Latitude / Longitude:
47°30′19″N 92°26′28″W / 47.50528°N 92.44111°W / 47.50528
1,542 ft (470 m)
Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Elcor is a ghost town in the U.S. state of Minnesota which existed between 1897 and 1956. It was built on the Mesabi Iron Range near the city of Gilbert in St. Louis County. Elcor was its own unincorporated community before it was abandoned and was never a neighborhood proper of the city of Gilbert. Not rating a figure in the national census, the people of Elcor were only generally considered to be citizens of Gilbert. The area where Elcor was located was annexed by Gilbert when its existing city boundaries were expanded after 1969.
In November 1890, the seven Merritt brothers discovered ore on the Mesabi Range, and a new iron rush began. The Elba mine was opened in 1897, and the town was platted under the direction of Don H. Bacon, president of the Minnesota Iron Company. A second nearby mine, the Corsica, was opened in 1901. The community was first called “Elba” after the name of the first underground mine (the name “Elcor” was formed later by combining the first syllables of each mine’s name). The Elba and Corsica mines were both leased by Pickands Mather and Company after the formation of the United States Steel Corporation.
Elcor was a mining location, built by the mining company to house the workers for its mines. People were allowed to own their homes, but the land on which the houses stood belonged to the mining company. After the Corsica mine closed in 1954, Pickands Mather and Company ordered the residents to vacate the property so that it could reclaim the land; by 1956, Elcor was completely abandoned. The desolate property changed hands often through acquisitions, mergers and bankruptcies. In 1993 the Inland Steel Company began stripping the overburden from Elcor’s former location for what is now the Minorca mine.
An influx of people of many ethnicities from many nations followed, and Elcor became a microcosm of U.S. immigration, mirroring the cultural assimilation of the time. At its peak around 1920, Elcor had two churches, a post office, a mercantile, a primary school, a railroad station and its own law enforcement, and housed a population of nearly 1,000.