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Milestones

Ruins of Washburn "A" Mill after explosion, Minneapolis. Location no. MH5.9 MP3.1W r137
Ruins of Washburn "A" Mill after explosion, Minneapolis, 1878.

Hibbing
Prospecting
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The Hunt for Hidden Iron Ore
Prospecting is the first step in finding the best location for a mine. Prospectors dig test pits to find ore deposits rich enough to assure that a mine will be profitable.
Dangers of Mining
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A Dangerous Job that Built Hibbing
Mining has long been one of the most dangerous occupations. Miners on the Mesabi Iron Range worked long hours, all year round, in frequently dangerous conditions.
The Strike of 1916
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Refusing to Work, in the Name of Fairness
Protesting low pay and a contract system that forced miners to compete against each other, 8000 miners walked off their jobs in the Mesabi Range in the summer of 1916. Three months later they returned to the mines, having won only a few concessions from the steel companies.
Moving Hibbing
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In 1927, the entire town of Hibbing was relocated away from possible iron ore deposits. None of the new town was built on top of iron. Ethnicity
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They Chose Minnesota
The mining industry recruited workers in Europe, offering relatively high wages, and attracted large numbers of immigrants to jobs in the Iron Range mines.

Red Wing
The Civil War
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Red Wing Volunteers
Claiming to be the first regiment to answer the Governor's call for volunteers, the Red Wing regiment served with honor in many battles of the Civil War, including Gettysburg.
Sea Wing Disaster
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Disaster Strikes Red Wing
A violent summer storm on Lake Pepin caused the sinking of the steamer Sea Wing in July of 1890. The storm caused the deaths of over 100 excursioners who had been returning from a day trip. The accident captured the imaginations and interest of Minnesota residents for weeks.
Public Health
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Smallpox Vaccines in Red Wing
Charles Hewitt, a Red Wing doctor who had served with distinction in the Civil War, developed a lab in Red Wing to manufacture the smallpox vaccine. This vaccine was still in use years later by other Red Wing physicians who reported on the spread of the disease and the effects of vaccinations on patients.
Puffed Wheat
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Breakfast Science
Local inventor Alexander P. Anderson developed a process for puffing wheat grains. This process was patented and sold to what would become the Quaker Oats Company, which marketed it as a breakfast cereal. Puffed wheat and puffed rice are still sold on store shelves today.

St. Anthony
"A" Mill Explosion
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Finding A Way To Avoid Tragedy
In May of 1878, the Washburn A Flour Mill in St. Anthony exploded. Eighteen people inside the mill and in nearby buildings were killed in the blast and much of the surrounding area was leveled.
Hydropower
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Putting the Falls to Work
The use of waterpower in St. Anthony made it one of the largest milling districts in the United States. The beginnings of the mill industry in the area centered around the falls as a source of power.
Abolition
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The Eliza Winston Case
Conflict in Minnesota over slavery came to a boil in August 1860 when abolitionists helped the slave Eliza Winston escape from her owner, a Southerner on vacation at the Winslow House in St. Anthony.