Quad Cities (Minnesota)
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The Quad Cities in the U.S. state of Minnesota consist of the cities of Virginia, Eveleth, Gilbert, and Mountain Iron; located in the Arrowhead Region, overlapping Iron Range region, and Saint Louis County.
The Quad Cities, all founded in the 1890s and early 1900s, owe their existence mainly to the mining industry that came to the area around that time. Their prosperity grew as the mines grew. Unfortunately, many of the mines shut down during the Great Depression and didn't resume full work until World War II. This was approximately the peak point for the industry in the area. Slowly the cities, though increasing in area, decreased in population.
According to the 2000 census, the Quad Cities have a population of 17,868. Virginia has 9,157 residents. Eveleth has 3,865 residents; Mountain Iron has 2,999 residents; and Gilbert has 1,847 residents. Recent estimates of the 2010 census have declared that Virginia alone has lost about seven percent of its total population, the other cities expected to lose too.
Economy and industry
The mining industry, long lasting since the early 1900s, is slowing declining production in the area. Minntac, one of the world's largest mine employees in numbers, have only a fraction of the people working than they had fifty years ago. The area focuses a lot on tourism and healthcare, the two now largest employers in the area.
Things to do
Virginia and the surrounding cities have several things for public enjoyment, from swimming to shopping. Various lakes and pits across the range make swimming and boating very accessible. There is bound to be a hiking, biking, or four wheeling trail wherever you are on the Iron Range. For the winter months, there are several snowmobiling trails around the area with easy access and ice rinks all over the cities. For those that crave an indoor atmosphere, there is the YMCA in Mountain Iron, for many recreational purposes. For shoppers, there is the Thunderbird Mall in Virginia, downtown businesses in each city, and in late 2014 a new Walmart Super Center will be opening near the fairly new Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Mountain Iron.