Road Trip on the Iron Range
By Greg Breining
A tour of a landscape that has been dug up, blasted, and rearranged by heavy industry doesn’t sound like much. But on Minnesota’s Iron Range, this combination of iron mining and the history of 19th-century immigration actually makes for interesting sights and stories.
Start at Soudan Underground Mine on Highway 169, where you can ride in an elevator cage nearly a half-mile underground. To get an above-ground look at a mine, head south on Highway 169 to Virginia’s Mineview in the Sky, a 20-story-high overlook of the Rouchleau open pit mines. On your way, play a round of golf in Biwabik at Giants Ridge, then stop at the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in Eveleth, where you’ll find interactive displays and a history of hockey in the United States.
Continue west from Virginia to Chisholm to take in the Iron Man statue, climb aboard mining trucks at the Minnesota Museum of Mining, and experience the multi-ethnic history of the Range at the Minnesota Discovery Center. A little farther west in Hibbing is a panoramic view of the Hull Rust Mahoning Mine, the largest open-pit mine in the world. Get dinner at Sammy’s Pizza on Howard Street in Hibbing. And don’t forget to check out Bob Dylan’s childhood home: 2425 Seventh Ave. E. You can’t miss it: the garage door is painted to look like the cover of Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks album.