Heritage Society member Roger Kochevar wrote this review of IKE: Minnesota Hockey Icon. He encourages hockey fans and Range history enthusiasts to read the book.
IKE: Minnesota Hockey Legend was published by Nordin Press (St. Louis Park) in 2015 and is available on Amazon and at https://itascabooks.com/ike/.
Eveleth native and hockey legend Willard “Ike” Ikola, along with author Jim Hoey, have written a book about Ike’s career playing goal and coaching high school hockey. As a youngster in Eveleth, he learned goaltending by playing endless hours on outdoor rinks with kids of all ages. He remembers growing up in the 1930s and '40s and how much he liked playing road hockey with the neighborhood kids near his home on Jackson Street. Coach Cliff Thompson recruited the diminutive but courageous eighth-grader as a practice goalie for the high school team. Subsequently, the Eveleth Golden Bears won 50 straight games and three state championships with Ike in the nets.
He went on to be an All-American goalie for the Michigan Wolverines and while in the U.S. Air Force, he participated in the 1956 Olympic Games held in Cortina, Italy. Ike played for the silver-medal-winning 1956 U.S. team and was named outstanding goalie for the games. He enjoyed playing international hockey and finished his playing career with the 1957-58 U.S. National Team. Edina High School in the Twin Cities then provided Ike the opportunity to fulfill his ambition to teach and coach.
The story continues by describing his Edina Hornet hockey teams and coaching philosophy over the 33 years that he coached. This book is full of interesting stories and is a must-read for those interested in Eveleth’s hockey heritage.
Eveleth Celebrates the Armistice
Eveleth rejoiced with the rest of the nation after an armistice with Germany went to effect on November 11, 1918, near Compiègne, France. The people of Eveleth had helped support the war effort in many ways for a year and a half. They bought Liberty bonds, held food drives, and joined the Red Cross. The Eveleth Commercial Club created a four-acre garden near St. Mary's Lake, and Presbyterian minister Salvatore Terranova composed a song called "The Volunteers." Eveleth mines provided vital iron ore for military equipment; in fact, six in ten shells used by the Allies were made from Minnesota iron. Hundreds of Eveleth men, many of whom were members of Eveleth's National Guard Company F, served overseas, and although the following article says only one many from Eveleth was killed in action, a 1922 issue of the Eveleth Clarion said as many as fifteen Evelethians died in the war. Here is how the Eveleth News described festivities in Eveleth following the news that the Allied had defeated the Germans:
The Eveleth News November 14, 1918:
"EVELETH CELEBRATES ENDING OF WORLD WAR LAST MONDAY"
Report of Signing of Armistice by the Enemy Received Here Early Monday Morning; Impromptu Parades Start Before Daylight and Continue Until Early Tuesday Morning.
News of the signing of the armistice that will forever put an end to world was received in Eveleth Monday morning not long after the day started and from that time until the conclusion of the day and early into Tuesday Evelethians celebrated wildly.
Impromptu bands were organized at three o'clock in the morning and before they had paraded many minutes the streets were full of men, women and children wild with excitement and joy over the latest news from the front. Fire whistles, locomotive whistles, in fact everything that could be classed with a whistle was let loose. Church bells pealed the good joy. Automobile sirens were blown and the town forgot the things pertaining to business to join in the first celebration that will be remembered over the entire world.
At eleven o'clock a parade was formed at the fire hall, the Eighth Battalion band leading it, followed by the Home Guards, Motor Corps and citizens of every creed, nationality, color and description, making a line about a mile long. This was the official parade of the day, made so by a verbal proclamation of the mayor. During the afternoon and evening the celebrating continued, fire whistles screeching, mine whistles blowing, church bells ringing and several local musical organizations keeping up the spirit.
Men employed at the mines and other places in the city reporting to their respective duties in the morning were told by their employers that there would be nothing doing in the line of work that day. They were given a day off and told to celebrate as they had never celebrated before. From all reports, they did, too.
Because of so many people being ill with influenza, the major requested that as little noise as possible be made after the first reports were received in order not to disturb those who were confined to their beds. The request was observed for about five minutes, but so enthused were the men who had hold of the whistle strings, bell ropes and other noise creations, that it was impossible to regulate it. From all reports, while it was not very pleasant to those who had to remain in bed, there were no serious effects.
Monday was the day when old men were made young. Whitehaired men and women, who have been known as quiet individuals, reverted back to childhood. They shouted and took part in the parades and were as happy as the youngest schoolboy or girl. Everybody took part who was at all capable of doing it.
The flag purchased a year ago by Lloyd Magee, who is the only Eveleth man who gave his life in the struggle, was at the head of the parade. Mayor Hatch carried it. The kaiser, bound with chains, was led through the streets amid the pleasure of the onlookers. Mayor Hatch states that he will have the flag, formerly owned by Magee, framed and that it will stand in Eveleth from this date on as a memorial to the only Evelethian who died for the cause of the United States and the allies while in action.
While an armistice merely halts the war and does not actually end it, the terms laid down by the allies are so stringent that it will be practically impossible for the enemy to renew it. The war, therefore, may be considered as definitely ended.
Over half of the article, which has not been reproduced here, listed the terms of the armistice.
Exciting new displays will enhance the Eveleth Heritage Committee's annual downtown historical exhibit, open June 30 through July 4 during Eveleth's famous 4th of July festivities. The committee's goal is to bring community members together to reminisce and learn more about Eveleth history. Visitors can also view paintings by local artists and purchase new historical blankets.
More than fifteen new posters will provide better interpretation of photos and tell stories about significant people places, and events. Topics include folk artist Joe Bogdanich, the 100th anniversaries of Eveleth Junior College and the senior high school building, Italian festivals, and Lundgren Motors. Committee members have been meeting since early May to plan, design, and assemble these posters.
Another highlight of this year's display is artwork depicting people and places from Eveleth's past. Eveleth's first building, a Mesaba Electric Railway streetcar, and the Eveleth Clown Band are just some of the scenes painted so far. Pat Brascugli, Pamela Schultz, Jane Wertanen, John Laurich, Sandra Markovich, and Rebecca Koepke have all contributed artwork to this project. The Heritage Committee hopes to host an art show with even more pictures this fall.
The Heritage Committee will also sell its new souvenir blankets with images of historic Eveleth buildings. The original blankets made in 2004 regrettably listed incorrect dates beneath several buildings. Enough people recently expressed interest in the blankets that the committee ordered 50 more after members consulted multiple sources to ensure accurate dates. The beautiful new blankets cost $59.
The exhibit will be at 221 Grant Avenue across from the Wells Fargo drive-thru. The building will be open from 1 to 3 p.m. June 30 to July 2, 1 to 3 p.m. and 6 to 10 p.m. on July 3, and 9 a.m. to noon on July 4. Hours may be extended as needed. Donations of photos and objects are graciously accepted, but please view the Collections Policy before bringing items to the exhibit. We hope to see you there! Click here to see other photos from previous years' exhibits.
Remembering Roger Larcher
These notes on Eveleth Village Council meetings were compiled in 1947 by journalist and Eveleth native Sally Shea Martin. They offer a fascinating glimpse into life in Eveleth at the end of the 19th century! Material not in quotation marks was paraphrased from the original minutes.
1st meeting of the Village Council--October 25, 1894
President: M. Buskirk (Marvin)
Trustee: John Grey
Trustee: H. Hookwith (Henry)
Trustee: W. H. Shea
Recorder: A. S. Erickson
Election of above was held on October 18, 1894.... Other elected officers were:
Treasurer: S. S. Childers
Just. of Peace: John F. Towell
Constable: Jerry Sullivan
Special meeting Nov. 1, 1894 to appoint a night marshal. Jerry Sullivan was appointed as his bid was the lowest. $30 per month.
Nov. 20, 1894—"On motion it was decided to purchase lot 35 in block 12 from the Townsite Co. consideration to be $200 and build a jail on said lot."
Nov. 23, 1894—"On motion Trustees Hookwith and Grey were appointed as a committee to build a jail. The President of the Village to act as chairman of said committee."
Jan. 12, 1895—Recorder authorized to purchase the following books: 2 finance books; 1 minute book; 1 record book; 1 ordinance book; 500 letterheads, 500 envelopes, 1 letter file, and 2 doz. liquor bonds.
Jan. 28, 1895—Grey, Hookwith, & McCormick to act as committee to draw up specifications on sidewalks.
Feb. 1, 1895—Ordinance adopted establishing a Board of Health.
Feb. 4, 1895—Darms, Grey & McCormick appointed as a Board of Health to serve for one year. Recorder's compensation set $2.50 per meeting.
Feb. 18, 1895—"On motion Darms and 2nd of McCormick it was decided to publish the proceedings of the regular meetings in the Eveleth Star at the legal rate."
Feb. 22, 1895—"On motion the recorder was instructed to issue and order in favor of Duluth Mining & Investment Co. for $10.00 as first payment on sum of $200 on village lot for Jail to secure contract for same."
Mar. 4, 1895—"Resolved that whereas majority of property in Blocks 13 and 14 facing Jones Street having duly petitioned this council to construct sidewalks along such street, that we the Village grant said petitions."
Mar. 19, 1895—Marvin Van Buskirk appointed street comm. at $2.00 per day when acting in such capacity.
Apr. 1, 1895—"Committee on sidewalks reported having let contract to lay sidewalks along Jones Street on blocks 13 & 14 to Chas. Saul for $225."
Apr. 22, 1895—"Resolved that we the Village Council proceed to establish a water system for the Village and that 5,000 dollars be raised to construct said system. ... Resolved that we the Village Council appoint H. L. Darms as Gen'l Overseer to superintend the construction of water system at a compensation for $100 per month and actual expenses to be paid from Gen'l Fund."
Apr. 29, 1895—"Be it resolved that we the Village Council do hereby appropriate from the Gen'l Fund towards construction of water system $00 [sic.] May 1st, $700 June 1st, $800 July 1st in all total $2,000. Further that we vote an additional $3,000 to complete the said system of water works to be raised by bonding the Village." Special election called for above on May 18th.
May 13, 1895—Petition signed by property owners on Jones St. "That the East 120 ft. of Jones St. located between blocks 10 & 11 be condemned as street and derealed [sic.] to Townsite Co. for a site of a good first class hotel bldg. to be constructed at once."
June 3rd, 1895—Kimberly Ave. property owners petitioned for a sidewalk along the west side of Kimberly Ave. from the corner of Jones St. running north one block. Petition granted.
June 3, 1895—"Be it resolved that we, the Village Council, of the Village of Eveleth do hereby approve of the organization of a Volunteer Fire Company of 15 members. The firemen to receive a compensation of $1 each call for the first hour and 50 cents an hour for each additional hour."
Aug. 20, 1895—J. F. Dahl retained as Village attorney at a compensation of $25 per month.
Oct. 21, 1895—O. D. Kinney offered to put up and maintain 6 arc electric lights on the streets in the village, the electric current to be transmitted from the plant at Virginia at a cost of $69 per month for five years.—proposition rejected because Village does not believe in giving any franchises where it would be possible for the Village to own & operate profitable—spec. election necessary—people unfavorable—long distance service would not give satisfaction.
Nov. 18, 1895—351 ft. of sewer constructed at cost of $156.05.
Dec. 16, 1895—Specifications for a Village Hall and Hose Cart room were presented by Darms.
Mar. 16, 1896—The Hustler & Mountain Iron Monitor to be official paper.
Aug. 20, 1896—"A petition for the abolishment of the nuisance caused by piling merchandise on sidewalk opposite Sletten Bros. & Talboys Store was received and on motion the Marshal was instructed to see that sidewalk was kept clear."
Oct. 2, 1896—Frank McCormack completed contract—[electric light] plant in running order and satisfactory.
Feb. 3, 1897—"Be it resolved that at the next annual election to be held Tuesday, May 9, 1897 a vote be taken and made if said village shall be made a separate assessment and election district and separate from the township of Missabe Mountain, St. Louis Co., Minn. in which said village is situated."
July 7, 1897—Application made by council for a loan of $2,000 for extending water works system. Adopted.
Sep. 6, 1897—"Motion prevailed that a carpenter be employed to repair and finish up the second story of the Village Hall; by using common boards, building paper & ceiling for the side walls only overhead and putting in such glass as found necessary."
Eveleth Power & Light granted permission to wire Village Hall for $1.00 per night for 18 16 candle power lights when same are used. Parties using Hall shall pay $1.00 for lights in addition to usual rental.
Sep. 27, 1897—Contract of Eveleth Light & Power approved—to move the Water Works Plant from its present location to the proposed new site on lot 1 & 2 of block 3, erect bldg., boiler, etc. for $630.00. Lots purchased from A. P. Gross by village $300.
Nov. 16, 1897—Jesmore Livery bill of $3.00 for "rigs" allowed.
Feb. 4, 1898—The sum of $300 appropriated out of Gen'l Funds for a Public Cemetery to apply to the purchase of grounds, etc.
Mar. 21, 1898—E. F. Reamer, P. E. Dowling, J. C. Poole committee for Cemetery to confer with like com. from Fayal & Sparta.
Apr. 7, 1898—Special meeting called to consider Mr. Adams' proposition to vacate certain streets and alleys. "Letter from D. T. Adams read and discussed informally and the following resolution adopted: 'That Mr. Adams, or a representation of the mining company, be asked to come to Eveleth and talk with the citizens, then the council will assist in calling a mass meeting of the property owners and business men; and that it is favorable and willing to assist the company in any way satisfactorily to all concerned.'"
Apr. 18, 1898—T. D. Sullivan appointed Fire Warden.
May 9, 1898—"Moved and supported that Jerry Sullivan be employed at $40.00 per month to look after dog tax and scavenger work."
July 1, 1898—"A petition was read from the residents along south Carrie Ave. asking an extension of the water mains. It was agreed that if the parties signing the petition would sign a contract and pay for water for one year in advance that the village would put in the mains as prayed."
Aug. 1, 1898—J. C. McGilvery appointed Justice of the Peace.
Sep. 6, 1898—Rubber coats and hats ordered for the fire dept.
Nov. 1, 1898—"Called meeting of the Village Council for the purpose of considering the proposition of F. C. Talboys to construct and maintain a telephone system into the village of Ev.... the said F. C. Talboys [is] hereby granted the privilege for the term of ten years of erecting and maintaining poles on any and all streets of the Vil. of Ev. and of placing and maintaining wires thereon within the limits of the Village necessary to the operating of a telephone system...Vil. of Ev. agrees to hire from Talboys the use of one telephone for the term of five years paying the annual rental of $60 payable each year in advance.
Feb. 6, 1899--$35.25 for sleigh for Fire Dept.
Mar. 20, 1899—"Resolved that the salary of the Engineer of the Water Works shall be the sum of $60 per month. And further be it resolved that he shall not perform any labor for any private person or persons between the hours of 6:30 A.M. & 6:30 P.M. and shall not be absent from the pump house for more than 20 minutes at one time except for the purpose of repairing pipe or hydrants for the village."
Eveleth Star to be paid $100 for the year, to be paid quarterly for official proceedings.
Apr. 3, 1899—"The recorder instructed to order one 36 ft extension ladder for Fire Department."
"Resolved that the Recorder be and are hereby directed to correspond with some attorney firm in regard to moving the Village and procure a written opinion and place same before the Village Council as soon is practicable."
Apr. 17, 1899—John Finley repairing Fire Alarm Wires $6.00.
"The Recorder instructed to have motion printed and posted forbidding riding of bicycles on sidewalks."
May 4, 1899—"David T. Adams appeared in behalf of the Original Owners of the Town site and moving proposition were discussed for some time being."
May 17, 1899—Special Meeting called for the purpose of acting on a proposed ordinance relating to the moving of bldgs.. on and over the streets and alleys of the Village of Eveleth. Ordinance #21 passed May 17, 1899.
July 31, 1899—"Resolved that the Water Works Committee shall have immediate charge of erecting the new water plant and proceed to have same built at once and purchase what ever is necessary for the building of said Water Works."
T. E. Dorr: 3 more bldgs. to move.
Eveleth's New Senior High School
"Eveleth Senior High School is Nearly Finished"
From the November 15, 1917, Duluth News-Tribune:
EVELETH, Nov. 14—The pride of Eveleth—the senior high school—is nearing completion.
The new buildings of the Eveleth system when completed will be excellently arranged. The striking feature of the arrangement is the grouping for a campus.
Is is estimated that fully 27 percent of the entire population of Eveleth attend the public school system. Arranging of the campus and possible purchasing of additional property brings closer the fact that in the future Virginia and Eveleth will be united, for there is no other way for the cities to expand excepting they do so jointly. The Spruce and Adams mines are rapidly forcing the cities together.
Architects inspecting the grouping plans and the building and equipment say they are superior to any public school system in the United States.
The manual training building is between the junior high school and the senior high school. The next grade school will be built just behind this group, making the manual training building the center of the group. The new domestic science building will be built next to the manual training building, making it the center of all the buildings.
Fayal road [Fayal Avenue], which at present hugs the new high school, will be moved, so that it will be between the manual training building and new high school buildings, forming a campus and also making an attractive drive.
The public library adds to the general effect of the campus grouping of school buildings.
The heating plant next to the new senior high school has already been installed.
The two swimming pools are so arranged so as to have two entrances and give the public the use of the showers and baths. There is a vacuum cleaning system throughout. There are 18 shower baths and excellent pool equipment.
The gymnasium is 50 by 110 feet and placed over the twin pools. The auditorium is 65 by 90 feet with gallery and a stage, measuring 34 by 60 feet. This is on the second floor. The auditorium is arranged so that both can be utilized for large drill work and public gatherings.
Floors throughout the building are a composition, making them noiseless and dustless. The indirect lighting system and the ventilating system are in use. The city will furnish the steam, and this is expected to eliminate all dust and dirt incident to a steam plant.
The laboratories for teaching the sciences, agriculture, [and] commerce are now completely equipped. Tennis courts and grass plots will be erected on the campus arrangements early next summer."
Notes: The "next grade school" and the "new domestic science building" were built as one structure, the Benjamin Franklin School, which early blueprints called the Grade and Girls' Vocational School. Domestic science is an older term for home economics.
At the time this article was written, domestic science classes were held in the former John Gleason home at 804 Jones Street. The school board purchased the house in September 1915 and turned it into the superintendent's residence when the Franklin School was completed. The house was destroyed by fire in 2013.
When the Senior High was completed in early 1918, it did not include later additions such as the boys' gym and the Junior College wing. A greenhouse once extended out from the building's south side to the left of the main entrance. The gymnasium mentioned in the above article later became the girls' gym and is now the Senior High media center. The auditorium (also called the assembly hall) was converted into the Boardman Auditorium in 1942, at which time an inclined floor was built, new seats were installed, and theater storage and dressing rooms were added on either side of the stage. Many spaces in the Senior High have changed considerably since 1917, but it has been well modernized and continues to serve Eveleth-Gilbert students in grades nine through twelve.
Eveleth News September 16, 1917
"Eveleth will have one of the finest musical organizations in the state when plans now under way for the consolidation of all local bands have been completed. An organization has already been formed and the city council has appointed a committee to confer with the band men on the organization of the municipal band to be made of the best talent from the various organizations.
"C.U. Jenkins has been elected president of the organization and J.J. Brince and James Greco are directors. No band director has been selected and none will be named until the organization is completed and a conference held with the council committee.
"Forty-five musicians have signed an agreement to disband their old organization and lend their support to the consolidated band. With the organization of the new band the Fayal band, one of the oldest organizations on the range and long under the direction of Professor Scott, veteran bandman and president of the range band league, will go out of existence as will the City Band, directed by Professor Moroni. The High School band will continue under the direction of H.O. Anhalt but only as a school organization and the members will cooperate with the municipal band.
"The musicians in a petition to the council Tuesday night asked the support of the city for the new organization and a committee of three from the council was appointed to meet with the bandmen and learn just what is desired. Mayor Jacob S. Saari, himself a veteran bandman, heads the committee with Councilmen J.M. Trevarrow and Mike Langdon as the other members."
First Eveleth Vietnam Casualty
The Heritage Committee would like to recognize the sacrifice of a young Eveleth man fifty years ago. The loss was felt by the entire community.
“PFC. DANIEL T. O’LAUGHLIN KILLED IN VIETNAM WAR”
The Eveleth News August 31, 1967
Eveleth was saddened this week when word was received of the death of Pfc Daniel T. O’Laughlin, USMC, 19-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank O’Laughlin who reside at Ely Lake.
Young O’Laughlin received his fatal wound in an ambush during Marine fighting. The sad news was brought to the family by a Marine Corps officer.
Daniel graduated from the Eveleth High School in the spring of 1966. He was active in school plays and in all sports—hockey, football, basketball, and swimming. He was a good student and athlete, and a friend to everyone. He had ability and many basic skills. He was active in scouting and 4H work and was a very friendly boy. He played center for the Eveleth High School Golden Bears hockey team under Coach Matchefts.
After attending summer school at Superior State Teachers College, he enlisted in the Marine Corps. He left for the Marines on September 18, 1966, and was stationed at Camp Pendelton, San Diego, Calif., until June 17, 1967, when he was transferred to Vietnam. He arrived there in mid-July and was stationed at Phu Bai.
He was born in Winona, Minn., and his vocational plans were to either become a pharmacist, study law, or become a teacher. His hobbies were coin collecting and playing the piano.
Daniel was the first Vietnam casualty from Eveleth.
Young O’Laughlin’s remains were brought to Eveleth Wednesday by a Marine Corps military escort.
The rosary will be recited Thursday evening (tonight) at 7:30 p.m. The body will be taken from the Sheehy Funeral Home Friday morning to the Holy Family Church where a solemn requiem high mass will be said starting at 9 a.m. Father Spain will be celebrant, Father Odegar, Mt. Iron, will be deacon; Father Pasetto, sub deacon; Father Hannon, Biwabik, master of ceremonies; Father Kelleher, eulogy; and the attendants will be Father Chisholm of Virginia and Father Henry Chodacki of Nett Lake.
Following the funeral mass, the remains will be taken, by military escort, for interment in the Fort Snelling National Cemetery in St. Paul. Burial will be at 3 p.m.
Daniel is survived by his parents, Frank O’Laughlin and Margaret O’Laughlin (nee Kelberer), and his grandparents, Frank O’Laughlin Sr. of Winona, and Mrs. William Kelberer, of Winona. His surviving brothers and sisters include Tim O’Laughlin of Belle Plaine, Minn., Mrs. Steve (Sharon) Montreuil of Eveleth, Mrs. Leonard (Karen) Lang, Mrs. Dennis (Suellen) Flatgard and Mary O’Laughlin, all of Minneapolis. The remaining children still at home include Shaun, Francine, Terry Jo, Sheila, and Coleen.
STILL A MYSTERY
Explosion of Powder Magazine at Eveleth.
Sol. Sax One of the Victims Declares That no Lives Were Lost—Missing Man Turns Up—Schools Shut Down Owing to Lack of Windows—Rifle Ball May Have Caused the Accident.
Duluth News-Tribune October 9, 1900
Sol. [Solomon] Sax, a prominent business man of Eveleth, and one of the principal losers as a result of Sunday’s explosion of the Spruce mine powder house, is at the Spalding [Hotel.]
“The blowing up of the magazine was a great surprise to the people of Eveleth,” said he last evening. “Coming as it did toward evening of a Sunday night made it all the more startling. I was in Virginia when the magazine let go there a few years ago and when the one at the Spruce mine exploded Sunday night I knew in an instant what had happened. The effect of the explosion, I presume, was something like that of an earthquake, though it was more sudden and startling. The News Tribune account of the accident was correct except that I think not more than half of the glass in the town is broken and no mirrors are destroyed that I know of. The breakage of bottled goods was considerable but not as great as was at first supposed.
“There was no school at Eveleth yesterday for the reason that all of the windows in the school house are broken. [The Spruce School on Fayal Road was The man who was reported as missing and who, it was thought might in some way accidentally have caused the explosion, has returned and was not in the vicinity of the powder house when it went up. He had been out hunting and the fact that his dogs returned alone led many to believe that the man had lost his life in the accident. It is now thought that no men were around the place at the time. One theory is that a rifle bullet may have accidentally struck the powder house in such a way as to set the explosion off. It is fortunate that the shock did not set off the powder house at the Adams mine, situated about half a mile distant.”
Mr. Sax was more fortunate that most of the other people who sustained loss on that account, as he carried plate glass insurance. As the principal item of damage in the town was that to windows there will be a great demand for glaziers for a time. Mr. Sax estimates the loss occasioned by the explosion, at about $10,000. His own loss was upwards of $350 on plate glass. He sustained loss on common glass for a considerable amount also. Mr. Sax says that C. E. Bailey, D. T. Adams, A. J. Kingston, William Coss and H. Hookwith also sustained substantial loss from the breakage of glass.
The above photo appears in the souvenir booklets for Eveleth’s 75th and 100th anniversaries; the caption was: “Remains of the D. M.& N. Railroad station after it was blown up in the spring of 1902. Dr. C. W. More noted, ‘Robbers attempted to blow up the safe in the station and this is the result. The men were seen to run, as reported to me by my friend, J. H. Hearding.'”
April 16, 1902, was an eventful night for the newly incorporated city of Eveleth. It is supposed that a prisoner, M. J. Balm, set fire to his cell causing the jail to burn to the ground, costing him his life. A few hours later, unknown robbers tried to blow up the safe at the Duluth, Missabe, & Northern railroad station, but they used too much nitroglycerin—the sizeable blast rocked the community at 4 o’clock in the morning. For the second time in two years, nearly all windows in the city were blown out (the powder magazine at the Spruce Mine exploded on October 8, 1900).
The front page of the April 18, 1902, Virginia Enterprise reported it like this:
Burned in the Jail.
M. J. Balm, of Duluth, the Victim of Fire in the Eveleth Lock-Up.
MISSABE DEPOT BLOWN UP.
The new city of Eveleth comes to the fore this week as a news furnisher, the place being torn by two startling events Monday night, the city jail being destroyed by fire early in the evening, and the D. M. & N. depot was wrecked and blown to atoms by an overcharge of nitroglycerine [sic.] in an attempt to rob the safe.
The fire which burned the jail is of mysterious origin. The building was a two story frame structure and but one prisoner was confined in it at the time, and it is supposed that he set fire to his cell. Despite the efforts of the fire department the building burned so quickly that it was impossible to reach the prisoner, and his charred remains were picked from the debris later. His features were burned to a crisp and it was with difficulty his identity discovered. The officer who placed him under arrest said that he was a Finlander from the Fayal, and it was finally found that he was M. J. Balm, a miner. He was a married man, his wife and family residing in Duluth.
The destruction of the Missabe depot was doubtless the work of burglars. Pieces of the top of the safe found some distance from the wrecked depot show that two holes had been bored in the top, and it is supposed put such an overcharge of nitro in that the building was practically reduced to splinters. The depot is in the vale near the Spruce office, and the explosion was terrific, windows being broken by the concussion for blocks away. Fire started in the wreckage, but the department was quickly on the scene and the flames extinguished.
It is said there was considerable money in the safe at the time, and a considerable amount of coin and paper was picked up on property adjoining the wreck the following day. No clue to the probable perpetrators has been found.
Following the explosion, the Duluth, Missabe, & Northern depot was rebuilt on the same site: the northwest corner of Monroe Street and Carrie Avenue. D. M. & N. tracks once ended at what is now the southern part of Monroe Park. The larger rail yard of the Duluth & Iron Range Railroad and its depot were south of Fayal Road between Lincoln and Grant Avenues. In 1923, a new union depot opened that served both railroads, which merged to form the Duluth, Missabe, & Iron Range Railroad in 1938.