NationalGeographic.com [an error occurred while processing this directive]


 
Feature
More to Explore

Did You Know?
Related Links
Bibliography
NGS Resources

On Assignment

On Assignment

ZipUSA: 55746
Step into the world of writers and photographers as they tell you about the best, worst, and quirkiest places and adventures they encountered in the field.

Zoom In

Get the facts behind the frame in this online-only gallery. Pick an image and see the photographer's technical notes.

Zoom In Thumbnail 1
Click to ZOOM IN >>

Zoom In Thumbnail 2
Click to ZOOM IN >>

Zoom In Thumbnail 3
Click to ZOOM IN >>

Zoom In Thumbnail 4
Click to ZOOM IN >>


Map

ZipUSA: Hibbing, Minnesota

Map Thumbnail



By Sean ElderPhotographs by Catherine Karnow



A mining town produced a legendary artist, but Bob Dylan has been a "Long Time Gone."



Read or print the full story.

It's sixties night at Zimmy's, the Bob Dylan theme bar and restaurant in the singer's hometown of Hibbing, but hardly anyone is in costume. Oh, sure, a few of the locals have tried to get in the spirit, especially since best costume wins tickets to see Dylan perform in Minneapolis, about 200 miles south of here. Donna French, who now lives in the house little Bobby Zimmerman grew up in, before he left town and changed his name in 1959, is wearing a beret and enough mascara to paint the daytime black. But for the most part it's the staff that's dressed in miniskirts and paisley shirts, and most of them are too young to care about Dylan or the sixties.

Adorned with photos of Dylan in his various manifestations—working-class hero, mod Hamlet, Gypsy mechanic—Zimmy's is as close to a Bob Dylan shrine as you'll find in this town. It has the windows from Bob's old house and a bar menu inspired by the singer's oeuvre, including the Reuben "Hurricane Carter" sandwich and the "Simple Twist of Steak."

Ask anyone in Hibbing and they'll tell you that the town has plenty of history without Bob Dylan. Incorporated in 1893, it became the largest of the many mining towns on the iron-ore-rich Mesabi Range—the "richest village in the world," it was called. But by the late 1950s, when a young Dylan could be seen walking the streets with a guitar slung over his shoulder, much of the high-grade iron ore was depleted. The Hull-Rust-Mahoning Mine, the site of what was the world's biggest open-pit iron ore mine, is a local attraction for tourists, a sort of Grand Canyon of strip mining. "You've seen that great ugly hole in the ground, where that open-pit mine was," Dylan told biographer Robert Shelton. "They actually think, up there, that it is beautiful."

Subscribe to National Geographic magazine.


E-mail this page to a friend

Subscribe

Final Edit
The photo rescued from the cutting room floor is this month's Final Edit.

Forum
Nominate your favorite zip or postal code for this magazine series.
More to Explore

In More to Explore the National Geographic magazine team shares some of its best sources and other information. Special thanks to the Research Division.

Did You Know?
Bobby Zimmerman's flight from home was part of a larger movement of Jews out of the Iron Range, Minnesota's northern mining region. The sizable Jewish community on the Iron Range into which young Bob was born has all but dispersed. Jews, many directly from eastern Europe, were drawn to the abounding opportunities of the Iron Range in the early 20th century. When the mining economy withered in the 1950s, Jews began to move away to cities such as Chicago, Minneapolis, and St. Paul. Why were Jews more likely to leave town than the other immigrant communities in Hibbing? It is difficult to say, but perhaps it is because most Jews, like Bob's father, were merchants or professionals whose skills were not exclusive to a mining town. The strong educational tradition in the Jewish community may also have been a factor. Bobby Zimmerman left Hibbing to attend the University of Minnesota before leaving for New York to pursue his dreams as Bob Dylan. While Dylan's story is unique, in many ways it is also typical of the Hibbing Jewish community of the time in that, according to Hyman Berman of the University of Minnesota, "the children went off to college and never came back."

The synagogue in Hibbing where Bob celebrated his Bar Mitzvah has been closed down and turned into apartment buildings. The synagogue in nearby Eveleth has been destroyed. At the last surviving Jewish place of worship of the Iron Range, the B'nai Abraham in the town of Virginia, services are rarely held for lack of the required minyan, or quorum, of ten Jewish men.

— Tom Cannell

Did You Know?

Related Links
Hibbing Area Chamber of Commerce
www.hibbing.org/visitor_info.html
The Chamber of Commerce provides you with everything you need to know to enjoy a visit to Hibbing; history, restaurants, lodging.

Greyhound Bus Origin Museum Website
www.greyhoundbusmuseum.org/
In Hibbing, the place where Greyhound buses were born, look at this museum devoted to one of the nation's oldest bus companies.

Bob Dylan.com
www.bobdylan.com/index.html
This is a truly comprehensive site devoted to Bob Dylan's career: all the songs, all the albums, lots of Bob.

Top


Bibliography
Bloomquist, Lee. "Cliffs expects return to profits." Duluth News Tribune. July 25, 2002.

Maki, Heather Jo. Hibbing, Minnesota. Arcadia, 2001.

Miller, James P. "Mining towns fall victim to foundering steel industry." Chicago Tribune. December 23, 2001

Shelton, Robert. No Direction Home: The Life and Music of Bob Dylan. Da Capo Press, 1986.

Top


NGS Resources
Leacock, Elspeth. The Midwest. National Geographic Books, 2002.

Miller, Mark, and Rick Nelson. "America's Hometown," National Geographic Traveler (July/August 1998), 62-72.

Austin, Beth. "Small-Town Tales," National Geographic Traveler (March/April 1991), 130-131.

Vosburgh, Frederick G. "Minnesota Makes Ideas Pay," National Geographic (September 1949), 291-336.

Top


© 2002 National Geographic Society. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy       Advertising Opportunities       Masthead

National Geographic Magazine Home Contact Us Forums Shop Subscribe