Iron Range Posts

Postcard from Mesabi Open Pit Iron Mine in Virginia

This undated postcard shows scenes from the Mesabi Iron Range, the largest of four iron ranges in northeast Minnesota. The card uses a spelling more often associated with a roadway in Duluth — Mesaba Avenue.

PDD Video Lab: Old Iron Range Footage

In this edition of the PDD Video Lab we take a cruise through Virginia, Chisholm and Hibbing circa the 1960s with footage from Richter Home Movies set to the tune of Iron & Wine’s “Weary Memory” from the 2002 album The Creek Drank the Cradle.

The Slice: Historic Hibbing Pipe Organ

Victoria Lundberg Gornick shows off the 1,900+ pipe Barton organ in Hibbing High School’s auditorium.

In its series The Slice, WDSE-TV presents short “slices of life” that capture the events and experiences that bring people together and speak to what it means to live up north.

Steve’s Overpopulated One-Man Band – “Iron Ore”

Steve Solkela shares the musical story of his great-great grandfather’s journey from Finland to Minnesota in search of a better life. “It was backbreaking work down in those Minnesotan mines,” Sorkela writes on the YouTube description. “Many were injured, and many died; but of course, many were successful in feeding their families countless times and watching them grow to live beautiful lives.”

The video was shot over the summer at various locations across northern Minnesota, and edited using a free iPhone app.

Taps are flowing at Rapids Brewing in Grand Rapids

Executive Chef Erik Halverson, General Manager Bill Martinetto and Head Brewer Darin Jensen are ready to spread beard and beer culture in Grand Rapids.

The newest brewery on Minnesota’s Iron Range has begun serving up suds. Rapids Brewing Company opened Aug. 2 for its first “Summer Sneak Peak Weekend,” with limited beer and food options. General Manager Bill Marinetto said he expects the business to be open seven days a week before the end of the month, and his target is next weekend.

The Slice: Hull Rust Mine View

The newly redesigned mine view in Hibbing offers expansive perspectives of the old Hull–Rust–Mahoning Open Pit Iron Mine and the active Hull Rust and Hibbing Taconite Open Pit Mine.

Perfect Iron Range Restaurant: Vi’s Pizza

Competition was stiff in the Perfect Iron Range Restaurant poll. After a 36-hour, tie-breaking vote we can officially declare Vi’s Pizza in Biwabik the champion.

In the final poll, Vi’s Pizza had 70 percent of the vote, while BoomTown Woodfire Bar & Grill in Eveleth had 30 percent.

Clearly, no ordinary pizza joint could beat the likes of top contenders like BoomTown and Gilbert’s famous Jamaican restaurant, the Whistling Bird. But Vi’s Pizza is a veritable Iron Range institution.

The original pizza recipe was handed down from owner Kim Mattson’s Italian grandmother. Viola “Vi” and her husband Frank Urick started selling takeout pizzas out of the back of their Biwabik home in 1959.

Tie-breaking Poll for Perfect Iron Range Restaurant

The initial competition for Perfect Iron Range Restaurant was hot! The poll started with 25 nominees. With the help of your votes, we whittled it down to three contenders: BoomTown Woodfire Bar & Grill (Eveleth), Vi’s Pizza and the Whistling Bird.

BoomTown and Vi’s tied with 36 percent of the popular vote, while Whistling Bird was close behind at 28 percent.

Which brings us to the final poll to decide the winner.

This poll is now closed. The results were:

Vi’s Pizza, Biwabik – 70 percent
BoomTown Woodfire Bar & Grill, Eveleth – 30 percent

Poll: Perfect Iron Range-area Restaurant

We developed a list of contenders for the Perfect Iron Range-area Restaurant poll by using a carefully crafted methodology — we asked people to nominate their favorites.

We started with 25 nominees and whittled it down to the top three.

The poll is now closed. The results were:

BoomTown Woodfire Bar & Grill, Eveleth | 36 percent
Vi’s Pizza, Biwabik | 36 percent
The Whistling Bird, Gilbert | 28 percent

By virtue of the tie, there will be a new poll between BoomTown and Vi’s to determine a winner.

Nominees for Perfect Iron Range-area Restaurant Poll

Left: Photo by Sheldon Schwartz. Right: Google map manipulated by PDD.

It’s time the Iron Range got some credit. Summertime up north is spectacular. The abundant forests, lakes and trails offer the quintessential “up north” Minnesota experience. In past polls we’ve named the Perfect Duluth Restaurant, Perfect North Shore Restaurant and Perfect South Shore-area Restaurant. Now it’s time to look to the northwest and give some props to eateries in and around Minnesota’s Iron Range.

Iron Range Brewery Update: Klockow open, BoomTown coming soon, Rapids delayed

The craft beer craze is finally permeating Minnesota’s Iron Range. Before the year’s end, the area will support two new breweries: Klockow Brewing Company in Grand Rapids and BoomTown Brewery & Woodfire Grill in Hibbing. Another, Rapids Brewing Company, is in the works.

Iron Range to host inaugural craft beer festival

The Iron Range’s first craft beer festival is on tap this Saturday in Virginia. In addition to a craft beer village, the Olcott Fountain Brew Fest will feature food, live music and kids’ activities.

The event is a fundraiser organized by the Olcott Park Fountain Restoration Committee, whose mission is to restore the park’s historic fountain to its former glory.

“It’s the first brew fest north of Duluth. We seem to have a lot of interest from all over the Iron Range, which is awesome,” says Carly Gobats, who curated the event’s brewery and music lineup and serves as the its volunteer coordinator.

Gleanings from the book of Eli

In honor of a decade+ of writing for the Duluth Budgeteer — gone forever — I wanted to share this piece. At just 45 miles from Duluth, the Wirtanen Pioneer Farm is a swell destination to add to your summer bucket list. A quiet place, with little programming, it’s the sort of environment that might bore some of you. If you have ears to hear, however, there is much to be heard. We can learn a lot from the work ethic of pioneers like Eli. I jotted down some thoughts at Ed’s Big Adventure, and am curious about yours.

Paul Seeba – “Mitchell Yards”

Paul Seeba - Mitchell YardsIn this video from WDSE-TV‘s The Playlist, Hibbing native Paul Seeba returns to the Iron Range and the historic Mitchell Yards to share music inspired by the 1906 roundhouse. His 2014 album, Mitchell Yards, celebrates the now-endangered place and the role it played in handling ore during World War II.

Bonus sidebar: Dan Turner’s inside look at Mitchell Yards from his Substreet blog.

Mitchell-Yard-Crane

R.I.P. Francine York

francine-yorkAurora, the Iron Range city about an hour north of Duluth, was home to Francine York. “From the 60s and into the 70s, she was a guest-star on dozens of series, with some of her most remembered roles from Batman, Lost In Space, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, and The Streets of San Francisco.”

Bleeding Cool has the obituary for this Northland celebrity.