Ely was founded as a mining town. The Lake Vermilion gold rush brought many pioneers to the area in 1865. Although hardly any gold was found, it was discovered that the area did contain large deposits of iron ore. Thousands of new immigrants came to America at this time. Soon they came to the Minnesota Iron Range looking for work.
Those opposed to mining have no interest in these historical facts. But it was the miners and their families who made Ely thrive, which allowed businesses to develop like Ace Hardware, barbershops, drug stores, Penney’s, Wards, Sears, etc. — and even Canoe Country Outfitters!