Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Man's Reach -- A Transforming Life, 37: Governor-elect

The day after being elected governor. L-R, seated, Eleanor and Elmer; standing, Alice and Tony Andersen, Emily Andersen, Donna Petersen (Elmer's long-time assistant), November 1960

"The day after the election, I called my first press conference as governor-elect, at the Leamington Hotel in downtown Minneapolis. I had an announcement: I would not wait until inauguration day to begin to work on the economic problems on the Iron Range. I would go to northeastern Minnesota as soon as meetings could be arranged with local leaders. I wanted quick action to alleviate the distress I had witnessed in that region during the campaign.

In the fall of 1960, unemployment was at 12 percent in northeastern Minnesota, an unacceptable level. Dirt swirled in the doorways of empty storefronts along Duluth's Superior Street. Throughout Range cities, residents were leaving in droves, and housing values were plummeting. The supply of merchantable iron ore—ore that could be dug out of the earth and shipped directly to the steel mills in the East—was nearly exhausted on the Range."

Courtesy H. B. Fuller Company

"A Man's Reach -- A Transforming Life" is on display through August 15 in the Exhibit Gallery, Elmer L. Andersen Library, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus.

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