Minnesota

The international border crosses the Lake of the Woods diagonally, towards its northernmost point at the Angle Inlet, then abruptly heads due south for 27 miles to pick the 49th Parallel. This unusual border behavior isolates a piece of Minnesota,...

Until recently, when the corporate HQ was moved to Virginia, ATK was headquartered in this building in the suburbs of Minneapolis. ATK is a military products company that specializes in the full range of projectiles, from bullets to ballistic missiles. Also...

Baudette, a small town located on the international boundary with Canada, and near the middle of the continent, has two commercial automotive research facilities, for testing cars in extreme cold conditions. This is one of the coldest towns in the lower 48...

The bridge over the Rainy River is the westernmost of the 13 vehicle bridges along the watery boundary between the USA and Canada, extending 1,300 miles east from here, through the Great Lakes, to the St. Lawrence River in New York. This is a small local...

Though privately owned and occupied, the existence of the childhood home of Bob "Dylan" Zimmerman emits a strong interpretive presence in Hibbing. He has said little about the place directly, but the assumption is that the town and the mining industry it...

A museum operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, explaining the roles of Duluth and Superior in Great Lakes shipping and the importance of maintaining the nation's waterways. Location offers the best view in the city for watching vessels entering and...

Cargill’s World Headquarters is located at the Lake Office, a private corporate campus, near Lake Minnetonka, in a suburb west of Minneapolis. There is a large low Prairie Style corporate building with a parking garage on site, next to a large French...

Located 25 miles from Thunder Bay, Ontario, on the northwest end of Lake Superior, this is a land wooded and remote, though not without interpretive infrastructure. It was here, a few miles south of the Pigeon River, where the settlement of Grand Portage was...

When the International Boundary was established at the Pigeon River, it was because of the well known fur trading route at Grand Portage, a few miles south. Today the boundary follows the river on the north side of Grand Portage State Park. The 300-acre park...

Hibbing is also the "birthplace of the bus industry in the United States." It was here that a local shuttle service between Hibbing and Alice slowly grew and became Greyhound Bus Lines. The story is told in a museum of artifacts, dioramas, and architectural...

The Hull-Rust-Mahoning Pit, immediately adjacent to the town of Hibbing, has been called the "Man-made Grand Canyon" and the "largest open pit iron mine in the world" (the latter claim is made by a few other locations as well). The three-mile-long meandering...

A few hundred yards east of the visitor center at Grand Portage State Park, the international boundary passes through the middle of the Highway 61 bridge, the first physical obstruction along the line since the bridge at Sault Ste. Marie, 300 miles away. This...

The consolidated network of pits north of Hibbing, called the Hull Rust Mahoning Pit, is the largest iron mine pit in the nation. Known as the Grand Canyon of the North, the pit is 3.5 miles wide and 500 feet deep, has been worked for over 100 years, and is...

The Rainy River is the international border here, and it flows between the adjacent towns of International Falls, Minnesota, and Fort Frances, Ontario. The bridge was built by the Minnesota and Ontario Paper Company, and is still privately owned, jointly, by...

International Falls is a border town, and a company town with paper plants on both sides of the river. The plant on the Canadian side, owned by the Resolute Forest Products, was closed in 2014. The plant on the US side has downsized, but is still operating,...

Jim’s Corner is an Outlying Area Reporting Station (OARS) for reporting in and out with Customs and Immigration, while traveling to or from the US/Canada border anomaly in Minnesota known as the Northwest Angle - cut off from the rest of the USA by land. The...

Railroad history museum, concentrating on the early days of railroads in the Lake Superior region. Many restored specimens of steam locomotives.

The largest hockey stick in the world may or may not be the 110 foot long version erected in Eveleth. There is a stick nearly twice as large in Duncan, British Columbia, though it is said not to be a "real" hockey stick, as it is not structured like a hockey...

350 stores, an amusement park, and a claimed rate of over 40 million visitors annually, make this the largest enclosed mall in the USA.

Operated by the Laurentian Chamber of Commerce, this mine overlook was originally established for mine foremen to view the operations below, a network of pits known as the Rouchleau group, a mine complex nearly three miles long and 450 feet deep, which was...

Minnesota Discovery Center (formerly known as Ironworld Discovery Center), is an interpretive attraction built in and around an old iron pit and slag piles in the 1970s, as part of an early attempt to replace the shrinking mining industry with tourism. The...

The Minnesota Mining Museum is a cluster of outbuildings, machinery and artifacts spread around the grounds, including trains, drill rigs, haul trucks, and steam and electric shovels that sculpted the landforms around town. The focal point for the museum is...

The town of North Hibbing was moved in the 1920s to make room for expansion of the Hull Rust iron pit. Though many mining towns have been moved in the past, this former town site is unique because it has been developed into a frisbee golf course. Each "hole"...

The northwesternmost point on the Lake of the Woods is where the watery border between the USA and Canada becomes a straight cartographic line. East of this point the border meanders across 1,300 miles of waterways, until it picks up the 45th...

The last border crossing in Minnesota, Noyes, next to the town of Emerson, Manitoba, was closed in 2006, and the old brick Port of Entry on the USA side was still listed for sale, in 2014. The Canadian Port of Entry was closed in 2003, and simply sits, empty...

The Pinecreek/Piney Crossing, on Highway 89, is the least busy border crossing in Minnesota, averaging less than 25 cars a day. It also has an airport with a runway that crosses the border, which is not very busy either. Pilots landing here from the USA park...

Mel Chin created and maintained this piece from 1990 to 1993. Surrounded by a square control area, a circular fence divides a portion of hazardous waste landfill into quadrants of plants (known as hyperaccumulators) that absorb and process metal from the...

The Soudan Mine would be simply superlative as the largest underground iron mine in the state at the time it closed in 1963, and became a state park, attracting tourists to its half-mile depths, but it has become an unusual high tech research environment as...

These falls were the only major waterfall on the nation’s great river, the Mississippi, and until locks opened in the 1960s, were the limit of travel on the river. The falls, altered by dams, spillways, locks, and other control structures, are the reason why...

Ely is a recreational outfitters town, a base for launching trips into the Boundary Waters. The local radio station, WELY, calls itself “end of the road radio.” It is 15 miles south of the international boundary. Dirt roads extend further into the region...