Hibbing ’s Hull Rust Mahoning Mineview overlooks the world’s largest operational open pit iron ore mine. Since the first ore was shipped in 1895, more than 1.5 billion tons of earth have been removed, creating a cavity over 3.5 miles long, 1.5 miles wide, and over 500 feet deep.
At its WWII peak, around one quarter of all the ore mined in the United States came out of the 30 separate mines that composed the “Grand Canyon of the North.”
The Mesabi Range’s first strip mine remains one of the few in operation, and the Hibbing Taconite Company still extracts eight million tons of ore a year. Volunteers, including some retired miners, staff the little visitors center (401 Penobscot Rd., 218/262-4166, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily summer, free admission) and love to answer questions. Old mining equipment, including a truck that could haul 170 tons—the trucks in the mine today carry 240—is on display outside.
To reach the National Historic Landmark, follow 3rd Avenue East north from downtown for two miles. You’ll pass the old city center on the way. Two-hour mine tours ($5) are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the summer. They depart at noon from Minnesota Discovery Center in nearby Chisholm , and reservations (218/254-7959 or 800/372-6437) are required. Children must be age 10 or older.
The Hibbing Historical Museum (400 E. 23rd St., 218/263-8522, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Mon.–Fri. summer, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Mon.–Thurs. rest of year, $4 adults) is small, but definitely worth visiting to see the scale model of Hibbing as it was in 1913, shortly before the move.
While there, pick up the Historical Walks brochure, which details two dozen noteworthy buildings around downtown. One of these is Hibbing High School (800 E. 21st St.). Education was a priority for the immigrant miners and, as part of the payoff for relocating the city, citizens demanded the best school possible. Construction on the castle-like structure began in 1920; three years and $3,927,325 later the “Palace in the Wilderness” was complete.
The remarkable edifice features marble floors, brass railings and doorknobs, murals, statuary, and other ornate interior details, though the coup de grace is the 1,800-seat auditorium—a nearly exact replica of New York City’s Capitol Theater, the city’s grandest opera house of that age. Its Barton vaudeville organ has 1,949 pipes and is one of just two left in existence, while the crystal chandeliers are valued at $250,000 each.
During the summer the building is generally open during the day, and you can just pop in anytime to look around—the auditorium is in the south wing, and the janitors are used to pointing people the right way. You can usually take a look during the school year too, but stop by the principal’s office first.
In 1914 Carl Wickman began shuttling people between Hibbing  and the new community of Alice for 15 cents in his Hupmobile car. This simple two-mile route was the beginning of Greyhound Bus Lines, and the whole story is told in the Greyhound Bus Museum (1201 Greyhound Blvd., 218/263-5814, www.greyhoundbusmuseum.org , 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 1–5 p.m. Sun. May–Sept., $4 adults) near the mineview. The collection includes everything from historic baggage tags and belt buckles to one bus from each decade up to the 1980s, including Wickman’s original car.
There are a handful of Bob Dylan sites that fans will want to seek out. For most of his life in Hibbing, Bob lived in the same large square house (2425 7th Ave. E.); the family is used to people stopping by for a look, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to ring the bell and ask to see inside. You may get that chance down the road though, since the current owners plan to open the house as a bed-and-breakfast someday.
The closest thing to a museum is the Bob Dylan Exhibit in the basement of the Hibbing Public Library (2020 5th Ave. E., 218/262-1038, 9 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Fri.–Sat., closed Sun. summer). There is a timeline, and many posters, records, and news clippings are on display. Another shrine of sorts, and a worthy stop for Dylanphiles, is Zimmy’s (531 E. Howard St., 218/262-6145, www.zimmys.com ), a restaurant decorated with Dylan photos and posters: The tattered, autographed Los Angeles Lakers cap, donated by Bob’s mom, is their pride and joy.
The library distributes a Dylan walking tour brochure, but it doesn’t include the Moose Lodge (4211/2 E. Howard St.) where some of Bob’s early bands like The Golden Chords performed. To see inside, and maybe play the same piano Bob did, attend a Friday-night fish fry.