Remaking the Mitchell Yards on the Iron Range

My life takes place in two worlds. In one of these worlds the history and seemingly immovable fate of the Iron Range of northern Minnesota collides with the hopes and dreams of its people. In the other (the one preferred by my three young sons) trains with faces work, play and explore their way across the Island of Sodor, led by Thomas the Tank Engine.

In this case, these worlds collide.

Iron Range sculptor Dave Aho has purchased the Mitchell Yards outside Hibbing, once the rail epicenter of the mining capital of the Iron Range. The ore that fed the blast furnaces that produced the steel that won World War II and built modern America was carried by the trains of these yards.

Aho has plans to restore the old engine house into an arts and culture center. His plan sounds difficult, but if successful it would be truly remarkable.

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