The historic North Hibbing Hull Rust Mahoning Mine View overlooks one of the largest open pit iron ore mines in the world. The mine view gives visitors sight access to 30-40 miles over the City of Hibbing, the Mesabi Axis iron formation and 125+ years of continuous iron ore mining in Minnesota. In fact, it’s known by many as the “Grand Canyon of the North.”
The current Hull Rust Mine View moved from its original location after the Hibbing Taconite Company – a mining company and one of the lessors of the land – detected an opportunity to mine under its former location. The City took this opportunity to locate and design a safer, more accessible and enticing scenic overlook for the public. Opening to the public in spring 2019 with some construction yet to be completed, the new Hull Rust Mine View attracted more than 25,000 visitors representing all 50 states and over 40 countries in its first season alone.
The City partnered with SEH for support in designing the scenic overlook, in addition to having the firm lead efforts such as site planning, civil and structural engineering, survey and roadway design, and construction administration. Multidisciplined design practice, LUCITO, joined the project team to help lead architecture for the overlook.
Pete Hyduke, City of Hibbing Director of City Services, refers to the new mine view as an “experience” for visitors. The mine view features a safe access road climbing over 150 feet in elevation; 360-degree views that allow visitors to see nearly all 5,000 acres of the mine, the entirety of Hibbing and miles of the Mesabi Axis; ADA-accessible paths; and over a dozen mining artifacts organized about the pedestrian paths that form a network between observation lookouts. An upcoming visitor and learning center will showcase the site’s history and geology.
The mine view also features three scenic lookout windows constructed from pre-cast box culverts with steel fencing for safety. One space overlooks the Hull Rust Mine, one overlooks the City and the third overlooks the Mesabi Axis.
Perhaps the most complex piece of the project involved SEH’s design and building of an access road to the mine view project space – approximately 2,700 feet of roadway design. The project team had to move 13,000 cubic yards of material, cut areas as high as 18 feet deep and fill some areas with as much as 30 feet of fill in order to bring this road safely to the top of the selected mine view space. Uniquely, all materials for the roadway and new Hull Rust Mine View came directly from the mine itself.
It was important to both the City and SEH that the scenic overlook retain the look and feel of the historic and industrial mine site – that they were designed to provide an authentic experience for the public. Toward this end, all grading was completed with onsite or mine processed materials. The three lookout windows were made from precast box culverts. The artifacts were framed and housed with precast box culverts similar to the scenic lookout windows. The visitor and learning centers (set to be constructed in 2020) will also be made from box culverts to maintain the historic feel of the mine shafts.
The Hull Rust Mine View is basically who we are as a people up here. It's a big part of our environment and our community. It's been the history and legacy of this community for many, many years.
Historic North Hibbing Hull Rust Mahoning Mine View
City of Hibbing, Minnesota
City of Hibbing