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Longyear Drill Site

Historic Site


E. J. Longyear’s historic first diamond drill site on the famed Mesabi Iron Range, established in 1890, is located about three miles north of Hoyt Lakes, Minnesota on County Road 110.

An information booth in the parking area directs the visitor along a quarter-mile of wilderness nature trail leading to the actual 1890 drill site. Benches along the trail invite a leisurely stroll to the site, and the return trail crosses two foot bridges.

Young Edmund J. Longyear, then a recent graduate of Michigan Mining School of Houghton, arrived at “Mesaba Stations” mining boom town on May 22, 1890. He was of the opinion that his experience in looking at land would be “worth much more to me in Minnesota”.

On June 3, 1890, Longyear’s steam engine began driving its diamond-bitted drill to an ultimate depth of 1,293 feet. This first attempt failed to show evidence of recoverable ore, but was the beginning of a new era in iron exploration.

Convinced that he could go further by offering contract exploration services, he formed the E. J. Longyear Company and for the next 21 years, from 1890-1911, continued to explore and lease properties all along the ninety-mile length of the Mesabi.

Investing his nominal wage from the partnership of his uncle, John Monroe Longyear, and Russell Bennet, and the royalties from other interests, such as the Pillsbury family of Minneapolis, he eventually directed the exploration of 7,133 test pits and diamond drill holes across the ranges and established todays worldwide Longyear Exploration Company.

Accessibility Notes

Limited access to handicapped. Quarter mile trail through woods.


Sunrise to sunset, site unattended

Seasons Open

Spring, Summer, Fall


No charge

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