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Minnesota Backstory

Find out about the reason small-town Minnesota is featured in the Laura Keene saga! 

THE SECOND TREASURES MYSTERIES and Raging Ford, Minnesota, are based on my mother’s home town of Hibbing in northern Minnesota, located on the very edge of the Mesabi Range. Hibbing boomed when Iron Ore was King. Profits from the millions of tons of iron ore scooped from the mines built this town. The marble bathrooms and indoor swimming pool in Hibbing High School, as well as the historic mural in the library, that you’ve read about in these mysteries, all exist. 

     My tour guide a few years back (my cousin's husband, the principal at that time, now retired) took us to the floor below the swimming pool to see the “windows” (made of thick, thick, thick glass) on both sides of the start/end of the pool so judges could “see” who touched the wall first and won the race. Beyond that, the student auditorium looked like something from Austria or Paris! Rows and rows of red velvet seats with crystal chandeliers above them faced a spectacular stage. Bet you didn’t know that Bob Dylan was born and raised in Hibbing. His family’s home is still there, and he played his first “concert” in the Hibbing High School auditorium! You can see all of these wonderful things at Hibbing High School, or search your browser for more views of the high school and town. If you’re more interested in the history of the town itself, just search on “Hibbing Minnesota history.”

     Then there’s the Hibbing Historical Museum. My grandmother’s wedding dress is there in the “Kohrt” section. My grandparents were among the “founding or first families” in the town. My grandfather and his two brothers owned and operated the Kohrt Brothers Meat Market, which also sold a lot of “general store” goods. While they lost the store in the 1929 crash, it was one of the original stores in Hibbing, which, like many others, had to be “moved” (dismantled and moved and rebuilt) to a different part of town when the mine had to be expanded to meet the ever-growing demands for iron ore, both in America and abroad. The move also explained why there is an Old Cemetery (where one of my uncles was buried) and a New Cemetery where all the rest of the Kohrts (and some Keenes - my grandmother's family) were buried (just like in my fictional Raging Ford).

     The Hull-Rust-Mahoning mine is one of the largest open-pit mines in the world and is still operational today, providing taconite which can be processed into iron pellets. The town currently sits where it was moved, but you can still see some of the front steps of homes and shops where the old town used to be. Regardless of all the riches poured into Hibbing’s infrastructure, the town remains a small town with all of the flavor of a small town, to this day. They welcome visitors, so please go visit there for a taste of something very special. A lot of family love is poured into these stories, and I hope you enjoy the entire six-book series and the little touch of Minnesota in your lives.

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