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Hibbing, Minnesota was founded by a German immigrant named Frank Hibbing in 1893[1]. Frank Hibbing was born Frans Dietrich Von Ahlen in 1857, but to honor his mother who died when he was an infant, he took her name when he came to America[2]. He left for the United States at the age of 18 and settled in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin where he worked on a farm and at a shingle mill[3]. While working at the shingle mill he was involved in an accident that took off three of his fingers, leaving only his thumb and little finger[4]. Frank Hibbing had dreams of becoming a lawyer, but language barriers proved to be too difficult for him to overcome, and he eventually gave up that dream[5]. He later began to get involved in the timber industry[6].

In 1887, Frank Hibbing moved to Duluth, Minnesota where he became a real estate salesman; this ended up bringing him further north into the Vermillion range[7]. In 1890, Hibbing heard that ore had been discovered in Mountain Iron, but it wasn’t until 1892 that he came to the Mesabi Range[8]. At that time, he and thirty men embarked on an undertaking to cut a road from Mountain Iron to an area named Section 22[9]. It was on this trip that Frank Hibbing found iron ore and recognized what a large impact it would have on the area’s economy[10]. He said of his discovery, “I believe there is iron ore under me, my bones feel rusty and chilly,” and he began to purchase land leases[11]. On August 15, 1893 a town site was created in that area and named after Frank Hibbing[12]. Hibbing took a great deal of pride in his town, so much so that he personally financed the first roads, water plant, electrical plant, hotel, saw mill, and bank building[13].

Frank Hibbing remained in Duluth after the founding of Hibbing, but always kept in close contact with his town until he died of appendicitis on July 30, 1897 at the age of forty[14]. A park was dedicated to Frank Hibbing in 1940 where statue of him, made by Hibbing native Robert Mitchell, was erected at its center[15].


[1] “Minnesota Ghosts.” 2010. 2 December 2010. http://www.minnesotaghosts.com [2] “Minnesota Ghosts.”


[3] “Duluth and St. Louis County, Minnesota.” 14 December 2010. http://www.books.google.com


[4] “Duluth and St. Louis County, Minnesota.”


[5] “Minnesota Ghosts.”


[6] “Minnesota Ghosts.”


[7] “Minnesota Ghosts.”


[8] “HMdb.org.” 2010. 7 December 2010. http://www.hmdb.org


[9] “Minnesota Ghosts.”


[10] “Minnesota Ghosts.”


[11] “HMdb.org.”


[12] “HMdb.org.”


[13] “Minnesota Ghosts.”


[14] “Minnesota Ghosts.”


[15] “Hibbing>We’re Ore and More.” 2010. 16 December 2010. http://www.hibbing.mn.us

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