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Hawkins Mine Pit Overlook Being Revitalized in Nashwauk
Minnesota Ag Connection - 06/14/2018

The City of Nashwauk is restoring and expanding a heavily-visited landmark, Hawkins Mine Pit Overlook, which offers a sweeping and breathtaking view of a once active iron ore mine. Like all communities on Minnesota's Iron Range, Nashwauk has a rich mining history. Thousands of visitors each year stop at the overlook to view the open pit mine that has been reclaimed into a lake with deep, blue water and rock ledges that showcase the unique geological layers found in the region.

The overlook will receive a new elevated viewing deck with an ADA-accessible ramp, kiosks with historical and project donor information, a picnic area and mini mine-themed children's park, bike racks, and a refurbished parking lot. The project will be completed this fall, and a second phase renovation is being considered that could include a pavilion.

Hawkins Mine established Nashwauk as the first mining community to develop in Itasca County on the western Mesabi Range. The mine was named after E.B. Hawkins of Duluth, a state senator who was a well-known contractor and civil engineer in the region's mining industry. The first iron shipment from Hawkins occurred in 1902, and in 1903 Nashwauk was officially incorporated with a population of 220. The town quickly flourished with homes and businesses and by 1910 the population was 2,080. Hawkins first operated as an underground mine and eventually as an open pit mine. The mine closed in 1962 after 60 years of mining and producing hundreds of thousands of tons of iron ore that were transported by rail to the rest of the nation for the growth of America.

"We've received $12,000 in private donations for this community project. Many of the donors don't live in Nashwauk, but their grandparents and great grandparents worked in the Hawkins Mine," said April Kurtock, City of Nashwauk administrator. "Our community is very excited to honor Nashwauk's history for both our residents and tourists."

This project was supported by a Downtown and Business Corridor grant from Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation.

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