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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
Collage of Local Legacies
CCC tree planting crew, circa 1930s
CCC tree planting crew, ca. 1930s. Photo courtesy Iron Range Research Center / A.W. Pryor Collection

Ironworld Discovery Center

The Center, located in Chisholm in northern Minnesota, is dedicated to the preservation of the history and heritage of the state's Iron Ranges, where open pit mining flourished until the mid 1970's. In 1900 the Mesabi Iron Range was the largest iron mining region in the world, and during World War II Minnesota produced over 75 per cent of the iron used in the war effort. As the iron deposits became mined out, taconite mining, which extracts iron from taconite via a complex mechanized process, gradually replaced "natural" open pit mining. The end of natural mining was also the end of an era that shaped the political, economic, and social structure of the region. That era is captured in the videotape Natural Iron Ore Mining: a Last Look, which documents the last two years of operation of the Denora Mine. A second video, Minnesota Civilian Conservation Corps: "We Can Take It", was produced in collaboration with Chapter 119 of the National Association of Civilian Conservation Corps Alumni. One of President Roosevelt's programs under the New Deal, the CCC enrolled young men between ages 18 and 25 for labor on public works projects. In Minnesota, over 4,000 young men restored and reclaimed millions of acres of cut-over forests and eroded farmlands. The CCC legacy is visible today, from the 25 million trees that were planted to the hundreds of miles of hiking trails, roads, and canoe portages that were built. Equally profound was the impact of the program on its participants, who are now proud, conservation-minded patriots.

The video combines interviews with these alumni, still photos, and motion picture footage to capture the CCC experience. Both videos are accompanied by background text placing them in historical context. They are submitted as examples of the kind of preservation done at the Center, which also produces exhibits, living history demonstrations, and archival collections.

Originally submitted by: James L. Oberstar, Representative (8th District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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