120 very important years

Today I attended Pam Brunfelt’s Minnesota Humanities Center lecture on the significance of the Iron Range in American history at Valentini’s in Chisholm. Pam detailed the modern history of Minnesota’s three iron ranges starting back in the 1880s until today, showing how this one small place in northern Minnesota changed the course of history. Without this place and the relatively small number of people who immigrated and worked the iron ore mines — which provided a vast amount of the base material for WWI and WWII steel — America would have been at best a notable regional power, not unlike today’s Brazil. Instead we are the United States of America. The big USA. Superpower. Pam asked me to push the slide button on the Power Point. I felt pretty good about that.

I’m looking forward to celebrating the 120 year anniversary of the discovery of “red dirt” Mesabi Iron Range hematite on Nov. 16. Stay tuned.

Northland’s News Center covered the event.


  1. I really wanted to go to this. Any chance you know how I can get in touch with Pam Brunfelt? I’m very interested.

  2. Hey Matt – She’s on the faculty at Vermilion Community College. I’d look her up there, especially during the semester. She lives up in Ely. Give her a call or e-mail!

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