Like Hibbing, iron ore was discovered directly under Eveleth, and in 1900, just eight years after it was founded, the city moved about a mile northeast from its original location. Two mines wrap around the town, and you can get a distant view of the work going on in the pair, now known as the Thunderbird Mine, from the Leonidas Overlook, a mile west of town on Fayal Road.
Eveleth, like many northern Minnesota towns, has a long hockey history, so it makes sense that they have erected the world’s largest hockey stick—110 feet, 10,000 pounds—downtown in Big Stick Plaza. A 700-pound puck waits for Paul Bunyan’s slap shot.
A pilgrimage for hockey fans, the United States Hockey Hall of Fame Museum (801 Hat Trick Ave., 218/744-5167, www.ushockeyhallmuseum.com, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Sun. Memorial Day–Labor Day, noon–5 p.m. Fri., 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat., 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Sun. rest of year, $8 adults) honors more than 100 hockey greats and displays their jerseys and other memorabilia. Enthusiasts can climb aboard a zamboni or lace up their skates and head out onto the replica rink.
To see the town and its history on foot, pick up a copy of the Captains’ Homes and Immigrant Halls self-guided walking tour brochure from the Laurentian Chamber of Commerce. Most of the dozen buildings are now in private hands, including the old Italian-American Hall, Slovenian Hall, Finnish Hall, and homes of the captains of industry.
Seven miles south of town on County Highway 95, just 2,000 feet from the place where the U.S. Senator died in a plane crash, is the solemn Paul Wellstone Memorial and Historic Site. It has short trails through the forest lined by historical markers.
The family-run Koke’s Motel (714 Fayal Rd., 218/744-4500 or 800/892-5107, $49) near downtown has simple but spotless rooms and a ski-wax room.
K&B Drive-Inn (218/744-2772, 11 a.m.– 8 p.m. daily, $5–15), 1.5 miles south of town on Highway 53, still has old-fashioned carhop service, and if you want your sloppy Joe and root beer float clipped to your window in subzero weather you can—they stay open all year long, though most people use the smoke-free indoor dining area in the winter. They are quite proud of their authentic Texas BBQ menu items.
Near the Hockey Hall of Fame, Goodfellas Bar and Grill (501 Hat Trick Ave., 218/744-9974, 11 a.m.–midnight daily, $5–11) serves up crowd-pleasing pastas, pizzas, and burgers in a room filled with hockey memorabilia.
© Tim Bewer from Moon Minnesota, 3rd Edition