Iron Range parades, street dances and fireworks

As a young kid I marched in the Keewatin Fourth of July parade as a patriotic penguin, Donald Duck, and other flag-festooned creatures. As an older kid I remember piling into a car with my friends, touring Range towns for street dances and fireworks. Before cell phones we would often try to anticipate where we… Read More →

Summer 2018 brings color to Range communities

I drive through Nashwauk, Minnesota, most days. It’s a nice little town, but a little worn down. That’s not unusual for the cities of the western Mesabi Iron Range. These boom towns bloomed in a white pine wilderness a century ago, each at the mouth of a specific iron mine. Now that mining is more… Read More →

Mesabi Iron Range takes action on mountain bike trails

Last week brought a very busy Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board meeting. In addition to discussions of reform and school funding, the board also green-lighted the commissioner’s plan to fund three mountain bike trails on the Mesabi Iron Range. The almost $5 million grant package helps volunteer-based organizations and Giants Ridge develop three distinct… Read More →

L.L. Bean ‘Bootmobile’ headed to the Iron Range

Growing up in the rural environs just off the Mesabi iron formation, I became accustomed to the machinations of the bookmobile. Well, now Iron Range residents can expect a new arrival: the Bootmobile. L.L. Bean, purveyor of fine boots and outdoor clothing and accessories, turned a pickup truck into a giant boot. Now they tour… Read More →

A Day in the Life of Biwabik

The Mesabi Iron Range city of Biwabik is making a bid for Minnesota Monthly’s “Best Minnesota Town” next month. Videographer Kim Sampson assembled this short film “A Day in the Life of Biwabik” for the occasion. Several Iron Range photographers contributed their work to the project. I think it’s a rich, sweet visual depiction of… Read More →

New film explores 1916-17 Northern MN labor uprisings

Filmmaker Gary Kaunonen of KCC-TV in International Falls just released a new documentary about a pivotal time in Northern Minnesota’s labor history. It’s called “Northern Minnesota’s Labor Wars.” The years 1916 and 1917 brought major labor uprisings in the mines of the Mesabi Iron Range and the lumber camps of the state’s far northern pine… Read More →

Author to share novel about 1916 Mesabi strike at MDC

Author Megan Marsnik will read from her novel “Under Ground” and discuss its setting amid the Mesabi Range Strike of 1916 Thursday, Feb. 23, at 6 p.m. at the Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm. The Discovery Center currently features the exhibit “Enough! The 1916 Mesabi Range Strike.” This is an absolutely necessary viewing for anyone… Read More →

Paper shows PolyMet runoff could reach BWCA after all

While the proposed nonferrous Polymet mining project near Hoyt Lakes nears the end of its environmental review process, questions remain about the speed with which it could receive permits. One of the most fascinating developments I’ve seen recently is this Marshall Helmberger story in last week’s edition of the Tower Timberjay. According to a June 18,… Read More →

Laskiainen Finnish Sliding Festival in Palo this weekend

This is an older post about Laskiainen. Click here for the 2016 information. This weekend, Feb. 7-8, the 78th Annual Laskiainen Finnish Sliding Festival will be held near the Loon Lake Community Center in downtown Palo, Minnesota. This annual Iron Range winter tradition originated with Finnish immigrants who settled places like Palo after they were… Read More →

‘A hundred years went by’

Last week the leaves popped and it became summer on the Iron Range. Once again we fly the colors of our flag — birch green, sky blue and iron ore red. Our haunted northern Minnesota spring, which revealed all that the snow had covered, dissolves into a comfortable summer — the woods obscured by woods,… Read More →