The History of Erie Mining Company (Hometownfocus.us – May 29, 2015)

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A project to document the history of the pioneering research, preliminary pilot plant, and construction and operation of the world’s first completely integrated taconite mine.

In early 2014, a team of willing and dedicated former Erie Mining Company/ LTV Mining employees began meeting monthly at the Hoyt Lakes City Hall. The team set as its purpose to document the initial development of Minnesota’s taconite Industry by preparing a history of the pioneering research, construction and operation of Erie Mining Company and the establishment of the town site of Hoyt Lakes.

Partnering with the St. Louis County Historical Society, the group established a goal of publishing a quality book, containing both the technical and pictorial history of the mine, plant site, railroad, power plant and harbor, town sites of Hoyt Lakes, Taconite Harbor, and Murphy City as well as the personal stories and experiences of the employees, contractors, vendors, and “town folk” who built and operated one of the world’s largest and most innovative green field mining operations, and one of our nation’s largest private capital enterprises of the past century.

The group contacted local historians, the Minnesota Historical Society and others, who confirmed that there are no comprehensive, historically accurate books documenting the history of the Erie Mining Company, or for that matter, any of Minnesota’s taconite mining and processing operations.

All felt that preserving that history is extremely valuable, and will serve as a future research resource, since Erie Mining Company had wide historical and economic significance not only in Northeastern Minnesota and on the American iron ore and steel industry, but also on the nation’s economy and security.

According to several local Iron Range historians, “This is a project that needs to be done, Minnesota has a rich mining heritage, however, the era of the taconite pioneers is passing all too swiftly and their experiences need to be recorded and preserved now or they will be lost forever.”

Documenting the history of the Erie Mining Company, will preserve that history locally, statewide and nationally, and will have educational value for secondary schools, universities and Schools of Mines.

In addition to telling the story of Erie Mining Company, an equally important project goal is to share the importance and impact of Minnesota’s mining heritage and its unfolding potential with future generations by distributing, free of charge, approximately 2,700 copies of the book to secondary school and college libraries across the State, and to all of the public libraries located in the Arrowhead Region.

The historical significance of the Erie Mining Company’s contribution to the iron mining industry in Minnesota has been best described by Dr. E. W. Davis, former Director of the Mines Experiment Station, University of Minnesota. In an article published in 1949 by the Electric Machinery Manufacturing Company, Dr. Davis stated:

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