Fishing at the lake

Summer on the Iron Range has always meant fishing. It was a successful day at Kelly Lake for these fishermen who show off their catch and also the car which one of these men must have been proud to own. Special thanks to the Kelly Lake Community Club for this photo.

Despite the snow this week, we KNOW summer is coming! There are few places more beautiful than Northern Minnesota in the summer, notwithstanding the mosquitoes. Very soon the trees will be bright with leaves, the air will be soft with warm breezes, and the lakes—well, can anyone really describe the glory of a northern lake on a summer evening?

Ever since white pioneers began to settle here, the lakes were highlighted in their journals and letters home. Just as for the native peoples, lakes and rivers provided food and recreation, besides being the highways before trails were cut through the forests.

On May 11, 1858, Minnesota entered the Union as the 32nd state. Its name was derived from the Dakota Indian word “minisota” meaning “water that reflects the sky” or “sky-tinted water”. Of course, our license plates say “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” but in fact there are 15,291 lakes larger than 10 acres. So this state is certainly one of water.

It is also a state of playgrounds and pastures, forests, campgrounds and trails. It’s a great place to walk, run, bike, swim, and ski. With those blue skies and blue waters, it’s a place where a person can enjoy sitting, too.

Settlers in northern Minnesota were soon aware of the need to keep waterways clean and protected. The following article is taken from the Hibbing Daily Tribune, July 14, 1910. The Commercial Club referred to in the article was the forerunner to today’s Chamber of Commerce.

We can be grateful for the foresight of these people. Readers will quickly realize that the area of land discussed here would, eventually, become the nucleus for McCarthy Beach State Park. Artifacts found in the park date back more than 10,000 years. It reminds us that people have treasured these lakes and surrounding land for a long, long while.

~ Mary Palcich Keyes

Commercial Club of Hibbing and Other Towns on the Range Awake to Need of a Large Tract Being Preserved From the Woodman’s Axe

The Commercial Club of this city is boosting a plan to have a portion of the land in the vicinity of Sturgeon Lake set aside as a natural park. Because of the mining and logging operations on the Range, it is a matter of only a few years before all of the desirable land will be scarred by the industrial army and so the commercial clubs of several towns are keenly alive to the fact that action must be brought to bear at once.

The particular piece of acreage that is under contemplation as a sort of “Range Reserve” is one of the most beautiful spots in the northwest and is covered with tall stately trees, affording cool, shady nooks and forming a very charming place for picnic parties and campers.

Little attention has been paid to the encroachment of the axe and if the sacrifice is not stopped on some of the chief beauty spots, there will be little of the beauties of Nature in evidence five years from now.


Thirty-four years later, the concern about that “beauty spot” at Sturgeon Lake was still in the news. The following article comes from the Hibbing Daily Tribune on October 11, 1944.

World War II was raging in Europe and the South Pacific at this time. D-Day had just occurred in June. The mines of the Iron Range were producing vast amounts of iron ore for the war effort. Everyone waited nervously for news about their family and friends who were in war zones overseas.

In the midst of all of that, protecting a natural area was still on people’s minds. The owner of the property, John McCarthy, died in 1943. Lumber companies were eager to buy the land. So local folks began to raise money to buy it, preserving it for recreational purposes.

Local Chamber Opposes Cutting of Timber Area

The Hibbing Chamber of Commerce, joining with the Junior Chamber of Chisholm, the Senior Chamber of Chisholm, and the Legion and VFW, have gone on record opposing any additional cutting of timber on the so-called McCarthy beach, located at Sturgeon Lake.

At the meeting held Tuesday, the Chamber cast a unanimous vote raising objections to the cutting of this last beautiful stand of timber and asking the State to designate the area a public park in order that the beauties of the Sturgeon Lake country may be preserved for the people who reside there and the hundreds of servicemen who will return to seek recreation and enjoyment in the north woods of Minnesota.

The Chamber president, I.R. Sher, appointed a committee to cooperate with all other clubs and organizations protesting the despoliation of timber beauties in the Sturgeon Lake area.


In the Hibbing Daily Tribune of July 17, 1964, an editorial extolled the beauty to be found around the Iron Range and the need to take care of that beauty. Bert Ackerson was the managing editor of the newspaper, so there’s a good chance he was the writer of the following. Fifty-five years after this piece originally appeared, it is still perfectly true for us today.

Keep Outdoors in Good Shape

“Summer time and the livin’ is easy,” the song says. Well, not always.

But summer time does give the people of this area the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and the elbow room with which they are blessed. We can feel sorry for the people caught in the city canyons with hot pavement and tall buildings.

There are lakes within easy driving distance, and thinking room is within walking distance.

Let us count our blessings and then remember some of the things we need to do to preserve them. Let’s leave our parks and playgrounds and camping areas in as good a condition as we find them. The bird that fouls his own nest is not given much credit for intelligence.

Remember that bottles and glass last forever and make a sort of eternal litter. Cans last a long time and now they have aluminum tops, so they too are crowding eternity.

Children should be instructed not to litter the outdoors as they are undoubtedly instructed about the indoors. After all, if the beaches, campgrounds and roadsides become secondary garbage dumps, they are the ones who must live with these conditions the longest.


Looking Back

The following items are taken from the Hibbing Daily Tribune or the Mesabi Ore, which are on microfilm at the Hibbing Public Library and/or Iron Range Resource Center at the Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm.


December 13, 1918

In comparison with the fee paid in other states, the Minnesota auto license fee is a joke. An auto license fee is currently based on the horsepower of automobiles, running from $6.00 to $25.00 per car. This sum, together with the increases bound to come with the increases in the number of cars in the state- and who can doubt that there will soon be an increase of at least 50% in the number of autos here- this sum will pay back any bonds the state may authorize to convert every major highway into a hard-surfaced road.


August 19, 1939

The Buhl Bocce Ball Club has arranged a series of inter-city games beginning on Saturday at 8 p.m. when an Eveleth group comes over to Buhl. On Sunday, the exponents of the Italian sport go to Chisholm. Virginia is visited on Wednesday; while a week from Saturday Chisholm will travel to Buhl. Ten teams from each community will participate in these matches.


July 6, 1960

Special training school for Great Northern Railroad detectives will be a regular procedure in the future with the courses being offered at Superior, Wis. More detectives are needed as the past generation is beginning to retire in large numbers.


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