Canine namesake highlights Power story in Hibbing

A young Dottie Power around the time she started her business.

This week, the Hibbing Police Department announced the winning entry from a contest to name its newest K-9 dog. The dog will be named Dottie, in honor of one of Hibbing’s pioneering entrepreneurs, Dottie Power. Gina Forti, of Hibbing, submitted the suggestion.

Dottie Power was one of the most successful merchants in early Hibbing history both before and after the town famously moved during World War I. Her Itasca Bazaar department store overtook all her competitors despite the disadvantages women faced in her time.

Women couldn’t own property or borrow money from banks without their husband’s approval. Fortunately for Dottie, she had a husband willing to get out of her way. Walter J. Power was himself a pioneering mayor, theater-owner, and lawyer in Hibbing, but left the store to Dottie.

Her success came not from doing things the easy, safe way, but from exploring the big, burgeoning world of high fashion and finding ways to bring it to a place tucked in the frozen wilderness of northern Minnesota.

Dottie Power’s story came to my attention as part of my research of her brother-in-law, Victor L. Power. The Power family proved tremendously influential on Hibbing and broader Iron Range history through their political, business, and cultural contributions.

Dottie Power after her success running the Itasca Bazaar.

Dottie receives some attention in my book, “Power in the Wilderness,” which I’m working on now. In fact, I’m finally approaching the finish line.

Well past my deadline, I’m trying to weave together a story that proved even bigger than I imagined (and I have an active imagination). The book will take time to edit and prepare for publication, but I do hope to have the first draft done soon. March is my goal.

Readers here might remember a time when I fervently reported all the news and events of Iron Range politics, business, and culture. You’ve only been getting my weekly columns for a while now. But I can assure you that the book I’ve been writing all this time will be of deep interest to anyone who has read my work so far. In fact, I hope it will provide new inspiration for Iron Rangers to reconsider their past and future alike.

Meantime, the story is getting around. You should listen to the podcast Karl Jacob and I did surrounding the Vic Power story, also called “Power in the Wilderness.” We made an episode in which Dottie is featured prominently.”

Dottie Power was a tough lady, and now there’s a tough police dog also named Dottie. It’s a strange world we live in. Strange indeed.

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