Chisholm, Minnesota

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Chisholm is a city in St. Louis County, Minnesota, USA. The population was 4,960 at the 2000 census. Along with Hibbing Minnesota, this area was called "meebeega" by the people of the Chippewa tribe. It is roughly translated to mean "rough earth".

U.S. Highway 169 and State Highway 73 are two of the main arterial routes in the city.

A mining town on the Mesabi Range, Chisholm was founded by Archibald Mark Chisholm.



According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.7 square miles (12.3 km²), of which, 4.4 square miles (11.4 km²) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.9 km²) of it (7.17%) is water.

Chisholm is in the center of the Mesabi Iron Range, one of the four iron ranges in the Arrowhead Region of Minnesota.


The site of Chisholm was first explored in 1892 by E.J. Longyear, inventor of the diamond drill, and for whom the lake in town is named. He founded the first mine in town, the Pillsbury. Later, Archibald Chisholm, who was living near Ely, migrated to Hibbing and founded the Chisholm mine there. In 1901, along with the Chisholm Improvement Community, plotted the town and had it incorporated as a village.

With a railroad line to Duluth and plenty of mining work available in and near town, the population of Chisholm grew rapidly, and by 1908, the town had more than 6,000 people and 500 buildings. On September 5, 1908, a fast-moving forest fire obliterated the town due to the dry conditions during the late summer and wood construction of nearly all the buildings in town. Many people sought escape by going into the lake. No one died in the fire. Afterwards, building codes were enhanced, and by the next summer, more than 70 fireproof buildings had been erected. Chisholm became a city in 1934.



The Chisholm Independent School District draws students from the city of Chisholm and surrounding Balkan Township. The Vaughan-Steffensrud Elementary School (named for the first two superintendents of the Chisholm school system) has classes for children from preschool through third grade. Chisholm Middle school has students in grades 4 through 6, and Chisholm High School has grades 7 through 12.

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