120 very important years, ctd.

I wrote last week on Pam Brunfelt’s lecture about the significance of the Iron Range in U.S. history. KAXE just shared a 12 minute interview of Pam which is a pretty good distillation of her talk. You should give it a listen.


  1. Many places have rich histories that have largely been forgotten. For example, few people in Minneapolis know the history of the milling industry that helped build the city. Chicago’s stockyard and railroad hub past are largely forgotten as well. However, in cases like Minneapolis and Chicago, the cities have reinvented themselves and moved on, so are known for other things today.

    Or, maybe it’s a case of a lack of respect for raw materials mining. The nickel and chromium mining communities that contributed to the steel industry don’t get a lot of coverage either.

  2. Yeah, and no one talks about coke either, even though it takes a lot more coke to make steel than iron ore. (Though, as Pam would say, iron ore is sort of the point).

    It’s probably an outcropping of the fact that for 100 years a significant majority of Americans have lived in places where there is no production of raw materials — all the ore and food came from someplace else, out of sight, out of mind. I’ve enjoyed your writing about Minneapolis and agree, why do people forget this stuff? I read the history of these places and wonder what the hell we’re doing. So much of modern life is really treading water.

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