Mining on Cuyuna Range, past brings future benefits
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NewsHopperTM April 29, 2006 9 Mining on Cuyuna Range, past brings future benefits Part IV – Mining in the early days Connie Pettersen In the spring of 1903, Ad- ate, but it cost as much to ams and several Duluth fi- haul coal six miles by team Discovery and nancial backers started Ore- from Deerwood to the Ken- beginnings nedy mine as it did to ship If you walk over magnetite lands Mining Co. Their first ore samples were not good it by train from Pittsburgh with a compass, it interferes to Deerwood. In September with the compass pointing quality but, by 1904, they hit high-grade ore near Rabbit 1908, the Kennedy owners magnetic north, causing it to petitioned the county com- change direction. That’s how Lake, which later became the infamous Kennedy Mine. missioners for a new road, Cuyler Adams discovered agreeing to pay for it. How- iron in the Deerwood area Once quality ore was found, prospectors and investors ever, a farmer objected to while surveying property construction of a road across lines with his St. Bernard, moved in. George H. Crosby, a Duluth financier and de- his property. Una. A rail line was built from Cuyler Adams’ discovery veloper on the Mesabi Iron Range, had great enthusiasm Aitkin by 1910, enabling nine back in the 1880s was the railroad cars of coal to reach first birth pang of the Cuyuna for the new range. He se- cured options on land, part the Kennedy. In April 1911, Range. Yet it took over 20 the Kennedy became the years of toil and trouble of which later became Main Street in Crosby, and de- first mine on the Cuyuna to before mines were opera- First iron ore shipped from the City of Crosby. The ore came from an Armour mine. signed the town site named send ore to Superior docks. tional. Some shafts flooded Crosby was the first town from groundwater, and many after him. Crosby had finan- cial dealings in a number to ship ore (from Armour prospectors went broke and Russian, German or other ductions subtracted. Others Some miners homesteaded No. 1) to eastern steel mills. armies. pooled money or borrowed farms and worked for “grub- The newest Minnesota iron America promised new op- from relatives. Most immi- stakes.” Others stayed in range had finally “come of portunity and was growing grants could speak little, if boarding houses or rows of age.” By 1912, eleven mines rapidly. Iron, essential for any, English and had limited wooden houses provided were operating, five were building cities, bridges, and education. A lot of men came by mining companies like shipping ore: The Kennedy, railroads, was also needed alone or with male relatives, “Honeymoon Row,” aptly Thompson, Armour 1 and for farming and logging later sending for wives and named since many young 2 and Cuyuna-Mille Lacs. equipment. Iron made the children. couples were just starting Additional mines were de- very freighters that shipped According to The Guide out. Housing was affordable, veloping. ore across the Great Lakes to the Croft Mine Historical but miners became more Sixteen mines were open and the ocean-going ves- Park, compiled by the Croft dependent upon employers by 1914, including the new sels that brought more im- Mine Joint Powers Board: “ for their livelihood. If they Croft shaft sunk by Merrimac migrants. . . . immigrants who didn’t lost their job, they also lost Mining Company. Rich man- As new mines opened on speak English were often their home. ganiferous ore from Cuyuna Cuyuna Range, many work- given menial jobs. If they A garden plot, a source of Range was to become so ers were needed. Mining wanted to get ahead, they pride for immigrants, was es- valuable to American war ef- companies advertised in took ‘Americanization’ classes sential for a family’s survival. forts in WWI and later wars, newspapers in America and at night to learn English and Some households boarded that men who worked those abroad, touting year-round become citizens. Improving single miners to earn extra mines were exempted from jobs. They needed strong their status gave immigrants income, adding a tremen- the draft. At the end of WWI, men willing to work for low- a resolve to be successful and dous amount of work for the 40 mines were open, employ- er wages so the new range a thirst for education passed wives with additional meals ing nearly 3,000 men. The could become competitive down to their children and and laundry. Depression in the 30s closed on world markets. grandchildren.” (continued page 10) many mines, but the begin- Tiny settlements, first called nings of WWII again created “locations,” opened close Start Living a demand for ore from the to the mines, some with Cuyuna Range. mining related names like Orelands, Klondike, Steelton, These miners are drilling for iron ore in core samples using If you build it, they Ironton and Iron Mountain. a diamond drill in the early history of the Cuyuna Range. will come . . .influx Larger boomtowns became of immigrants Crosby, Cuyuna, Ironton, By the turn of the 20th cen- Manganese and Trommald, abandoned their projects. It of mines on the range, in- took over a decade, into the 20th century, before ore was cluding Whitmarsh Mining Company’s ill-fated Milford. tury, poor economic condi- tions overseas, plus increas- that swelled with immigrants from countries like the British Sales Event shipped and investors made By 1908, the Kennedy be- ing tensions before WWI, Isles, Croatia, the Ukraine, Examples... Check out our Modular resulted in massive emigra- Hungary and Italy, as well as ROOOMY 28x76, 4BR Home Specials a profit. came the first mine to stock- tions. Thousands of men of Finland, Scandinavia, Austria for all the room you’ll need 26 - 28- 30 Foot Wide At first Cuyler Adams was pile ore above ground. But it military age left homelands and Germany. Only $80,484 (tax incl.) Homes Many sizes to ridiculed for fanciful dreams. was six miles from a railroad to avoid being drafted into Some workers came un- choose from. All Include But his persistence to explore connection. The only access der contract with travel de- 28x52 3BR incl. full wall Furnace/Ducting, Wa- and continue drilling paid road was hilly and narrow. A two sided stone fireplace, ter Heater/Plumbing, off. Eventually, he became a railroad was needed to get Skyview skylite, patio 5/12 Roof Pitch, 8 Foot wealthy iron baron, naming ore to Lake Superior docks, door, finished drywall, Side Walls, Oak Custom his discovery “Cuyuna” from but it took years of politics Cabinets, Dlx. Appliance ceramic back splash, a combination of his name and hard work to get it. Package, Drapes/Blind. extreme value appliance “Cuy” and his dog “Una.” Mines needed coal to oper- Starting at ONLY package and lots more Only $64,909 (tax incl.) $68,900 (tax incl. and installed on your basement) View these & many other fine quality homes and save up to $3,800 during our Start Living Sales Event! HURRY Ends Soon! Jct. Hwys. 18 & 25 HUSTAD Brainerd 218-829-3278 HOMES 1-888-829-3666 Open: Monday - Friday • 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturday • 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. 10 April 29, 2006 NewsHopperTM Mining on Cuyuna Range, past brings future benefits (continued from page 9) Early mining powder room, encased in fice were multi-talented. They working wood to keep dynamite dry. designed and blueprinted all If dynamite got wet, it could buildings and mine work- conditions bleed nitroglycerine and be ings, kept track of how much Mines, a cool 50° all year, unsafe. Miners bought their iron ore was produced, and were damp and humid. Min- own dynamite and tools. The paid miners based on how ers developed respiratory mine did not provide them. much they brought up in a illnesses, pneumonia, bron- A company store sold every- 2-week period. The harder chitis, and sinus infections. thing at a discounted price. they worked, the more they Cave-ins, electrocutions, falls, When they got their dyna- got paid. and other accidents maimed mite, miners had to put it On April 8, 1913, there was and killed miners. At least together by taking a fuse and an unexpected strike by near- 200 men lost their lives in inserting it into the blasting ly a thousand Cuyuna Range the Cuyuna Range, probably cap. They used a cap-crimp- miners. Cuyuna Country, A more died early from lung-re- ing tool to attach the cap People’s History reported the lated illnesses. Communities onto the fuse, applying a little strike “shocked residents, became self-reliant to help pressure to seal it. They had businessmen and mining not only themselves, but also to be extremely careful not company officials.” Miners the less fortunate. to apply too much pressure demanded an eight-hour day, Mining equipment and or it would explode. Many time and a half for overtime, clothing improved over the preferred to use their teeth abolition of contract work, Horse and mules were an integral part of early mining efforts.A hopper wagon at years. Carbide lamp hard because their hands were the hospital fee be borne Armour I Mine, used for collecting and hauling dirt. hats replaced soft hats and callused and they could not exclusively by the mine op- candles. To stay warm and tell how much pressure to erators, plus a number of tinue in the late 1960s. Today 1900s, saw millions of tons step back in time and live the dry, underground miners apply. other things. the area has a new wealth in of ore funnel into the nation’s colorful and unique history wore many pounds of cloth- The engineer’s office was The companies and striking unique pit mine lakes filled economy, employment in the of the Cuyuna Iron Range.” ing – hats, bib overalls, rub- the highest rank a worker miners came to an agreement with game fish. Area trails are thousands, and flourishing ber boots and a range slicker, could achieve. Sometimes on April 26. This first attempt ideal for tourism and there is communities rise – some to Next in the series on Cuyuna gloves and a handkerchief miners began working above by miners gained some im- a rich historical and cultural die – as the industry foun- Range mining are upcoming worn to keep from breath- ground at age 14 by shovel- provements, but not many. heritage. dered. features of “Miners’ Memo- ing in too much iron dust. It ing coal into the engine. They The companies threatened According to The Guide “Along the dimly-lit tunnel ries.” If you have informa- was dirty work. Men came off worked their way through to shut down, saying they to the Croft Mine Historical maze, ore cars bumped and tion to share about your (or shift almost unrecognizable. every rank of a miner, an could not afford to honor all Park, published by the Croft rumbled on steel rails past a family member’s) mining Blasting occurred twice average of 20 years to go demands and keep prices Mine Joint Powers Board: ghostlike human forms with experiences on the Cuyuna a day, between shifts. If through the ranks. If a min- competitive. “The Croft exemplified the lamps alight . . . in cavernous Range, contact the News- necessary, they would get ing company thought a man mining era at its height and depths, fortunes were made Hopper, 218-927-6990, or everyone out of the mine and might be a good engineer, Historical, cultural because still standing struc- with plunder that rolled from e-mail: email@example.com. blast in the middle of a shift. they shipped him off to col- value tures made it ideal for resto- mine to dock to mill to make Men worked two concurrent lege and paid his schooling. Mining on the Cuyuna ration, the State of Minnesota the steel on which industrial Pictures and histories used 10-hour stints. The last four One of the best colleges Range continued until com- purchased the property in giants fed. . .The last helmet with permission of Cuyuna hours the mines were empty County Heritage Preservation was the Denver School of petition from taconite pro- 1978. lamp has flickered out, the so pumps could keep ahead Society & Croft Mine Historical Mining. duction and rising cost fac- “ . . . The last underground last producing shaft has been of groundwater. Museum. Iron mining displays Those in the engineer’s of- tors proved too great to con- iron mine to produce ore capped and the last ore train and guided tours through a re- Explosives were kept in a in Minnesota came to a rat- long ago whistled its depar- alistic simulated iron mine are tling halt at one o’clock a.m. ture for the Lake Superior at Croft Mine Museum, open Hopper’s $avers Available at the NewsHopper Office in Aitkin and by mail. June 1, 1967. Last to close was Inland Steel Company’s docks. But the mining days of yesterday go on as always Memorial Day through Labor Day. Recommended reading: Cuyuna Country, A People’s While Supplies Last! QTY. Armour No.2. It ended an at the Croft Mine Historical History available at: www.cuyu- 3.00 $ era that arose in the early Park where you can take a naheritage.org. Aitkin BArBeque Co., Aitkin ........................................ $5.00 for = $_____ $ Cookies ‘n things, Aitkin ................................................... $10.00 for 7.00 $ = $_____ Curves, Aitkin ... One Month + 1/2 Off Membership = $114.00 for 29.00 $ = $_____ DeerstAnD sports BAr& grill, Deerwood.......... $10.00 for 7.00 $ = $_____ enguMs tAe-kWon-Do, Crosby One Month = $40.00 for 20.00 $ = $_____ giovAnni’s pizzA, Brainerd ........................................... $10.00 for 7.00 $ = $_____ hAllett CoMM. Center Crosby - Valid for 10 time pass only$70.00 for 60.00 $ = $_____ hAWkeye’s Coffee shop Aitkin ................................ $5.00 for 3.00 $ = $_____ hoMeoWners resourCe, Brainerd$100.00 Cert. for Windows for 70.00 $ = $_____ hookeD on quilting Aitkin ..................................... $10.00 for 7.00 $ = $_____ isle fAMily furnishings, Isle ............................ $50.00 for 30.00 $ = $_____ louie’s BuCket of Bones,Ironton (Only 5 per week) ....$5.00 for 3.00 $ = $_____ MinnestAlgiA, McGregor ............................................ $10.00 for 7.00 $ = $_____ norD lAke refleCtions, Aitkin .............................$10.00 for 7.00 $ = $_____ norDiC inn, Crosby ................................................... $65.00 for 50.00 $ = $_____ spirit of the lAke, Isle ................................................$5.00 for 3.00 $ = $_____ the BeAnery, Aitkin ....................................................... $10.00 for 7.00 $ = $_____ the sWeetery, Aitkin - Genuine Italian Charm ....... $15.00 for 10.00 $ = $_____ tJ’s on the Cove, Deerwood .................................... $10.00 for 7.00 $ = $_____ TOTAL $_______ Send in your order form with a check and a self-addressed stamped envelope to: NewsHopper 202 Minnesota Ave N • Aitkin, MN 56431 • To get your Hopper’s Savers mailed to you. Open: Mon. - Wed. 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. • Thurs. - Fri. 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Some exclusions may apply per certificate. We reserve the right to limit quantities and Closed Saturday and Sunday discontinue this promotion at any time.