Thank you, Britt!

Thanks to the Britt Community Historical Society and all the wonderful people I met last night at the group’s annual dinner held in the Sandy Town Hall. I was honored to give the keynote speech and share more of my theories about Range past, present and future, the roots of which are in my book “Overburden: Modern Life on the Iron Range.”

Below is a picture of me speaking inside the Sandy Town Hall after dinner. Take a look, there’s a lot going on here:

  • First of all I’ve got to believe that this yellow shirt ain’t doing me any favors. I’m a lumpy-middled gentleman, to be sure, but this shot has me looking damn near like a county commissioner (you pick the county). Once again, I forgot to take all the electronic gear and car keys out of the pockets before speaking. I don’t regret the haircut, though. That turned out.
  • Where’s the church basement coffee maker? Can you spot it?
  • That flag is a nice touch. The picture doesn’t quite show it but that open area at the top is covered with built-in chicken wire to keep the storage items from raining down upon the citizenry. Chicken wire has a profound effect on architecture and I, for one, hope to see more of it, not less.
  • I made mention in my talk of how I loved “old township buildings” like this. Of course, I knew the building wasn’t that old because of the brown 1970s racing stripes on the outside, but what I meant was I love the old style township buildings where you can see the cost savings. Naturally, the guy who literally built the Sandy Town Hall in 1980 was in attendance and informed me that it cost $22,000 to build. Even in 1980 dollars, that’s my stat of the day. Every township hall built now is finished all the way and probably averages 10 times that figure, probably more.
  • I reported last week that Britt was named for boxer-turned-vaudevillian Jimmy Britt which is true, but the Post Office (and thus community) was originally named Brittmount and was only changed because there is another Brittmount in Minnesota.
  • I mentioned it last night, but I arrived early and had an hour to burn in Sandy Township. I tooled around the old dirt roads. There is nothing like looking south at the Laurentian Divide, especially when the view is framed by leafed out maples, dark green pine, a sharp blue late afternoon sky and the hot dusty red dirt road below. It’s so profoundly different than looking at the Iron Range from the south, where the gradual incline hides the significance of the divide. The north view, however, is the one the original Native Americans and French Voyageurs would have seen first, framed instead by white pines the size of skyscrapers.

(Thanks to Donovan Strong, for the being there and sharing the first picture. Give him a good look for St. Louis County Commissioner, if you are so inclined and reside in SLC District 4.).

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.