Maritana Avenue, one of only two paved roads in Elcor, looking south toward Manilla Street, 1980
is a ghost town
, or more properly, an extinct town, in the U.S. state
that was inhabited between 1897 and 1956. It was built on the Mesabi Iron Range
near the city of Gilbert
in St. Louis County
. Elcor was its own unincorporated community before it was abandoned and was never a neighborhood proper of the city of Gilbert. Not rating a figure in the national census, the people of Elcor were only generally considered to be citizens of Gilbert. The area where Elcor was located was annexed
by Gilbert when its existing city boundaries were expanded after 1969.
In November 1890, the seven Merritt brothers
discovered ore near Mountain Iron
, triggering an unparalleled iron rush to the Mesabi Range. The Elba mine was opened in 1897, and the town was platted
under the direction of Don H. Bacon, president of the Minnesota Iron Company. A second nearby mine, the Corsica, was opened in 1901. The community was first called "Elba" after the name of the first underground mine (the name "Elcor" was formed later by combining the first syllables of each mine's name). The Elba and Corsica mines were both leased by Pickands Mather and Company
after the formation of the United States Steel Corporation
. An influx of people of many ethnicities and many nations followed, and Elcor became a microcosm of U.S. immigration, mirroring the cultural assimilation of the time. At its peak around 1920, Elcor had two churches, a post office, a general store
, a primary school, a railroad station, and its own law enforcement, and housed a population of nearly 1,000. (Full article...