Passing of an Iron Range legend

If the Iron Range was a book, Mary Anderson would have been one of the most important characters. Anderson passed away yesterday. I never had the chance to meet her, but she remains one of the great figures in Range history. She’ll always be most remembered for leading the city of Kinney’s secession from the United States to gain the town’s much-needed water system through “foreign aid.”

An excerpt from today’s Duluth News-Tribune story is below:

Longtime mayor of Kinney dies
Lee Bloomquist
Duluth News Tribune – 10/25/2007

An Iron Range matriarch is gone.

Mary Anderson, the feisty former longtime mayor of the “Republic of Kinney,” died Wednesday afternoon at Heritage Manor Health Care Center in Chisholm.
She was 92.

“This is like losing an institution,” U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar said. “If Ironworld or Giants Ridge were shut down, or the name ‘Mesabi’ was erased from the Iron Range, it would be Mary that personified those characteristics.”

Anderson’s small bar in Kinney was a political gathering place for many well-known DFL politicians.

Politicians such as Rudy Perpich, Paul Wellstone, Hubert Humphrey, Michael Dukakis and Orville Freeman either launched their careers with fundraisers at the bar or made it a regular stop when on the Iron Range.

“She was a great lady and one who epitomizes that first generation of Americans who grew up in mining towns,” said state Rep. Tom Rukavina, DFL-Virginia. “She was a fighter, not afraid to speak her mind, and an intelligent woman who came up with the idea of seceding from the union to get what her town needed.”

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