Minnesota's Lost Mining Towns – Full Documentary

Minnesota's Lost Mining Towns – Full Documentary

Sparta, Taconite Harbor, Genoa, Penobscot and Cooley live on in Northern Minnesota’s memory, although there are few physical remnants of the towns that claimed these names. These “locations”, as they were originally called, played a vital role in the development of the emerging mining industry on the Minnesota Iron Range. But, today, many of these locations are now only marked by grown over streets, an abandoned building, or have completely disappeared altogether, uprooted by the ever-changing needs of the mining industry.


  1. Dale olson on September 23, 2022 at 7:17 am

    What make people add background music,that is too loud ,to most otherwise good videos? Good content doesn’t need garbage music added.

  2. GUY BAKER on September 23, 2022 at 7:18 am

    My grandpa worked on the very 1st mine he retired from the mines Our family goes way back on the mines

  3. Marilynn Miller on September 23, 2022 at 7:18 am

    I would love to watch this but I need closed captioning. The CC on this video is a hot mess.

  4. Raven’s Treasure Chest on September 23, 2022 at 7:20 am

    PBS can you please upload Iron Country hosted by Marvin Llampa?? Thankyou

  5. Drain Monkeys on September 23, 2022 at 7:22 am

    I grew up on the iron range…marble

  6. D. Axt on September 23, 2022 at 7:23 am

    Communist propaganda. Those “poor” immigrants now have the most successful and prosperous descendants in the frickin world.

  7. Russell Markley on September 23, 2022 at 7:23 am

    I worked with Forrest Koland at US Steel. He was my Track Boss. He always had a funny way of explaining things but a great teacher.

  8. leadwithlove on September 23, 2022 at 7:23 am

    Where did the Natives go? Did any work in the mines?

  9. Litt Bittersøt on September 23, 2022 at 7:26 am

    My great grandfather, Paul Eagle Nelson, and my great grandmother, Carrie Nelson, lived in Orr. Their families came here from Norway. We visited them from the cities often in summer time. I really loved them. Eventually, I brought my 6 kids up to the range to live. My oldest son is now a millwright in the mines and doing so well for himself. I’ve often doubted myself for leaving the cities but this documentary has me feeling grateful and low key pretty proud that my kids and now grandchildren are being raised on the iron range. 😊 Thank you

  10. Sun Ray on September 23, 2022 at 7:30 am

    A couple of my uncle’s mined up there. One said there’s things that went on that he could never talk about or they’d kill him. I’m assuming some miners were killed mining or by disgruntled other miner then they just made the body go away.

  11. Irene Sieckert on September 23, 2022 at 7:32 am

    I am old and I remember Sparta Location near Ely Lake beach

  12. Fred Funk on September 23, 2022 at 7:33 am

    A wonderful documentary. Bringing a tear to eyes watching. Thank you so much. Really appreciate it. Shared on a media site to show how hard Minnesota immigrants worked years ago.

  13. Jaden J on September 23, 2022 at 7:35 am


  14. Ben Meneley on September 23, 2022 at 7:38 am

    My grandparents are Diane andLeroy Flug ….great great grandfather was Jasper Flug… Goodland and Pengilly area
    I love this place and will never leave

  15. Scott Anderson on September 23, 2022 at 7:38 am

    Fascinating. I just moved to the Iron Range and the people here are the salt of the earth. Originally from California. Big, big change for the better.

  16. Jonny Fettterrrmman on September 23, 2022 at 7:39 am

    I’m so glad I moved out of that state.

  17. Calvin Wongn on September 23, 2022 at 7:39 am

    Our Grandfather ran a restaurant and hotel called Holland Hotel and Restaurant in Virginia Mn. My siblings were born there too! However once he passed away the family moved out East in 1960s.

  18. Allan Davis on September 23, 2022 at 7:40 am

    I can only imagine how difficult life was in the mining industry of the time, but it also strikes me that, unlike other countries mining industry, the workers were not as badly treated by mine owners, they had virtually everything provided for them, although I think that had more to do with productivity and profitability than humanitarian reasons, homes, schools, entertainment, supplies etc etc etc, but what strikes me is that vast sums of money was spent to provide all this “workers welfare” and the mine owners were, obviously,still making huge profits, and I was wondering if they ever had to return the land back to some semblance of its original form, filling open cast mine craters, sealing up pit shafts, removing old equipment etc????, In addition there were obviously going to be deaths, whether that was from natural causes, industrial accidents, or health conditions, so it follows that there would be cemeteries, did they move those to new locations????, it just strikes me that almost overnight some locations would close and very shortly after the company’s would move everything, lock, stock and barrel to a new location without missing a beat, and whole towns would move like swarms of bees, it must have been incredibly hard to keep doing that????.
    Thanks for sharing another interesting and informative documentary film with us all. Really enjoying the whole series of films. 😀👍🇬🇧🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

  19. Norman Parthiban on September 23, 2022 at 7:41 am

    Couchsurfed with a family in the iron range. Met a lot of their friends and they all work in the mines. Really hospitable people.

  20. Philip Miles on September 23, 2022 at 7:43 am

    I miss the mine my dad was a miner from Wisconsin and it was called JCIC , it was an extension from the Minnesota mines and it was fascinating to see the miners hard at it blasting and seeing the iron ore was really interesting to see the operation . I sure as hell miss the mine it was good money .

  21. lady lo-fi on September 23, 2022 at 7:45 am

    It’s sad the way these very hard working people were exploited by these mining companies. They didn’t even own the land they lived on and had little control over their own fates. The towns they built such fond memories in were erased. I understand the nostalgia for simpler times, but wish there was a little more critical thought expressed about the economic system that did this to them and how unsustainable it is.

  22. Be on September 23, 2022 at 7:45 am

    Could still be like this. But you know…. Liberals, democrats, tree huggers, and Nazis racists in Minneapolis

  23. Ocean Rock on September 23, 2022 at 7:46 am

    My great-Grandfather owned a mining company here, married a German immigrant and raised six children in Duluth. He grew up in Quebec, immigrated into the US in 1885, by rail. Started out in logging then mining. At first he struggled, couldn’t come up with a $50 payment on some land, and a guy named Rockefeller bought his land. He would go prospecting in Nova Scotia sometimes. He was on a prospecting trip up in Ontario, Canada with a buddy and a canoe, got lost in the wilderness for 28 days. He died from exposure two days after he was found, age 67.

  24. Sun Ray on September 23, 2022 at 7:47 am

    Northern Minnesota is in my blood. Although my mom and dad moved down to the cities when they were young my favorite place is up there. It smells different up there. Different energy in the air. I don’t go up there enough. Still got cousins living up there but most my uncle’s and aunts are past on.

  25. Stephen on September 23, 2022 at 7:48 am

    what size tire & lift do have on van?

  26. rmsavig2204 on September 23, 2022 at 7:50 am

    Outstanding! Thank you.

  27. Austin Mclaen on September 23, 2022 at 7:51 am

    Unions, Democrats and environmentalists are the only ones to blame

  28. zoey on September 23, 2022 at 7:51 am

    I’m just watching this because I’m from Minnesota

  29. Jeep Commiehunter on September 23, 2022 at 7:53 am

    I grew up on lake vermilion. My folks owned vermilion beach resort back in the 70s went to school in tower! Moved out west colorado when i was 20 never looked back!

  30. David Huber on September 23, 2022 at 7:54 am

    They left alot of garbage behind when they scurried to the bank

  31. Keagan Guiley on September 23, 2022 at 7:55 am

    So glad to be from the iron range I grew up playing and swimming , cliff jumping in the old mines now I work in them

  32. TommyTwobats on September 23, 2022 at 7:55 am

    I want to know about mining communities. But they intrigue and sadden me. It is sad that things decline, but miners are always exploited. And this doco didn’t mention much if anything about the environmental damage these mining operations caused, and the legal trials in the 1970s. Still, I’m intrigued and I find myself wanting the community to hang on. The idea of a community is nice. And when it is gone something goes with it.

  33. Paul Money on September 23, 2022 at 7:57 am

    Super documentary, thanks. Boom and bust, that’s the way it goes.

  34. Jazz on September 23, 2022 at 7:59 am

    I love my state of Minnesota

  35. douglas macomber on September 23, 2022 at 8:00 am

    First of all, thank you for this video!! I love history and this sure was full of history in less than and hour!!! Its a shame that those houses towards the end had to be tore down. And or let the fire department practice fire fighting. Really looks like a very secluded area?
    I was taking back how the boarding house had 3 shifts of the same room lol. That was like wow!! What happened if one was sick? Or for some strange reason the mining company had to shut down? Say there was a accident (example) where would all 3 men sleep who shared that room in shifts? I think to much but really?? Great video! very well put together and interesting!!
    Ty for sharing history of America!! These kids today haven’t a clue what life was like 100 years ago and threw the 20 century. I had a shoe accessory factory in my house ( which my great uncle owned before my mom) it was in the basement. There were two motors (they actually still worked) with leather belts turning lathes and other equipment. Shoe machines of some sort? I was told 4 woman worked for him. I’ll be honest the furnace had asbestos wrapped around it and all the pipes?? Wow first thing my mom did was have all of it removed!! Anyway I don’t want to say were i grew up but it was shoe city biggest manufacturer’s of shoes in the world. Slowly I watched beautiful brick buildings converted to condos and a lot torn down. Its a beautiful city and we’ve had a great mayor for decades now. Hes a visionary!!!
    I grew up @ a time when a lot of change was going on in the world! Some good some bad. Ty for the history lesson!!🇺🇸

  36. Neal Blanchett on September 23, 2022 at 8:00 am

    Amazing that they popped up little outposts of civilization

  37. Joelle Holsman on September 23, 2022 at 8:02 am

    Born & raised in Grand Rapids Minnesota. Which butts right up to the Iron Range. Lived in a few Iron Range towns, Bovey, Taconite,Taconite, and Coleraine. Grew up swimming in Tioga & Buckeye pits. Loved growing up in the beautiful area.

  38. What’s your name on September 23, 2022 at 8:02 am

    Just south a little bit is Crosby,Cuyuna,Tromald mines lots of history in that area of Minnesota also. My Uncle watched my Grandfather die in Crosby.😞 my uncle tells amazing story’s about those times

  39. Barry Buetel on September 23, 2022 at 8:04 am

    I don’t see any reference on the map noting Elcor. My family, the Butala’s had to move from Elcor to Gilbert.

  40. Tim Elliott on September 23, 2022 at 8:04 am

    After seeing the methods and techniques used to mine ore post 1900… PLEASE explain to me how exactly, they mined all the brownstone block from say Duluth prior to 1900.

  41. John Connell on September 23, 2022 at 8:04 am

    I spent a bunch of time visiting friends in McKinley during the 70s and 80s. My grandparents grew up around Virginia. I had family scattered across the Range. This brought back some good memories! Thank you.

  42. Tim Elliott on September 23, 2022 at 8:04 am

    holy crap 12:13 fella just described a literal COMPANY OF ENSLAVEMENT. We’re even shown a photo of the armed guards. LOL
    @12:34 that photo is absolutely void of ANY and ALL joy! "You could tell by the looks of the peoples faces"…. Should you, the reader here, opt not to apply your indoctrination of "how things were then" and instead simply view said photo….. pretty CRYSTAL CLEAR!

  43. Jim Stokes on September 23, 2022 at 8:05 am

    Really good program! Thanks for sharing.

  44. Brent Francis on September 23, 2022 at 8:05 am

    Awesome documentary!

  45. Sherry Cambridge on September 23, 2022 at 8:07 am

    God Bless ‎Elston Gunn

  46. Bigmon Magoomba on September 23, 2022 at 8:07 am

    When I was a young kid in Duluth about 1960 I remember reading a help wanted ad in the paper for a school teacher on the Iron Range. “Must speak Finnish”, I remember it said.

  47. Great Horned Owl on September 23, 2022 at 8:08 am

    Wow, not unlike oil, coal, gold towns. Not unlike Santa Rio (Outlaw Jose Wales), when the gold and silver ran out, the money ran out. Taconite Harbor looked like Roseville MN 1960s. Rambler homes moved away like trailer homes. Tourist thing, Minnesota’s Ghost Towns. Thinking of reclamation, who would pay $$ for that old weathered wood.

  48. Rachelle Pisa on September 23, 2022 at 8:10 am

    I grew up in Eveleth and I have family still in Eveleth, Gilbert and Virginia. The last house I lived in with my mother in Eveleth was across the street from part of the Thunderbird mine and when I was a toddler my parents took us to the leonidas overlook in west Eveleth and I thought we were on the top of the world and everyone in my family has called it the top of the world ever since, it was always really fun bringing friends or serious boyfriends on the 3 hour trip up north to meet my family and to show them the mines and bring them swimming in Orebegon ❤

  49. monmixer on September 23, 2022 at 8:12 am

    Things haven’t changed much have they aside of the owners taking their money over seas to break every ones balls. Now they are back. some on let them all back in a few years ago. Allowed them to bring their money back. Not much has changed aside of it’s hard to move up into income today just going on to work an make an honest living unless you do nothing but work all day 6 days a week.

  50. Jamestown Virginia on September 23, 2022 at 8:13 am

    My family came from Ireland and we’re farmers but I’ll always be Minnesota strong and understand the things that happened up north. hockey got me an education in Michigan. I’ll never forget home, thank you. Silver bay🤔🤔🤔🤔a bit of a mess. Born in 1960, Minnesota is beautiful!

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