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Iron Range: Minnesota Building America

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Previously aired Wednesday August 19th
It's hard to underestimate the importance of Minnesota's Iron Range in building America. Iron from the Range is found in everything from the grand structures of the Empire State Building and California's Bay Bridge to the day-to-day tools of life such as electrical lines and, even, iron-fortified bread. The underpinnings of America would not be possible without the profound contributions of the iron miners and other workers who came from 46 different ethnic backgrounds. The Range was a veritable melting pot in the early days of the 20th century. Italians, Macedonians, Finns, Slovaks, to name just a few, all worked together to get the rich iron ore out of the ground and on its way to the U.S. 's steel factories. Meanwhile, Jewish families emigrated to the area to keep Main Streets alive and to keep Rangers in the basics of clothes and food. Only one synagogue remains on the Range as a testament to Jews presence in this remote area. Other cultural heritages such as the Finns- live on in active organizations like the Kaleva Hall in Virginia. And while the Range is deeply significant to America's history, it is not a relic. The Range is alive today, despite the many boom and bust cycles that have buffeted the iron industry. Today's Range has repurposed many of the old pit mines and turned them into fishing lakes. The man-made tailings hills changed the contours of the landscape and helped create vacation spots. Tourism is one aspect of the modern Range, but so is scientific exploration. In one of the oldest mines on the Range some of the newest technological advances are being pursued to discover the origins of the Universe. And keeping to its roots, taconite mining continues to keep the Range humming and the dollars coming in. Without this 100-mile long, 10-mile wide strip of land in Northern Minnesota, the United States would doubtless be a different place. Co-produced with the Minnesota Humanities Center.
56 minutes long
tpt Channel 2.1

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tpt Life Channel 2.3

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