A Small Minnesota Town
There is a small town up north that is sure to catch your eye. It is 130 years old and the town has quite a history. The name of this town is Tower. About two miles down a winding highway is another small town called Soudan. Tower took its name from the town’s founder, Charlemagne Tower, and was the third town in the United States to be named in his honor. The town of Soudan was named after the African region of Sudan. Later a Frenchman changed the spelling from Sudan to the French spelling Soudan. Back then, the town known as Breitung Township and was rarely called Soudan. Today the small towns are known collectively as Tower-Soudan.
Tower-Soudan was once a booming mining town. Charlemagne Tower was said to have used around 3 million dollars of his own to get the railroad and mine going in the area and he continued to pump money into the small town. During the 1880s the miners around town would make from $1.96 to $2.55 a day for their hard work. To build the railroad which stretched 68 miles from Tower to Lake Superior cost around $12,519 per mile. It wouldn’t take long for the mining industry to spread across the Iron Range of Minnesota.
At one time there were about 5,000 people living in the Tower Soudan area, and it was once projected to expand to 80,000 people. In 1887 there were about 1000 people living in the Soudan area. Today there are only 500 people living in the area. The small towns had a lot more to offer people during the 1880s. There were movie theaters, grocery stores, restaurants, a hospital, and many shops and stores.
Tower and Soudan were once booming mining towns. Today, they are one small town with a lot of history. In this town everybody knows your name and where you live. These days you can go underground in the Soudan mine and see what the miners’ lives were like so long ago. It would be kind of nice to go back in time and see how this small town once was, with all the people and the different shops that were here. There are only a couple of old brick buildings on the main street of Tower from the early days. One is the old firehouse, and the Soudan hospital is now a small hotel/boarding house. But if you walk around town and chat with a few people, you will realize what these places once were.
Map Credit: Wikipedia, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Minnesota_in_United_States.svg
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