Range trolley runs extended through fall (bring your jammies)

Etched into the woods north of many Iron Range towns is the faint outline of the trolley line that once spanned the mighty Mesabi iron formation, transporting workers from mine to mine, but usually from mine to the wet-and-wild city of Gilbert. (Gilbert would want you to know it is now a fine, upstanding small city that happens to have three solid city blocks of bars)

The rails and the original trolleys are gone, but the impact of the trolley remains. To date, seeing the Range through the windows of a trolley remains one of the best ways to connect to a past that weighs down today’s Range with Faulkner-like force.

The Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm (nee Ironworld) has wrapped up its regular season of trolley rides on its closed loop from the museum to the Glen Location, but will continue offering special rides through the fall. The trolley they operate is similar to the ones that were used in the early 1900s on the Range. Our kids loved riding the trolley this summer, though if your kids are like ours you may have to tell them that they’re riding on Toby from Thomas the Tank Engine.

The trolley will make a 6 p.m. run to historic Glen Location every Thursday at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. through October 29, weather permitting. Sept 17, 24 and Oct 1, Minnesota Discovery Center folk arts demonstrators will be at Glen Location from noon to 4 p.m. Glen Location walking trails are open to the public. Cookies and cider will be served around a campfire.

A kids’ pajama party on the trolley will be offered from 6-9 p.m. Thursday Sept 29. At 6 p.m. the trolley will depart to historic Glen location for milk and cookies and a bedtime story around the fire, returning to the museum at 6:40. The movie, “Molly, An American Girl on the Homefront” begins at 7 p.m. with popcorn. (Please call Stefanie at 218-254-1236 to register for this event).

Then, as Halloween approaches, the Discovery Center presents a Family Fun Trolley at 1 and 3 p.m. on Saturday October 22 and 29. Ride to historic Glen Location, meet the MDC folk arts demonstrators, make a special craft to keep, and listen to a “not-so-scary” story around the campfire.

For most of these events, general admission plus $2 per person for the trolley applies. Thursday night events have free admission. Call 800-372-6437 for details or check out mndiscoverycenter.com.

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