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NRHS Mesabi Iron Range Bus Tour 8/12/2009

by Chris Guenzler

I got up and had breakfast at the Best Western before I walked over to the Radisson and boarded the NRHS bus for my trip to the Missabi Iron Range. The bus took us first to Hibbing.

A Brief History

Iron was first found in Minnesota in 1863 and several explorers came to the area around Hibbing. Other engineers were dispatched to the area around Tower. The "Range" as it is called stretches for over 100 miles from the area near Grand Rapids northeast through Virginia called the Missabe Range and into an area near Tower called the Vermillion Range. Some of the first samples had a very high iron content of 63-67%. The first rail shipment was from Tower to Two Harbors in 1884 and shipped out on a boat on Lake Superior. During the high days on the Iron Range the railroads operated into the pits and the cars were loaded there by giant power shovels. Later the ore was rolled into Taconite Pellets and shipped by rail to Lake Superior for loading onto boats for their trips throughout the Great Lakes.

The Greyhound Museum in Hibbing. The bus took us out to the Hull-Rust Open Pit Mine Lookout outside of Hibbing.

Hull-Rust Open Pit Mine

After a quick talk about the mine by one of the employees, I got off the bus and headed straight up the hill to the overlook tower.

Those buses look so small compared to that open pit.

Four views from the overlook tower.

Me with the Hull-Rust Open Pit Mine behind me. I came down next to the store for these next pictures.

Looking up the hill at the Overlook Tower.

These views of the Hull-Rust Open Pit Mine. I next toured the grounds.

The view of mining equipment all the way across the Hull-Rust Open Put Mine.


Looking down on the huge dump truck.

An old mine car.

One of the mine's engines for generating power.

One of the shovels.

Chris used for scale of size.

The Historical Sign.

Different size shovels.

Tires for a large dump truck.

More views of the Hull-Rust Open Pit Mine.

One more view of the Hull-Rust Open Pit Mine.

More views of the grounds at the Hull-Rust Open Pit Mine. I went back to the bus and relaxed until everyone returned and we drove to our next stop at Chisholm.

Minnesota Museum of Mining.

We pulled in and got another brief lecture about the Minnesota Museum of Mining.

Great North Road Caboose C-55.

Duluth Missabe & Iron Range C-3 2-8-0 347.

Ore Car 14954.

Ore Car 14536.

Ore Car 14613.

Great Northern Caboose X601.

Another view of the DM&IR 347.

Steam Shovel 120 E.

Hanna Mining Electric 305.

Dump truck.

Early road grader.

Let's compare dump truck sizes over the years.

A look at the grounds.

Another form of mining equipment.

More railroad equipment.

Talk about steam shovels.

Diamond drill and equipment.

More mining equipment.

More shovels.

Mine drill.

Mine drill and ore rollers.

Steam mine drill.

Mine carts.

American Legion Drum and Bugle Bus.

Ore rollers.

Two Chisholm Minnesota Fire Trucks.

1896 Henry.

1916 White, the first Greyhound Bus.

Lumbering was a major early industry in Minnesota.

The Steam Drill again.

The underground exhibit.

A mine core.

The main building of the Minnesota Mining Museum.

This building holds this hand-built model railroad diorama created by artist-naturalist F. Lee Jaques.

A real nice model railroad. I returned to the bus and rested before we left for our final stop of the tour, the Minnesota Discover Center that used to be Ironworld also in Chisholm.

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