Joe and Nancy

Joe and Nancy
Our Home on Wheels (Click on image above for our web albums.)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Iron Ore Mines of Hibbing, MN

These three pics are actually of the pit in Virginia the day before, after eating our pizza at Pizza Hut.
Virginia is a city in Saint Louis CountyMinnesota, on the Mesabi Iron Range. The population was 8,712 at the 2010 census.  According to a water tower in the middle of town, the city's nickname is the "Queen City", or "Queen City of the North".
Hibbing is a city in Saint Louis CountyMinnesota. The population was 16,361 at the 2010 census. The city was built on the rich iron ore of the Mesabi Iron Range. At the edge of town is the largest open-pit iron mine in the world, the Hull–Rust–Mahoning Open Pit Iron Mine.  
This pit is so large, it is nearly impossible to gain a vantage point to shoot a picture that truly expresses the length, breadth and depth of this enormous pit.  It is almost four miles long, one mile wide, and 1100 feet deep.  Some of these pics shows the enormous trucks hauling freshly blasted ore to the smelter furnace to make rich pellets for shipping off to the steel mills.
From Wiki:  The Hull-Rust-Mahoning Mine in Hibbing is one of the largest open pit iron mines in the world, with a 1.5 by 3.5 mile footprint and depths up to 600 feet. (old data)  The mine, located in the Mesabi Range, supplied as much as one-fourth of all the iron ore mined in the United States during its peak production during World War I and World War II.
It was briskly windy this day, and we had to put on an extra layer.  There was a little visitor center with a viewing window right on the edge of the southern rim, where we took most all of our pics.
Just look at the size of this baby (the truck please).  Isn't she beautiful? (the lady please)
And the giant Detroit Diesel above is what powers this behemoth.  I think it hauls 30 tons.
This bit of trivia we found most intriguing while there in the visitor center and thought I'd share it with you, from Wiki:  This area of the Mesabi Range was explored in 1893–1894, shortly after the Mountain Iron mine was established in 1892. The early development was as an underground mine, but open pit mining soon proved to be a better choice because of the shallow nature of the ore deposits. The many smaller open pit mines developed in the area soon merged into one large mine. The growth of the mine even resulted in the town of Hibbing being relocated to accommodate expansion. The move started in 1919 and took two years to complete at a cost of $16,000,000. 185 houses and 20 businesses were moved, and some of the larger buildings had to be cut in half for the move. Only a few uninhabited remnants of the original townsite are left near an observational lookout at the edge of the mine, where we were.

This truly was a hard-working blue-collar town, and to this day, is still that way.  
I am zoomed out 300mm to catch the large truck a mile away.
We were lucky in that the morning we were to leave, Friday, Sept 12, they had a scheduled blast.  So we decided to stick around and see what the hubbub was all about.  
Now mind you, this basting took place about a mile away, over on the other side of this gi-normous pit and it took about three seconds for the sound to reach us.  It was kind of a muffled roar as it was a string of continuous dynamite blasts, all computer controlled.
We both were shooting, Nancy with her 30x Sony and me with my 300mm Nikon.  I must admit:  Nancy had the best pics, the two below.  I was impressed.  They blast just about every 8-10 days.
Just North of Hibbing, on our way to Ely the day before, we caught this monument, dedicated to people who made the Iron Range a part of the local heritage.  The range is some 90 miles long and several miles wide in upper MN.  The below granite plaque was hard to read as the black embedded ink had worn off and glare didn't help either.
Roger Maris is from this town as well.  Who's he you might ask?  He's the man who first broke Babe Ruth's home run record with 61 home runs way back in 1961, ie, 61 in '61.  Some other notables from this small town were Bob Dylan, Kevin McHale (Boston Celtic great), Robert Mondavi the wine mogul (from Hibbing?, who would've thought that), Gary Puckett (and the Union Gap Band) and a host of other fairly prominent people.  Wow, and from such a small town.  I guess the cold long winters forced them inside to study more.  :-)
Well, that just about does it for our visit to Hibbing, MN and our furthest location North on this our fall of 2014 journey, Ely, MN being that place.  So, till the next time, RVing Beach Bums signing off.  This blog was written & published from our home in Virginia Beach.