollment for the schoolyear 1919-20 was 4,080. The teaching staff grew from one, in 1893, 570to 181, in 1919-20, ninety of the latter being graduates of college or university. Average salary to male teachers in that year was $244; to female teachers, $152. School property then included sixteen frame school houses, and six of brick, the whole valued, in county statistics, at $1,127,501. In addition there is an enrollment of more than 500 in the parochial schools. The school district has an assessed valuation of $135,000,000, and therefore can always command the funds needed for its proper administration. The school tax for the year 1919-20, in the Hibbing school district was $1,129,915.96, and for the year 1920-21 the tax will be more than $1,400,000.
Mr. C. E. Everett, of the Hibbing school board, in his remarks before the graduating class of 1920, on June 17, 1920, gave an interesting and concise review of educational progress in the district. In part, he said: The Hibbing School District, legally called Independent School District No. 27, of St. Louis County, covers six townships and eight sections of another. It is twenty-four miles long at its extreme length, and twelve miles wide at its widest point. It consists of such locations as Stevenson, Carson Lake, Kelly Lake, Kitzville, Mahoning, Pool, Webb, and Addition of Alice, and Brooklyn, besides the City of Hibbing. It was organized in 1898 as a common school district, and in 1908 as an independent district. It comprises 224 square miles.
There are seventeen location schools, having … from one to ten rooms. Two school buildings are under construction at the present time, the grade school, Cobl-Cook building, consisting of twelve rooms, and one High school and Junior college.
Buildings, however, do not make a school, and Hibbing is noted for its corps of instructors. Grade teachers with the same qualifications are paid the same salary as High school teachers. Many of our grade teachers are university, as well as normal, graduates. We believe in obtaining the best possible qualified teachers for every department of our schools.
Every student, beginning with the fourth grade, is taught some form of manual training, cooking and sewing, physiology, hygiene, and civil government have been included in the curriculum for next year, beginning with the seventh grade.
Twelve hundred and fifty children are transported each day into the town schools. The location schools offer work through the third grade.
Above the third grade, the pupils are transported to town schools. where they enter departmental work. Departmental work gives each pupil an opportunity to have a special instructor to each subject. The sixty-minute, or hour plan is used. The first thirty minutes is used for recitation, the second thirty minutes for supervised study. Pupils are put in classes according to the mentality of the child, so that each child may get character and pace work which he is able to do.
Pupils who are transported into the town schools have the privilege of using the soup kitchen, feeding 250 a day free of charge, or cafeteria for hot lunches at cost price of food materials.
The school has one teacher giving her entire time to working in the homes of the non-English-speaking people, doing Americanization work. The health of the school children is not neglected. Two nurses give their entire time working with school children, and one doctor has, in the past. The board recently hired a dentist to give his full time to school work.
The members of the Hibbing school board, the Independent School District No. 27 of St. Louis County, in 1920, were: C. E.
Everett, Hibbing, clerk; Frank Andley, treasurer; T. J. Godfrey, chairman; Dr. F. W. Bullen, W. F. Kohagan, R. Ray Kreis, directors; C. C. Alexander, superintendent. The last named is recognized as one of the most capable educators of the state, and the Hibbing system has been described as “Out-Garying (the famous) Gary.” And the certainty is a good field in the Hibbing district for the fullest and most capable work of the most able educators. In Hibbing school last year thirty-nine nationalities were represented, Americans predominated of course, but attending school were: 759 children of Swedish origin, 393 Clovanian, 257 Servian, 200 Norwegian, 933 Italian, 186 German, 320 French, 918 Finnish, 256 Croatian, 417 Austrian, and smaller numbers of other nationalities. In very many cases, the children acquire American ways and speech before their parents. .In many cases, the children go to school by day, and the parents are just as enthusiastic students by night, and while the parents are in school the school administration sees that their children are cared for in the home. It is a very enlightened system, producing good results for the town and nation. There was an enrollment of 572more than 600 adults for the night-school sessions in the Hibbing district in 1920.
Population.-Hibbing, on June 6, 1893, had a population of 326; in 1900 the federal census figures for Hibbing were 2,481; in 1910, 8,832; in 1920, 15,089. It has passed all the communities of the range territory.
Mayoral Succession.-The presidents of the Village of Hibbing from the beginning have been: J. F. Twitchell, 1893; J. F. Twitchell, and James Gandsey, 1894; James Gandsey, 1895; R. L. Griffin, 1896; J. A. McIntyre, 1897; A. N. Sicard and E. J. Longyear, 1898; T.
Waldo Murphy; 1899; James Gandsey, 1900; John A. Redfern, 1901; W. J. Power, 1902; Frank H. Dear, 1903; W. J. Power, 1904; Peter McHardy, 1905; Frank Ansley, 1906; H. R. Weirick, 1907-12, and Victor L. Power, from 1913 to the present.
Now the historical review must close. Enough has been written to indicate that Hibbing has had a great past, and promises to have a great future. Its citizens have the spirit to keep it ever moving forward; and they certainly have the money to help them.