Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial Heritage and Archaeology (PhD)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Social Sciences

Advisor 1

Nancy Langston

Committee Member 1

Melissa Baird

Committee Member 2

Don Lafreniere

Committee Member 3

Fredric Quivik

Committee Member 4

Arn Keeling


This dissertation explores the intersection between mining technology, industrial heritage, and environmental history, using iron mining in the Mesabi Range of the Lake Superior Iron District as its core case study. What impact did technological shifts in iron mining and ore processing have on the environment of the Lake Superior basin? How did the environmental changes wrought from low-grade iron ore mining and processing, such as the expansion of open-pits and the production of tailings, affect different communities in Minnesota’s Mesabi Range? And finally, how have the environmental legacies of iron mining been remembered and memorialized, or ignored and forgotten?