In the late 19th century, prospectors in northern Minnesota discovered extremely rich veins of hematite, often containing more than 65% iron. The Soudan Mine began operation in 1882, and moved to underground mining by 1900. By 1912 the mine was at a depth of 1,250 feet. When the mine closed in 1965, level 27 was being developed at 2,341 feet below the surface and the entire underground workings consisted of more than fifty miles of drifts, adits, and raises. This iron ore was gathered in the mid 1900's, before the mine became a state park and can no longer be collected due to the protection of the mine. This rare material is the source of our collection, The Range.