Iron Range
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Mines: Hull-Rust-Mahoning Mine

Location: Off Third Avenue East, Hibbing, St. Louis County
Built: 1895
Listed on NRHP: November 13, 1966

The world's largest open pit mine, the Hull-Rust-Mahoning Mine witnessed the development of strip mining technology. In its peak production years during World Wars I and II, the mine supplied as much as one-fourth of all the iron ore mined in the United States.

This area of the Mesabi Iron Range was explored in 1893-94, shortly after the first Mesabi ore was shipped from the nearby Mountain Iron Mine in 1892. Early underground mining at Hull-Rust-Mahoning soon gave way to strip mining, a process better suited to the soft, shallow ore deposits of the Mesabi. As the mines grew, the many open pits gradually merged into one and the area came to be known as the “Man-made Grand Canyon of the North.” Mine consolidation led in 1901 to the formation of U.S. Steel, then the world's largest corporation. The vast size of Hull-Rust-Mahoning also spurred development of the technologies used for open pit mining. It is here that the steam shovel was introduced.

Today the Hull-Rust-Mahoning Mine Historic District encompasses 53 mines, both underground and open pit. The original townsite of Hibbing also lies within the district boundaries. All that remains there are a few street and sidewalk remnants and building foundations. The village was moved in the 1910s to open the ore deposits beneath. The historic district, measuring roughly five miles by two miles, is inaccessible to the public but can be viewed from a nearby visitor's center.

 Minnesota Historical Society· 345 W. Kellogg Blvd.,
 St. Paul, MN 55102-1906·651-259-3000  Copyright ©  2007. Send questions/comments to

Click to go to larger photo of Hull-Rust-Mahoning Mine equipment in use
Click to go to larger photo of Hull-Rust-Mahoning Mine.
Click to go to larger photo og Hill-Rust-Mahoning Mine.
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