Cuyuna Range

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The Croft Mine Historical Park in Crosby, Minnesota preserves the headframe and railroad bridge.

The Cuyuna Range is an iron range to the southwest of the Mesabi Range, largely within Crow Wing County, Minnesota. It lies along a line between Brainerd and Aitkin, although those communities are not mining towns.

The range was discovered by Cuyler Adams, a surveyor who discovered traces of magnetic ore in 1895 while doing land surveys. The word "Cuyuna" was coined by Adams' wife, who combined the first three letters of Cuyler's name with "Una", the name of their dog.

Mining started on the range in 1911. The ore was located deep underground, as in the Vermilion Range, so most of the mines were developed underground or in very deep pits. In addition to the iron, the ore was rich in manganese, which was useful during World War I when other sources were not available.

At the height of the mining, the Cuyuna Range was the location of the worst mining disaster in Minnesota, the Milford Mine disaster.[1] On February 5, 1924, a new tunnel was blasted too close to nearby Foley Lake, and water rushed in, killing 41 miners.

Mining on the range continued until 1984. Also like the Vermilion Range, mining slowed as it became more economical to extract taconite deposits from the Mesabi Range, which were closer to the surface. Additionally, the surface mines were safer than the mines deep underground.

Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area now occupies portions of the range where mining pits and rock deposit stockpiles were left behind by the miners. The Cuyuna Lakes Trail is also located near the former mines.[2]



  1. ^ Brainerd-Crosby Lakes Area Trail System | Cuyuna Country | Crosby - Ironton | Attractions
  2. ^ Crosby Brainerd MN | Trail Bicycling, Biking, Hiking, Cycling, Touring
  • Lass, William E. (1998) [1977]. Minnesota: A History (2nd ed.). New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-04628-1. 

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