Digging Up Whiskey Row: An Archaeological and Historical Investigation of Industrial Capitalism on the North Shore of Lake Superior
AuthorTumberg, Timothy Andrew
AdvisorReid, J. Jefferson
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractFollowing years of speculation about the potential economic value of mineral deposits in northeastern Minnesota, the first full-scale attempts to exploit that potential began in 1882. That year, the Minnesota Iron Company (MIC) imported dozens of miners to start extracting iron ore from the Soudan Mine on the south shore of Lake Vermilion. They concurrently imported hundreds of men to Agate Bay on the north shore of Lake Superior, approximately 70 miles south of the mine. The MIC selected Agate Bay as the spot for their ore shipping port and they needed men to start the simultaneous construction of an ore dock in the harbor and a railroad north from the harbor to the mine. Immediately after choosing Agate Bay as the spot for their shipping port location, the MIC bought up all the land along the north and west sides of Agate Bay except for a four-acre parcel that owner Thomas Sexton refused to sell. As the MIC-controlled community of Two Harbors developed around it, Sexton's parcel, which he platted as the community of Agate Bay, remained outside of company control. It quickly developed a reputation as a sea of iniquity that eventually became known as "Hell's Four Acres," which included a particularly notorious section called Whiskey Row. Sexton's platted community of Agate Bay existed for just a few years before the iron company acquired it early in 1886. At that point the company removed or demolished all of the remaining structures and covered much of what had been the settlement of Agate Bay with a coal storage platform. This project examines the town site of Agate Bay by looking at the documentary information in the historical record as well as the material culture remains recovered during archaeological excavations. Agate Bay is examined in terms of its position in a world economy (World Systems Theory) with consideration of the potential impacts of industrial capitalism.
Degree ProgramGraduate College