December 14, 1856: Birth of Hibbing namesake Frank Hibbing

On this day in 1856, the namesake of Hibbing, Minnesota—Frank Hibbing—was born in Kirchboitzen, Hanover, Germany. When he was 18 Hibbing immigrated to the U.S., settling first at Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. He worked for a time on a farm and then in a shingle mill, where an accident with a saw took three fingers from his right hand, leaving on the thumb and little finger. He found work as a timber cruiser and established the town of Bessemer, Michigan, and along the way learned a lot about iron prospecting. Hibbing moved to Duluth in 1887 and spent a year exploring the Vermillion Range before moving on to the eastern Mesabi Range, where he discovered an ore deposit. In 1892, he and business partners purchased land that became the site for the Lake Superior Group of iron mines. In July, 1893, the town site of Hibbing was platted, and for the rest of his life Frank Hibbing would invest in the community that bore his name, financing its first sawmill, water plant, electric light plant, hotel, and bank. Upon Hibbing’s death on July 30, 1897, a Duluth newspaper wrote: “The news of the death of no man in Duluth would be received with greater sorrow than that of Frank Hibbing. His friends are found in every walk of life. His hand has always been ready to extend assistance to others in their distress and the worthy person never asked his aid in vain. The poor who have received coal and provisions from him when cold and hunger were knocking at their doors are without number, and they have reason to appreciate fully the sincerity of his charity, for he gave without ostentation, satisfied with having done a good deed without advertising his virtue to the world.”

Frank Hibbing. (Image: Duluth Public Library)