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Eveleth Minnesota - Brief HIstory of Our Community

Source: Donald M. Clark Unpublished Notes

The "Hill Top City" was named after Erwin Eveleth, a lumberman from Michigan who had been sent to purchase pine lands in the region. Eveleth has an altitude of 1.574 feet and a population of about 5.000 according to the 1980 census.

In 1892, with the discovery of iron ore in the region, a town was platted and incorporated about one mile south-west of the present location, on land now included in the Adam-Spruce Mines (Douglas Avenue-between Jones and Monroe streets). Unfortunately, the disastrous financial panic of that year coincided with the founding, and the tiny settlement was hard pressed to survive. No new buildings were added to the four or five that formed the nucleus and at time food was so scarce that residents were reported to have existed solely on moose meat. Mail service at this time was practically discontinued; the only letters to arrive came by way of Virginia and dog sled.

The first council meeting was held in the backroom of a store on October 25, 1894. The village hall, built a year later, was a two story frame building that cost $659.69.

The first church services to be conducted in Eveleth are believed to have been held by Rev. D.J. Gary, a Methodist minister, during the summer of 1894. Rev. Gary came from Virginia and held services in the rear of a drug store. The first school, a frame shack, was opened in 1895, with Florence Kent as the first teacher. The More Hospital was established in 1895 by Dr. C. W. More. Dr. More arrived in Eveleth in June of 1894 from Virginia by way of mine trails.

In 1895, iron ore was discovered beneath their town site, and five years later the village was moved to its present day location. Men of all nationalities worked side by side in the mines. From 1900 to 1910, the population increased from 2,752 to 7,036. The community was incorporated as a city in 1902. It is a city of the fourth class operating under a home rule charter.

Mining was Eveleth's chief industry for many years. The open pit method was the favored process here. Visitors can still view the colorful man-made excavations from whose depths millions of tons of iron ore have been taken and hauled by rail to Duluth, sixty miles away. The Adams-Spruce Mines are a combination of seven properties, and was operated by both underground and open pit methods. The Leonidas Mine, the deepest underground mine in the world at this time (1890's) had reached a depth of over 650 feet. Today with the development of low grade ore called "taconite" mining is again Eveleth's chief industry.

Among the cities first and outstanding public buildings was the City Hall, erected in 1906 and remodeled in 1921 at a cost of $60,000. Eveleth has in its school system a senior high, an elementary school, an industrial arts building, the first state of Minnesota school devoted entirely to boys work shop, and in the fall of 1970, an are Technical Institute located east of the city on highway #53. In 1989, The Technical Institute became the Eveleth Technical College. The former Lincoln School was remodeled for the East Range development achievement center which holds special classes for the handicapped and mentally challenged from youth to 70 years of age. As of 1986, the Eveleth/Gilbert school are trying to merge, whereby each community would keep their elementary school and Eveleth would have the high school and Gilbert would have the junior high.

The Eveleth Recreation Building was the first of its kind on the Mesabi Range. Depending on the time of the year, it had roller skating and public dances, ice skating, hockey and curling. Right after World War II, it was remodeled and became an Arrow plant (a division of Cluett, Peabody and Co., Inc.) They manufactured Arrow men's underwear and shirts. At a later date (1964) they also took over the City Auditorium and manufactured Arrow pajamas. In 1978, Arrow closed its operations on the Mesabi Range. The Recreational Building for a time was being used by FoamTech, making products for furniture. Today the building in it's original condition is being used as an indoor storage facility.  The Auditorium is now being used by Polar Enterprises, which does logos for clothing.

The Hippodrome, remodeled at a cost of approximately $160,000 in 1985 was probably one of the first of its kind in Minnesota. This building is used as a hockey arena with an artificial ice sheet measuring 85' x 190'. It seating capacity is 3,000. It is also used for basketball tournaments and curling bonspiels. Eveleth is known as the "Hockey Capital of the Nation" as it has such American hockey greats as Frank Brimsek, Sam Lo Presti, John Mariucci, John Mayasich, and Mike Karakas. Down through the years since the first Eveleth High School team enjoyed a measure of success exemplified by five state championships in the thirteen appearances in the state tournament. Highlighting this success has been two long victory streaks, one of 58 games and one of 78 games over a period of four years. In 1956, Eveleth natives John Mayasich, John Matchefts, and Willard Ikola joined coach John Mariucci in bringing the United States a silver medal in the Olympic Games. In 1960, John Mayasich again played for the U.S. Olympic team and this time winning the coveted gold medal. Another Eveleth native, Mark Pavelich, played on the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" U.S. Olympic team again winning the gold medal. Both gold medals are on display in the United States Hockey Hall of Fame. This great hockey background has resulted in this city being selected as the site for the United States Hockey Hall of Fame, a facility honoring both amateur and professional players, as well as administrators of the sport with emphasis on the American born. There are eleven Eveleth hockey greats enshrined in the Hall.  Eveleth is also known as the "Friendliest City on the Range" and never allows a stranger within its gates to remain a stranger for long.