Thursday, August 15, 2013

On This Date in Minnesota History: August 15

August 15, 1893 – “Hibbing was incorporated as a village [on this date]. It was the eighth town on the Mesabi that began to function. Mr. J. F. Twitchell, a railroad construction timekeeper, was the first town president. By spring of 1895, there were 1,000 people in town and it jumped to 6,000 in one year.”1

Hibbing was named in honor of Frank Hibbing, its founder. “He was born in Germany in 1857; came to the United States with his parents when a boy; engaged in lumbering in Duluth, and also acquired large interests in the Mesabi iron mines; discovered the Hibbing ore beds in the autumn of 1892; died in Duluth, July 30, 1897.”2

Frank Hibbing

Born in Germany in 1856, Franz Dietrich Von Ahlen immigrated to Wisconsin in 1874 after assuming his mother’s maiden name of Hibbing, believing it to sound more “American” and thus more acceptable. Work as a timber cruiser led the renamed Frank Hibbing to Duluth in 1887 and eventually to the Mesabi Iron Ore Range by 1892 where he began exploring for deposits of iron ore.

“I believe iron is underneath me. My bones feel rusty and chilly.” Frank Hibbing prophetically proclaimed after drinking water from a nearby creek.

On June 6, 1893, Hibbing filed papers in Duluth to plat a town site later incorporated as the village of Hibbing on August 15, 1893.

Historical Photo Display near Hull-Rust-Mahoning Open Pit Iron Mine,
Hibbing, Minn.


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