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Ely in Saint Louis County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Pioneer Mine

 
 
Pioneer Mine marker, with extremely cracked surface image. Click for full size.
Photographed By McGhiever, July 27, 2017
1. Pioneer Mine marker, with extremely cracked surface
Inscription.  The Pioneer Vermilion Iron Mining Company opened the Pioneer Mine in 1888 and began shipping ore the following year. When Oliver Iron Mining Company leased the Pioneer in 1898, it was producing over 500,000 tons annually. Eventually, it was considered the richest of Minnesota's underground mines. It closed in 1967 not because the ore body was exhausted, but because underground mining was so labor-intensive. With a 100-man workforce, open pit mines produced about 5,000,000 tons of ore annually. The underground Pioneer operations employed approximately 600 miners to produce 1,000,000 tons annually.

Working conditions were extremely hazardous. There was constant danger that water would soak the ground above, break through and rush into the mine, sometimes to a depth of 200 feet, killing all those not fast enough to escape. Cave-ins, mud-slides, and premature dynamite blasts also caused injuries or fatalities.

Remaining mine structures reflect the Pioneer Mine's "glory days." They include the captains' and miners' dries, where employees changed from work clothes and showered; the shaft house, which provided weather-protection; the stack,

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built in 1902 to create a draft for boilers powering early steam hoists; the 1927 engine house powering later electric hoists; the stead headframe and a water tower. National Register of Historic Places
 
Erected by Northeast Minnesota: The Wild North.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Industry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1888.
 
Location. 47° 54.714′ N, 91° 51.703′ W. Marker is in Ely, Minnesota, in Saint Louis County. Marker is on Pioneer Road, on the right when traveling east. Sign is at the entrance to the parking area. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 401 N Pioneer Road, Ely MN 55731, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 3 other markers are within 15 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Pioneer Mine A Shaft (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Pillow Rocks (approx. ¾ mile away); The First Test Pit on the Mesabi (approx. 14.4 miles away).
 
More about this marker. The marker's surface is extremely cracked.
 
Pioneer Mine marker with mine headframe in background image. Click for full size.
Photographed By McGhiever, July 27, 2017
2. Pioneer Mine marker with mine headframe in background
The Pioneer Mine image. Click for full size.
Photographed By McGhiever, July 27, 2017
3. The Pioneer Mine
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 31, 2018. It was originally submitted on December 27, 2018, by McGhiever of Minneapolis, Minnesota. This page has been viewed 196 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on December 27, 2018, by McGhiever of Minneapolis, Minnesota.   3. submitted on December 28, 2018, by McGhiever of Minneapolis, Minnesota. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 23, 2024