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Eveleth Minnesota History

Page 1   |   Page 2

Central Park in Eveleth Minnesota
Central Park, which is the present location of the Fitzgerald Hospital, was once a garbage dump and a cow pasture. This land was bought from Robb, Poole and Smith in 1912 for $19,000. It was used for a park, as well as the site of the band shell and the library. The Presbyterian and Episcopal Churches had to be moved in order to make the land a park. In August, plans were made to plant trees. Shortly before this, correspondence with Andrew Carnegie began for aid to build a library. Then, $9,000 was set aside to finish the park and build a fence around it.


This commission was organized on January 27, 1909, and was appointed by the district court.


This was established on June 10, 1909. There was a curling rink in the Recreation Building on the corner of Adams Avenue and Garfield Street. Curling was furthered and greatly inspired by the famous Dunbars, who had many champion curling teams. Curling teams from Eveleth won the Minnesota State Championship in the Merriam Medal Curling Bonspiel thirteen times between 1924 and 1948. The present Curling Club is located on Monroe Street, above the Monroe Playground.


There were several other clubs formed at this time. The Fayal and Eveleth City Bands were organized in 1904.

The Eveleth Gun Club had a building and put up a trap set at "ball park on Gun Club Hill." In 1910, its first annual business meeting was held. The grounds opposite the Iron Range depot were secured for use by the group.

Another was the Eveleth Driving (Horsemen's) Association. "Indiana Girl," owned by Mr. G. A. Whitman, won first place in one of the races on the track at St. Mary's Lake.

The baseball club was organized and played its first game on June 12, 1904 against Hibbing. Eveleth lost the game, 6-1.

Ely Lake Veterans' Park, Eveleth Minnesota
Ely Lake Veterans' Park. In 1912, this land was purchased from Murphy, Dorr, and Flinn, and was developed into a park. The dock and diving boards seen here are no longer at the beach.


Monitor Hall was built on the corner of Grant Avenue and Pierce Street. The American Legion moved into it in 1947.


Grant Avenue was first paved in 1910 with granatoid. The area covered was 9,991 square yards. At once, the problem of keeping the street clean arose, and shortly after that, the first two "white wings" were employed and outfitted.
In 1911, Eveleth proper had 7,036 and the population of Fayal Township was 1,141.


A city extension election was held on April 8, 1910. The largest addition took place in 1922, when the Volcansek Addition (the southwest corner of the city) was added. This was disputed by the mining company, but the state supreme court ruled in favor of the city. Then, in 1920, the area north of Garfield and east of Grant Avenue was added as the Kingston Addition. In 1947, Welton's Morningside Addition was accepted.


This three-story building near the water tank had eight rooms for patients. It was built in 1912. It was established by the health department and W. S. King was in charge of it. The building had been moved from Jackson Street. In 1924, the St. Louis County established a trachoma hospital in the same building to care for a diphtheria emergency that arose.

Elks Club on Jones Street in Eveleth Minnesota
The Elks Club, was built on Jones Street on the site of the Othello Theater, which was destroyed by fire. The front wall collapsed during the building process. The building was finally opened in April of 1924. At the present time, the downstairs is occupied by the Minnesota Power and Light Company.


First records of a cemetery were from 1913, when J. J. Gleason was the president of the Cemetery Association. The first burial took place on August 17, 1914, when Charles Anderson was laid to rest.


A street car first ran from the Park Hotel on Adams Avenue on December 12, 1912, and it continued until 1927.

In March of 1919, Virginia and Eveleth agreed to co-operate in building and paving a road between the two cities. In 1922, a fourth Packard bus was added to the Transit Company and it had a daily run between Eveleth and Virginia. In 1929, the bus depot was moved from the west side of Grant Avenue to the Rainbow Inn on the corner of Jones Street. The Miller Trunk Road or State Highway Number 11 was formally opened on October 14, 1922. The first train came into the Eveleth Depot on Fayal Road in July of 1923. Mail service by bus also began this year.

The former Recreational Building in Eveleth Minnesota
The former Recreational Building.

A new skating and curling rink was built and finished in 1919, on the corner of Adams Avenue and Garfield Street. This was the famous Recreational Building. Roller skating, dancing and curling are just a few of the many activities that went on in this building.

In 1947, the building was leased by Cluett-Peabody for a factory with Frank Mancina as manager. Then, in 1964, the Arrow Company, a division of Cluett-Peabody, leased the City Auditorium for a pajama factory.

The Eveleth Municipal Band played its first concert in the new $5,000 band shell in Memorial Park in July, 1928. The Chamber of Commerce had an office to the
left of the stage of the shell at one time. The shell was removed when the Fitzgerald Community Hospital was built.

Old Bandshell in Eveleth Minnesota
Old Bandshell in Eveleth


A Ryan four-passenger monoplane named the "Spirit of St. Louis County" began the seaplane service on Ely Lake for hunting and fishing parties. The cost to charter it was $60 per hour. It had a base on Lake Vermilion also. M. S. Kingston, who was president of the Kingston-Rhodes Airways, said, "God gave Minnesota 10,000 natural airports." The seaplane base at Sky Harbor on Ely Lake is a continuation of this interest in flying.


In 1928, Mr. Kingston developed the idea of a municipal airport. The city bought 160 acres of land 3 miles south of the town on the Miller Trunk Highway for $19,500 from George Pappar in 1929. In 1947, contracts were let for an administration building, water line and septic tank. The runways had already been completed. In 1950, Eveleth began operating the airport jointly with Virginia.

THE 1930's

The depression had an effect on the people of Eveleth as it did all over the nation. During these years, numbers of citizens took part in federal projects such as the N.Y.A. and the W.P.A. Six buildings were renovated, and the hippodrome, ball park and the lake park pavilion were completed by workers from this town. Eveleth gradually recovered from this panic.


After the spectacular anniversary celebration that also marked the end of the war and the soldiers' return home, life settled back into the old ways. Relief and recovery were the main thoughts after the strain of the war. Evelethians did some improving of their town. In 1948, major blacktopping, which cost about $38,000, was completed.


The Parent Teacher Association undertook this project to make a playground for the children living in this part of town. Nine white ash shade trees were taken from the old Leonidas location and planted in the park. Swings were also put up.

Eveleth Hippodrome in Eveleth Minnesota
The Eveleth Hippodrome. This was built in 1922, and it can seat 3,000 people. The artificial ice plant was built in 1950. The first game played on the new ice was on January 7, 1950 between the Eveleth Rangers and the Duluth Teves.


Company F. of the Minnesota National Guard was organized under Captain R. M. Cornwell in 1908. There were 65 men at its first inspection.

The National Guard was federalized on Tuesday, January 16, 1951, at the local city auditorium, which was then the armory building. The staff of officers was composed of Major Michael Barberich, Major Wallace E. Olson and Captain Lester Perry. The present Armory was erected behind the Eveleth Hippodrome.

The former Eveleth City Auditorium. At the present time, it is the home of a pajama factory which is a branch of Cluett & Peabody.


Parking meters were first installed in 1950, and they went into use on May 15.


Beginning on May 1, mail was delivered to residents of Eveleth only once daily. Carriers were out between 9:30 and 3:00.

The 1940 census showed 6,887 people in the city and the census in 1950 recorded 5,829.


The famous Fair Store at 105 Grant Avenue closed in 1954, after 30 years of service. It was bought by the Northland Painting Company and remodeled into one of the most up-to-date buildings in Minnesota. A grand opening was held in January, 1956. Mr. Leo Bright was the manager of the company at this time. This building is empty at the present.


The Legion Club sponsored a youth center on Tuesday nights for the younger set. Sharon Kotchevar was the president of the youth group, Tom Modec, vice president, Joanne Jacobson, secretary, and Bob Gruden, treasurer.


On May 20, 1956, (early Sunday morning), the dial system went into effect. The project was put into operation after 102,000 man hours of work.


After much debate and protest, work began on Highway 53 to make it a double lane highway, bypassing Eveleth and Virginia. At present, the two lanes are complete from Virginia to Cotton.


In 1961, the old trees on Jones Street were removed, new sidewalks and curbs were put in.


In 1961, several buildings were erected:

  • Cron-Nelson Harris Funeral Home

  • Italian Bakery moved next to Gilson's Drug Store New Primozich Market

  • Arrowhead Nursing Home enlarged

  • Plaza Style Shop moved

  • A & W root beer stand was nearing completion. 1965

  • The outdoor theater finally opened. It is located across the new highway on the road to Gilbert.

  • On August 12, ground breaking ceremonies were held for the new Eveleth Clinic at the site of the hospital. The clinic opened in April of 1966. Dr. George Miks was the first physician to run the clinic. Dr. Miks left Eveleth in April of 1967, and the clinic has not been in operation since then

1967 City Council. Row I: Joseph Buncich, City Clerk; Joseph Begich, Mayor; Jerome Kaner, Attorney. Row 2: Councilmen Clem Cossalter, Stan Kostelic, Anton Nemanick, Albert Bostrom.


Martin Van Buskirk 1893-1895
Dr. H. L. Darms 1895-1897
W. V. Caldwell 1897-1898
Martin Van Buskirk 1898-1899
Charles Jesmore 1899-1900
P. E. Dowling 1900-1901
Charles Jesmore 1901-1904
N. B. Maxwell 1904-1906
Charles Jesmore 1906-1908
N. B. Maxwell 1908-1908
Walter J. Smith 1908-1910
J. S. Saari 1910-1914
John Gleason 1914-1914
J. S. Saari 1914-1918
E. H. Hatch 1918-1920
Victor E. Essling 1920-1930
F. R. Campbell 1930-1932
Victor E. Essling 1932-1936
Herbert Woolcock 1936-1940
Richard C. Floyd 1940-1943
John E. Aho 1943-1946
Ben P. Constantine 1946-1949
Joseph J. Primozich 1949-1952
Peter Kerze 1952-1956
Joseph Jagunich 1956-1963
Donald Jarvi 1964-1966
Joseph Begich 1966-


The first village officers of Eveleth were:

  • President, Martin Van Buskirk

  • Trustees, John Grey, H. Hookwith, W. H. Shea Recorder, A. S. Erickson

  • Treasurer, S. S. Childers

  • Justices of the Peace, John F. Towell, Charles Wyman

  • Constable, Jerry Sullivan

The first council meeting was held on October 25, 1894 in the Townsite Company's frame building. Later meetings were held in the back room of Sletten's Store.
When the village was only one month old, it made plans to build a jail on lot 36 in block 12, purchased from the Townsite Company.

On April 1, 1902, Eveleth incorporated as a city. Charles Jesmore, then village president, continued as mayor until 1904, when Nehemiah B. Maxwell -Mike- was elected mayor.

Then, in October of 1913, Eveleth received a new charter for a commission form of government.

Left to right: Patsy Kiley, Mary Vihleimer, Rae Skramstad, Queen Mary Jean Ritmanich, Louis Carlson, Mary Gibson.

Eveleth's 50th Anniversary

Eveleth was actually 55 years old in 1947, but the celebration for its 50th birthday had been put off because of the war. The 1947 celebration was a combination homecoming for servicemen and a birthday anniversary. Thousands of past and present citizens were on hand for the four days of activities. Mayor Ben P. Constantine was Honorary Chairman of the celebration, Gilbert Finnegan and Leslie J. Tobin were co-chairmen of the committee, A. J. Van Buskirk was executive secretary, and Sally Shea Martin was in charge of the general headquarters. Many other people, too numerous to mention, did an excellent job in making the event as spectacular as it was.

Pictured left to right: Burr D. Eveleth, William S. Eveleth, H. A. Allan, who drove the party here for the celebration, and Mrs. Burr Eveleth. Burr and William are sons of Erwin Eveleth. The Eveleths, who are from Corunna, Michigan, attended the anniversary activities.

1947 Celebration A Complete Success

From left to right are: Mayor Ben Constantine, John E. Roy. W. Raph, Edward and Kent Fitzgerald as they landed on the Eveleth airport from their large National
Lines Plane from Chicago for the celebration. In parade, they rode their first bus, (of 1918), which started the Eveleth-Leonidas run. The bus was driven by its original driver. Behind them, was a 1947 City Lines bus from Chicago. This bus had been driven from Chicago offering free rides to Eveleth for Evelethians in Chicago who wished to attend the anniversary.

In 1919, the five Fitzgerald brothers started a two-bus transit line in Eveleth which extended to Virginia and then on to Duluth. It was known as the Range Rapid Transit Company. Their National City Lines was organized in 1936.

Program of Highlights of the Activities

Thursday, July 31 "City and County Days"

Merchants' Special Sales Event
Kiddies' Parade
Greetings of Old Friends
Flight of Planes over the City
Band Concert on Grant Avenue
Queen's Ball, Coronation of Queen

Friday, August 1 "Homecoming Day"

Official Grand Opening of Celebration
Registration of Out-of-Town Guests
Sightseeing Tours
Old-Timers' Get-Together
Pioneers' Historical Parade
Dedication of WEVE Radio Station
"Love Thy Neighbors" Pageant
"Merrykhana" Street Dancing and Community Sing

Saturday, August 2 "Civic Leaders and Governor's Day"

Registration and Procession to Memorial Park
Services in Honor of Pioneers Address by Governor Luther Youngdahl
"Five Fitzgeralds" Luncheon
Baseball Game
Golf Tournament
Open House Church Socials and Club Gatherings
Banquet at Hippodrome:
     Mayor Constantine's Address
     General Lewis C. Beebe
     Cedric Adams' Show, "Stairway to Stardom"     
     Congressman John Blatnik
     Address by Minneapolis Mayor Hubert Humphrey
Torchlight Parade and Street Dancing

Sunday, August 3 Final Day of Celebration

Homecoming Services at Churches Mammoth Parade
County-Wide Picnic at Lake Park
Main Address, General Lewis Beebe
Band and Drum Corps Exhibition
Walter Ridder, Washington Correspondent over ABC's System at More Stadium

Left to right: Bill Crider, Bill Ikola, Bob Forte, Donald De Paulis, Joe Buncich, Bill King, John Mattila, Glenn Anderson, Ray Vito, Louis Rannikar. Kneeling: Louis Pazelli, leader.

They Clowned Their Way to Fame

The famous Eveleth Clown Band was organized some time after the war. The extent of their travel is wide. In 1949, they appeared in 21 different communities. They paraded between halves of the Duluth Coffeville, Kansas football game and participated in the homecoming festivities at Menomonee, Wisconsin. In W. H.
DePaul's words, "They performed at and won national honors, medals, and acclaim at the National V. F. W. Convention in Miami, Florida, and then presented their comical antics before 50,000 howling fans in the Orange Bowl." They played at conventions, sportsman shows, athletic events, historic and holiday celebrations, and tennials of all kinds. They were appreciated and applauded by hundreds of thousands of people. They topped it all off by taking the National Championship for clown bands.


There have definitely been some excellent teams and players in football, track, basketball, baseball and in any other sport in this town, but the hockey story is
undoubtedly the most outstanding sport that has come of Eveleth. The first hockey playing in Eveleth started about the year 1903, and was played on a skating rink
owned by an individual who charged for the use of his sheet of ice. On rare occasions, some of these early Eveleth teams went over to play against Virginia on Silver Lake. Even then, Eveleth and Virginia were hot competitors. The first formal organization was formed in 1919. This became a member of the United States Hockey League. "The men who played on those early teams, went on to leave on the sports pages of America and the World, a record of accomplishment that will be remembered for many years," said Gilbert Finnegan. In one of the most severe depression years, there were 147 Eveleth boys playing hockey on professional, semi-professional, college and amateur teams all over the United States. Between 1926 and 1952, the Eveleth High School Hockey teams have won 335 games and lost only 26. Since the same year, the Eveleth Junior College team won 171 games and lost 28. The name Cliff Thompson will long be remembered by hockey fans in Eveleth. Coach Thompson's dedication to teaching young men how to play hockey the right way has won him respect and admiration all over the country. In 1951, Thompson was presented with a trophy at the Minnesota Sportsman's Show in Minneapolis. Brimsek, Lo Presti, Karakas, Mariucci, Papike, Palazzari, Sterle, Brink, Ericksen, De-Paul, Johnson, Jagunich, Johnson, Ahlin, Schaefer, Pleban, Finnegan, Celley, Grant, Almquist, Prelesnik, Matchefts, Martinson, Ikola, Mayasich, Silovich, Constantine, Suomi, McInnis, Toth, Gambucci, Deleo, Prebonich, Lampi, Rozinka, Malevich are just a few of the stars who came from Eveleth.

Cliff Thompson High School Championship Hockey Team in 1926-1927 - Eveleth Minnesota
This is the first Cliff Thompson High School Championship Team in 1926-1927. Seated left to right: Mike Karakas, Art Laituri, Bob Nelson, Sam Phillips, Andrew "Glee" Jagunich, Louis Prelesnik, Joe Bastanilli, Alex McInnis, Oscar Almquist. Standing: Cole R. VanGordon, Benny Constantine, Sandy Constantine, Allan Williams, Art Ericksen, and Coach Cliff Thompson.

Mining... How Eveleth Got Started

David T. Adams first explored in this area for a mining interest, acting for A. E. Humphreys. Following these explorations, the first test pits were sunk on October 1, 1892. This became Adams Number 1. In this early operation, Neil McInnis was pay master and purchasing agent. During the season of 1892-1893, 45 men were employed. With the Panic of 1893, Adams and McInnis did more testing, and the result was the opening of the Fayal Mine. On November 1, J. H. Hearding, W. J. Olcott, and C. E. Bailey arrived to look over the Adams Mine. Hearding was the superintendent for the Lake Superior Consolidated Iron Mining Company. On November 2, work began in this mine. On August 30, 1894, a railroad spur to the St. Clair Mine was completed and the first shipment of ore from any of Eveleth's mines was made. A total of 5,628 tons was hauled
to Two Harbors. In 1918, the Fayal and Genoa Mines were consolidated with the Adams, and they became known as the Eveleth District.
The Oliver Iron Mining Company, in 1925, had an underground auditorium at the bottom of Spruce Number 4's shaft. It seated 200 people and was used as a recreational room and for small banquets. The auditorium was Joseph Wilson's idea. The Junior Chamber received its charter at a meeting in this theater on October 30, 1939.
Another major event recalled is the closing of the Fayal underground mine in September, 1951. The 40-45 men working there were transferred to the Spruce Mine. A total of 33,000,000 tons of ore was taken out of the Fayal Mine.

Edwin (Capt.) Coombe issuing instructions on safety to miners before entering drift at the Genoa Mine Eveleth District.

Origin of the D. M. & I. R.

The Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway really had two separate beginnings. The first was the Duluth, Missabe and Northern Railway, organized in 1891 by the Merritt brothers. Since their discovery of iron ore in the Mountain Iron region, they became interested in mining. Their problem was how to transport the mined ore to ports in Duluth. They approached the Duluth and Winnipeg Railroad for a contract. As a result of this, the Duluth, Missabe and Northern Railway Company came into being without too much legal difficulty on June 11, 1891. The first company officers were: K. D. Chase, President; Leonidas Merritt, Vice President; S. R. Payne, Secretary; C. C. Merritt, Treasurer; and Moses E. Clapp, Counsel. The Merritts later decided to build to Duluth, and this proved to be a bigger project than they could handle. They not only lost their railway interests, but also their mining property. One of their last projects was the Superior Branch from Wolf to Hibbing in 1893. During the period of the Rockefeller ownership, the Proctor yard was completed and the Adams Branch into Eveleth opened in 1895.
The other separate beginning was the Duluth and Iron Range Railroad, formed in 1882 by the Charlemagne Towers, Senior and Junior. Its purpose was to haul ore from the Vermilion Range to Two Harbors. In 1895, operations extended to Eveleth, Biwabik, and eventually Virginia.
Each railroad ran separately until 1901, when the United States Steel Company acquired ownership of both roads. On January 10, 1930, the D.M.&N. Railway leased the D.&I.R. for 99 years. In 1937, President Charles E. Carlson made arrangements for incorporation of the two railroads. Charter papers were granted on July 1, 1937, forming the Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway.
The Eveleth depot, just off the main street, is now headquarters for the United Funds of Northeastern Minnesota. The organization coordinates activities of the funds on the Range. The site was turned over to the organization due to the lack of activity at the Eveleth railroad station in the past few years.

An early railroad picture taken in the Eveleth area.

From Iron Ore to Taconite

The Eveleth Taconite Company was organized as a Minnesota Corporation in 1963. It is owned jointly by Ford Motor Company (85%) and Oglebay Norton Company (15%), the Managing Agent.

Late in 1965 Eveleth's taconite mining and processing project was completed at a cost of approximately $45,000,000, all of which was private capital furnished by its joint owners. The project includes the Thunderbird Mine, which, together with the coarse crusher, is situated near Eveleth, Minnesota, and the Fairlane Plant, with its fine crushing, concentrating and pelletizing facilities, located near the St. Louis River, about ten miles south of Eveleth at Forbes, Minnesota.

Ford Motor Company's share of the pellet production is used in the blast furnaces of its steelmaking plant at River Rouge. Oglebay Norton's share is sold to ore consumers.

During the construction period, some 900 people were employed. Most employees were Minnesota residents. Eveleth now employs more than 400 men and women on a year round basis.

The company contributes more than $3,700,000 to the economy of Minnesota's Iron Range in annual payroll and taxes. Each year more than $10,000,000 is spent by the company for equipment, machinery, tools, goods and services, most of which is purchased from Minnesota businesses.

Eveleth Taconite Company's Thunderbird Mine near Eveleth Minnesota
An aerial view of the Eveleth Taconite Company's Thunderbird Mine near Eveleth, showing the coarse crusher building (lower right) and the taconite rock loading pocket (lower center), where the crushed rock is loaded in ore cars for its trip to the Fairlane plant for further processing. Mid-1960's.    Home Page    Contact Us    Privacy



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