Mesabi Iron Range, Minnesota [August 1998]

Today, one finds a different landscape on the Western Mesabi. The mines are gone. The old mine spurs, many unused since WWII, have been torn up. Gone, too, is the Butler Taconite pellet plant, a victim of some bad economic miscalculations. Some memories remain however.

The great open pit mines are now deep, freshwater
lakes. The Hill Annex Mine, shown here, is now a
museum and park.
This former Great Northern snow dozer is one of
several pieces of rolling stock that make up an
exhibit at the Hill Annex Mine.
The faithful are rewarded. On a Sunday morning,
a single unit train operates between the National
taconite plant in Keewatin, and the docks at
Allouez. Led by an SD60M/SD60/SD70MAC
consist, the train of 100 ton ore cars loaded with
steaming taconite pellets rolls through Gunn.
The Grand Rapids Depot, as it stands today.
The interior has been drastically altered, and
sanitized; no more smell of half day old coffee
and pipe tobacco. Carpet instead of soiled linoleum
and creaky floorboards. No sound of clicking Stroger
switches, typewriter or card punch. The desk at the
bay is gone.
At least they left the order boards.

[1977-1980][August 1998][August 2002]