Mesabi Daily News
In a Nov. 27 article in the Star Tribune (“Loved and loathed, she’s drawn line in BWCA”), anti-mining activist Becky Rom claimed that when she meets with members of Congress and officials at the Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Land Management, or Department of the Interior, she and her fellow advocates “always say, ‘Hi, we’re from Ely.’ ”
Well, Ms. Rom: Hi, I’m from Ely, too! 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. When the Duluth, Mesabi and Iron Range Railway extended its rails from Tower to Ely in 1888, Ely began mining operations with the opening of the Chandler Mine. Ore was shipped to docks on Lake Superior in Two Harbors and Duluth.