The communities served by the Laurentian Chamber offer a variety of venues for culture, entertainment and learning. There are many historic sites to visit, including Bob Dylan’s childhood home, the Finnish Homestead tours, Eli Wirtanen Farm, Iron Range Research and Genealogy Center, and Paulucci Space Theater. The region’s premier history center is Ironworld Discovery Center, which is a museum that preserves and interprets the history of Iron Range mining and immigration. A vintage trolley offers visitors rides to a former mining location, and for those interested in research, extensive local history and genealogy collections are available from the Iron Range Research Center’s distinguished library and archives.
There are many more venues in the Iron Range area offering an array of experiences. Eveleth is home to the Range Recreation Civic Center the area’s newest state-of-the-art curling club and host to a variety of banquets, conventions and recreational activities. The Range Recreation Civic Center hosted the 2007 World Junior Curling Championships. Additional sites provide many interactive exhibits. Visitors can take trolley rides, view Imax Theatre films on a forty-foot high dome, get behind the wheel of a 1950s Greyhound bus or even touch Judy Garland’s piano!
Public libraries are abundant as well. Collections include fiction and non-fiction books, magazines, books on cassette and DVD, VHS tapes, DVDs, reference materials, special Minnesota collections, repair manuals, computer games and newspapers. Services offered to patrons include public computers with Internet availability, fax machines, copier and printer services and interlibrary loan requests. The Public Library at the city of Eveleth, the Gilbert Public Library and Mountain Iron are served by the Arrowhead Library System, whose mission is “to deliver highly responsive and accessible library service to its member libraries and people of the region through a collaborative network of coordinated programs.” The Virginia Public Library is aided by the Virginia Public Library Commission.
There are many events occurring in the quad cities and surrounding areas throughout the year. Summer events in Gilbert include a spectacular 4th of July parade and street dance. There is also the Sherwood Forest Days Festival, which features two days of community activities and fishing contests. In August, the city of Mountain Iron hosts the annual Leonidas Merritt Days Festival to celebrate the area’s tradition of mining. Olcott Park in Virginia is home to the Land of the Loon Ethnic Arts and Crafts Festival, which celebrates the culture and customs of the diverse people who have settled in northeastern Minnesota. To experience the tradition of polka on Minnesota’s Iron Range, there is the yearly Polkafest, which brings visitors from miles around.
For a complete list of all there is to see and do, visit www.ironrange.org/attractions.