Thursday, August 18, 2011

Revisiting America

I had not researched Ely, Minnesota or this area other than reading the chapter in Kuralt's book, and now I'm finding out that this is quite a unique place.
But before I begin writing about certain places, I did visit Ely Baptist Church Sunday, now known as Ledgerock Community Church; maybe the name Baptist kept some from coming so the name change, that's what someone told me.  Very comtemporary service with guitars, a harmonica, accordian, piano, keyboard, off the wall music, film clips to enhance the message, very busy hour, but also a very good, timely message.  Their mission statement read,"to live empowered by God's Spirit to reach people for Christ."  Hopefully every church has this statement and purpose.
  Monday, Angela and I took a trip up the coast of Lake Superior to a resort town, Grand Marais.  Well, the drive, about an hour, was absolutely beautiful, the bluest water, coves and inlets, the greenest forest trees, scenic falls , even some swimming, the water was cold.  As pretty as it gets.  The little town of Grand Maris, a population of only 1,400, had the usual shops, eateries, boardwalk, sailboats, motels, but it was different.  You were so close to the water you could drive your car right in.  Ate lunch at
The Angry Trout Cafe, didn't ever find out the reason for the name.  Anyway, a nice day and reneged on going on to Duluth, Minn. though I would have loved to have seen the city, it was another two hours away.  The temperature was just right with a light sweater which I even hate to mention since Alabama is sweltering.
I forget that I'm the sole caretaker of my car and I must keep things checked so it was nice to find a station that would change oil, rotate tires, check filters, hoses, all that stuff.  My car is good to go on for the next phase.  And, of all things, I so dislike pumping my own gas, so a fill-up was done by the attendent while I was there.
This area is most important because of the discovery of the high-grade iron ore
which made Minnesota and Ely famous.  The first iron ore discovery was made in Ely about 1883, resulting in the movement of people and homes to the area.    
The Voyageurs, explorers, who traveled the border water lanes over 200 years ago, blazed the trails for the discovery of the rich iron ore which developed into the Vermillion Range. Now the modern voyageur- the fishmen, hunters and canoeists use Ely as the base of supplies into the roadless area of the Superior National forest .  It has become an outfitting center for vacationists and sportsmen eventhough it is , and always has been, a mining town.
Ely, like the other Range cities, is one of the melting pots of the nation.  Its lumbering, and mining attracted adventurous, enterprising and hardworking people virutally from all parts of the earth creating a working pool of men of all nationalities who worked side by side, many achieving and realizing their hopes and dreams, which America symbolized to them.  The culture of Ely is a composite of these many immigrant groups many of which have kept alive the old ways as they interweave with the current history.  There are Swedes, Finns, Norwegians, Irishmen, and Slavs with names like Larsen, Flachman, Berteison, Nikkola, Reinertsen, Reichensperger, Ulicsni to name a few( taken from the phone book).  Didn't see Jones, Henson, Schell, Beech, any ordinary names you can pronounce. 
Now, Twin Metals LLC, a combined venture of Duluth Metals Limited and international mining leader
Antofagasta PLC are developing to operate an underground copper, nickel and platinum mining project in Northeastern Minnesota.  This project will create large numbers of construction, engineering, exploration and long-term mining jobs for generations of Minnesotans, revitalizing the century-old mining industry of the area. These stragetic metals are essential elements in renewable energy applications such as wind turbines, hybrid and electric vehicles, batteries and mobile technologies.
This is considered a world class deposit with more than 4 billion tons of copper, nickel and other metal resources, the largest known undeveloped deposit of strategic metals in the world.  And another most positive aspect of the project is the commitment to protect the environment, using environmentally sound practices in every phase of the project.  A plus, of course, is the revenue that will be generated for state and local governments and local school districts.  This certainly won't happen over night though because it is now entering into year four of baseline studies and entering prefeasibility analysis.  It will be an interesting development to follow.
There is another thing I love about Ely.  The streets are so wide that there are two lanes of traffic and a lane on each side for cars to park.  It's such a welcome change after the many parking experiences I've had in other places.  And that makes the streets wide enough for u-turns without having to manuever or even back up.  I haven't checked about the legality of the u-turns, I've just seen others do it and have assumed it's legal.  There are only two police cars in the town also.
More later!


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