Another store is closing in Hibbing,Mn 55746
And another.
And I noticed the other day that another large historic home is up for sale ( it originally belonged to “bus andy” anderson, the man who started the greyhound bus company. Remember that?) . The two businesses operated by the owners of the large historic home are closing as well. As is the last standing jewelry store-which opened about 100 years ago.
At our house (which is paid for and owned by our children) we daily say, “What would our parents say if they were here?” Three of our four parents were born and raised in the original town of Hibbing which used to  lie just north of the present town and is now the site of the one-time World’s Largest Open Pit Mine-which means it is a very, very large hole.
Our parents lived through a series of mining booms that saw the erection of the present city. Many of it’s most stately homes and buildings were bought and paid for by the mining companies. Hibbng was one grand lady in her day… crystal chandeliers and an orchestra hall  theater organ in the auditorium of the huge classically built high school..state of the art plumbing lies beneath the streets of Hibbing and  Bennet  park is still here but no longer with a zoo, water features and flower and vegetable gardens. Hibbing was not only something to behold, it was an amazing city to live in.
If nothing else,  preseent-day  Hibbing is a testament to bad planning, delusional thinking, corruption, incompetence and greed.
..a true American story.
Our former downtown area now looks like a set from a Hollywood movie… not quite a Western scene, but most certainly a ghost town; a town standing, waiting for some life to come its way.

A local man is buying up  much of the real estate around..
many, many stores have “for lease” signs in the windows.Most Hibbingites wonder where he got the money to purchase all these buildings…. no one else can get a bank loan, but he seems to have no problem
A group has been formed to market the splendor and wonders of Hibbing to  anyone out there who is naive enough  to fall for it . I believe it’s called “branding” now… or at least it was 5 years ago when the concept was really big in the rest of the  known world. As always these things take 5-10 years to make their way to Hibbing, even in this information age..Hibbing is still on the backside of nowhere and things just take awhile.
So Our Town is being branded. The slogan is ..ready? this is a real knee-slapper…”Hibbing: Ore and a Whole Lot More”. This  cracks me up! My dad would’ve said, “What are these people smoking!?” And he would’ve been right.. Not too far beneath the marketing smokescreen,  those of us who still have eyes to see and ears to hear and cognitve faculties still functioning in the range of normalcy, recognize that this is just a whole lot of wishful thinking… spin. My father would have called it BullShit.  . Because the reality is that all that Hibbing has more of is:
more streets and alleys with holes in them. This is  either because the existing plumbing and sewers beneath the surface are breaking and caving in or else the shoddy repair job done by the work crews at the Public Utilities is once again cutting corners on the fill=in and resurfacing job. I know there are compaction standards but these boys must not have gotten the memo on that.As a result, the roads are no better than those found in the unsurfaced mining camps at the beginning of the century.
-more empty storefronts. take a walk downtown. or at our once full mall….. the silence and empty windows speak for themselves.

to be continued……………..