The Red Cross

The Red Cross was an active organization in Hibbing beginning in the early 20th Century. This wonderful photo is undated. However, a major contribution of the Red Cross in times of war has been producing bandages used in field dressings and hospitals. If you look carefully at the blackboard on the right, you can read "4 X 4 Compress" and directions for putting together that type of bandage. "Bandage rolling," as this sort of activity was referred to, was a very significant help to the war effort. The dresses, hats, and shoes also help us to place the date of the photo to around World War I or soon after. If you can identify any of the hard-working volunteers in this photo, please contact the Hibbing Historical Society.

Every day on Page 2 of the Hibbing Daily Tribune is the Community Calendar. Taking the time to read through all of the organizations represented in those events, a person realizes that there are a lot of good things going on in Hibbing. Clubs have always been a big part of good things in this community.

In the Tribune of February 15, 1950, a list made up of multiple columns appeared. The newspaper had attempted to compile the names of all organizations in Hibbing. Whether a group was affiliated with a church, whether it was a civic organization, whether it was large or small, all groups were welcomed into the listing. A contact person for each group was also included.

It’s quite wonderful to realize, reading through that exhaustive list today, that many of those clubs and organizations still exist. There are still people enjoying being a part of these groups. But also, for one reason or another, some of the groups in the 1950 listing have disappeared from Hibbing.

Edith Mancini of the Hibbing Daily Tribune staff wrote the introduction to the list. Following her introduction I have included here just a very few of the many, many organizations listed in the newspaper that day in 1950. Following the listing are a few “thumbnail sketches” of organizations. These descriptions appeared through the years in other editions of the newspaper.

~ Mary Palcich Keyes

Being a Part of What’s Happening

The telephone rings at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Average Hibbing Citizen.

The conversation might go something like this:

“Hello. Yes, this is Mary. No, sorry, I can’t make it tonight. Tomorrow night? Let’s see. No, Joe will be busy then.”

Mary and Joe have declined a canasta date. (Just so you know, the names chosen were chosen by Edith Mancini and THIS Mary and Joe know NOTHING about canasta and we were not even born when this article first appeared!)

Like the average Hibbing citizen, Mary and Joe belong to clubs, and the life of a club member is an active one, so much so that there are times when a flip of a coin determines what meetings or which functions to attend.

They are members of one or more of upwards of 250 clubs and organizations in Hibbing which enables our village to lay claim to the title of “the clubbiest community in the world!” We often wondered just how many clubs there were in Hibbing, and have arrived at the figure 250 after exhaustive research.

The clubs and organizations in Hibbing are of a varied nature – civic, service, veterans, religious, welfare, cultural, social, and fraternal.

Instilled with community spirit, all of them have a common objective – to better the community, and at the same time add to the enjoyment of everyday living.

In addition to this list there are Parent–Teacher Organizations at eight grade schools, plus a managing Council of the PTA.

There are also Y-Clubs (Youth Club) for each grade 7 through 10.

Further, there are at least 30 smaller church circles, about 25 unions, and many Inter-Range clubs in which Hibbing is well represented in regular and executive capacities and which add to the busy schedule of the local citizens.

The Hibbing Memorial Building, which is the site for many clubs’ functions, records 745 meetings conducted in the building during 1948, with an overall attendance of 26,171 people. Jess T. Porteus, director for the Hibbing Recreation Department, predicts figures comparable to those for the current 1950 year. The report for last year’s activities in the building has not yet been completed, so 1949’s attendance figures cannot be shown at this time. Porteus also said, ”There are times when every available room in the building is occupied by some club or another.”

The list we managed to compile follows, with each organization’s name being accompanied by the name of the president or someone acting in a similar capacity, or the secretary. But it isn’t improbable that some clubs have been overlooked or leaders have changed.

Find a way to improve yourself, your family, your community. Learn about the groups active around our area and you will find all sorts of ways to make friends and be a part of what’s going on in this “clubbiest” of communities!

American Association of University Women, Helen Gohres.

American Legion post, Richard Thiel.

Auditor’s Community Club, Bruno Grillo.

Book Review Club, Mrs. A. Sinamark

Chess and Checker, Robert Jackson

Civil Air Patrol Cadets, Grover Hines.

Cobb-Cook Garden Club, Mrs. Arthur Dahl.

Elks, Walter Larson.

Girl Scout Council, Mrs. Mario Retica.

Hadassah, Mrs. Abe Zimmerman.

Hibbing Concert Band, Orfeo Befera.

Hibbing Druggists’ Association, Glade Lenz.

Izaak Walton League of Kelly Lake, W. Busha.

Ladies of Kaleva, Mrs. Elizabeth Ruoho.

League of Women Voters, Mrs. Basil Young.

Minnesota Finnish Historical Association, Arnold Seppa.

Navy-Marine Mothers’ Club, Mrs. E. Baker.

Odd Fellows’ Lodge, Wilfred Wirtanen.

Power Road Ladies Club, Mrs. Larry Rodby.

Pool Social Club, John Pasch.

Presbyterian Westminister Fellowship, Mary Ann Harms.

Red Cross, Basil Young.

Slovenian National Benefit Society, Peter Chopp

Spudville-Swandale Farm Club, Eino Lauhala

St. James Vestry, Bill Taylor.

Sturgeon Lake Improvement Society, Frank Robertson.

Tuesday Musicale, Ellen Johnson Rosevear

Wells-Woodland Teen-Age Club, Richard Edmonds.

Women’s Christian Temperance Union, Mrs. Ray Saari.

Young People’s Club of Immaculate Conception Church, Mary Vecchi.

(A reminder that this is just a list of 30 of the 250 organizations listed in 1950!)


Learning a Little About Some Clubs


The Hibbing Co-operative Club was organized October 15, 1930, with a membership of 18. The present membership is 35.

The Club meets regularly the first Monday of each month, usually at the home of some member.

The organization is affiliated with the Northern States Women’s Co-operative Guild and clubs.

The activities include social and educational: co-operative youth camps and institutes; co-op-month programs; International Women’s Day Team and socials, the regional co-operative festival; discussion groups and lectures by prominent speakers; an annual bazaar; a permanent County Fair booth serving lunches during fair time. The organization also sponsors and donates to local authorized drives, such as the Red Cross, bond drives, etc. It co-operates with all other co-operative groups, including the co-op store and its Board of Directors.

The officers are: Mrs. Henry Wuoppio, president; Matt Pukkila, vice-president; Mrs. Charles Somppi, secretary; Miss Nelmi Kovanen, treasurer.

Vasa Lodge

Tegner Lodge Number 167 Vasa Order of America, a fraternal and benefit organization, was organized January 5, 1910.

The following are its first officers and charter members:

John H. Nelson, president; Peter N. Eklund, vice-president; Hans Olson, secretary; Leander Johnson, treasurer; Carl H. Olson, chaplin; Oscar Pearson, master of ceremonies; John Sacriason, inner guard; Mrs. Leander Johnson, John H. Nelson, Mrs. Amanda Johnson, August Martinson, Elizabeth Pearson, Carl Palmer, Swan Johnson, Fred Palmer.

The Lodge held regular meetings twice a month at Esparmer Hall until 1921 when it changed its meeting place to the Odd Fellows Temple. From the very beginning it had steady growth and now has a paid membership of 185.

The Lodge boasts, among its dinners and music evenings, a women’s drill team directed by Hilding Kilander that, whenever called upon, has given its services to all lodges in the district, as well as to many civic and community affairs.


On January 31, 1928, the Washington Elm Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution was organized in Hibbing with 17 women as charter members.

The name “Washington Elm Chapter” was selected for the purpose of keeping alive the old elm trees under which George Washington took command of the American Army in 1775.

In 1931, three years after the chapter was organized, it was decided to plant a living memorial of that tree in Hibbing. It had originally stood in Cambridge Square in Boston and died about 1922. But before the old tree toppled to the ground, an elm expert had taken scions and planted and cared for them carefully. So, in June, 1931, a descendant of that famous tree was presented to the Village of Hibbing by the Washington Elm Chapter of the D.A.R. Today it stands as a living memorial in front of City Hall. The iron fence which encloses it is marked by a copper plate which reads: “Under the parent of this tree, General George Washington first took command of the American Army on July 3, 1775.”

I remember often reading that plaque as I would walk by the front steps of the City Hall. I am still trying to locate information about when the tree died and had to be removed. I think it may have happened in the 1980s when Dutch Elm Disease devastated so many of our beautiful elm trees. Anyone with information, please contact me at


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