MN-135, Biwabik, MN, 55708
Located in the parking lot east of the campground on Highway 135 and an access point for the Mesabi Trail, this historical marker tells the story behind the Old Vermilion Trail that ran through this area.
The text reads:
“Old Vermilion Trail. If you feel a sense of history as you stand on this spot, it is natural that you should. The history of the Vermilion Trail, from Lake Vermilion (near the present day Tower) to Lake Superior (at Duluth) can be traced to the original peoples of the Laurel Culture of a thousand years ago.
“More recently, the moccasins of the Sioux and Ojibwa (Chippewa) followed its path hunting and trapping for the necessities of life. The Ojibwa language provided the names along the trail, the city of Biwabik, the Mesabi Iron Range, and a host of other Iron Range communities, lakes and landmarks. Later would come the French Voyageurs trading with the Ojibwa for furs to ship to Europe. For many years the English claimed the trail to be a portion of the northern boundary of the U.S. until the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842.
“On this spot stood the gold prospectors on their way to Lake Vermilion in 1865, George Riley Stuntz who constructed the road along the trail from Duluth in 1869 (now County Highway 4), the employees of Charlemagne Tower on their way to open Minnesota’s first iron mine at Soudan in 1882, and the famed Merritt brothers, the “seven iron men” who often traversed the trail finding iron ore and opening the first Mesabi mines at Biwabik and Mt. Iron in 1890.
“On this spot you can spend a few moments enjoying the scenic beauty of Embarrass Lake as those who have come before you. If you close your eyes, you might even imagine that you are one of these pioneers discovering this beautiful area for the first time.”