Chisholm is located in the center of the "Mesabi Iron Range". Surprisingly enough, however, it was not ore, but timber that first attracted people to the town site. Before 1882 the town site of what is now Chisholm was covered by a forest of tall pine trees and some birch trees. During the next few years, powerful lumber barons sent cruisers to the area to explore for the giant pines that were the very foundation of their power, and although it is doubtful whether the cruisers found any signs of iron ore, their discoveries did find lumber.
E.J. Longyear, after whom the lake is named, explored the present site of Chisholm in 1892 and discovered the first mine there, the Pillsbury. The first shipments of iron ore took place in 1898 on the Great Northern Railroad between Chisholm and Duluth.
The city of Chisholm was named after a man named Archie Chisholm, who had been working in Ely around 1888. He migrated to Hibbing in 1894. Later he discovered the Chisholm mine around 1900. Following the opening of the Chisholm Mine he went on to develop the townsite of Chisholm. Chisholm was incorporated as a village on July 23, 1901. By 1908, the town site (city) of Chisholm had grown to nearly 500 buildings. On April 2, 1905, the First National Bank opened for business, and on, July 1, the first Duluth, Missabe & Northern railway train arrived in the City of Chisholm. As time went on, new mines were discovered, ore shipments skyrocketed and the new town prospered.
In the fall of 1908 a major fire disaster struck the thriving and growing town with a force that all but swept it from the map. Following the great fire of 1908, the town fathers' ordered strong building code requirements that lead to a rebuild of the town which focused on brick buildings to protect the community from future fires. After the great fire of 1908, the city of Chisholm grew to 10,000 residents during its' prime of the 1920's.
Tourism is a major industry in the Chisholm area today as well as the ferrous metals industry. The locally operated "Museum of Mining" has a large collection of mining equipment donate by mining companies. The "Ironworld Interpretive Center" specializes in the ethnic history of the people of the Iron Range.
Approximately 90 lakes within 25 miles of Chisholm offer fishing and relaxation to tourists.
Today, the Iron Range is entering into very exciting times as the ferrous metals market continues ramping up. With the entry of nonferrous precious metals (such as: gold, silver, platinum, palladium, copper and nickel) a whole new world of opportunities exists. Futures are looking positive. Growth will focus on the ferrous metals in the central and eastern range with the nonferrous metals focusing on the eastern range running north from near Hoyt Lakes to Babbitt and ending in the Ely, Minnesota area.
A new beginning for the Minnesota Iron Range.
Click on the links below for news from when the city was young.
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