Although people had come to Nashwauk as
early as 1880 to do small scale logging, most of the
settlers did not come here until after 1900. Nashwauk was
the first mining Community to develop in Itasca County on
the Western Mesabi Range, being platted by the Nashwauk
Realty Company on May 26, 1902, when forty acres, the
present site original plat of Nashwauk, was deeded to them
by the Mississippi Land Company. Articles of Incorporation
were drawn up and filed, a census was taken, and the area
boasted a population of 220. On January 12, 1903, the
existence of Nashwauk became legal, for it was then
that the organization of the village of Nashwauk was filed
The Townsite Company that developed
Nashwauk was composed of Joseph Sellwood, G.G. Hartley, O.D.
Kinney, E.B. Hawkins, G.H. Crosby and E. J. Longyear.
It is believed that Nashwauk was named
after a river in Brunswick, Canada. The word is said to be
from the Algonquin Indian language meaning "land between."
The first officers of Nashwauk in 1902
were: President, John R. McLean; Recorder, Paul Tweed;
trustees, Ed Logan, Ed Larson, A. McWilliams; Treasurer,
Officers of the village in 1903 were:
President, Hugh Riley; Recorder, Paul Tweed; Trustees, James
Hayes, Ed Larson, C.E. King; Treasurer, Erick Johnson.
Soon after incorporation in 1903, a
building boom began. Board sidewalks appeared on Central
Avenue and tents, shacks and log huts that had been used for
temporary dwellings were vacated, as new homes were built.
Families continued to arrive, and no other town on the Iron
Range grew as fast as Nashwauk did. By 1910 the population
was 2080. Nashwauk's population according to the last census
in 1970 was 1333.
Logging thrived in the area in the early
days. Although iron ore was discovered as early as 1884 in
Minnesota, development was cautious. When investors began
building railroads, constructing mine sites, hauling in
mining equipment, the idea caught fire, and the mining
frontier was open. Nashwauk shipped ore in 1902 from the
It is interesting to note
that the first ordinance passed by this council was one
regulating the sale and consumption of intoxicating
beverages. Nashwauk truly was a typical and picturesque
frontier community with some twenty-one saloons doing
business in the area at that time.
The Nashwauk post office was registered in 1902 with Paul
Tweed as the first postmaster. In 1903, a $25,000 bond issue
was floated for the purpose of constructing adequate water
works. It was a memorable day in 1904 when the water works
was turned on. Nashwauk blossomed out with its electric
street lights in 1906. Nashwauk had a sewage system as early
as 1908, and it was the first town on the Range to have a
Community improvements have continued through the years with
the growth of the village. The present city hall was built
in 1915 and houses the council chambers, township room,
public utilities office, and East Itasca Joint Recreation
Nashwauk became a city January 1, 1974, when an act of the
State Legislature changed the status of all villages in the
State of Minnesota to that of city, thus Nashwauk became the
City of Nashwauk.
Present Council members
Mayor — Robert S. Williams
Clerk — Arlene Halliday
Councilmen — Edward Bolf
Treasurer — Ruth Ross
The village story can be told
by its people, the English, Finnish, French, Germans, Irish,
Italians, Norwegians, Scotch, Swedes and the Slavic nations.
Most of these people came for business reasons, to run a
store, to work for a lumber company or to work in the mines.
Those who settled down to build homes seemed to form the
backbone of the town. They were the solid citizens, the
people who made Nashwauk. They all worked hard, played hard
and built a fine place in which to live. The story of the
land, and of its people who pioneered, played a vital part
in the story of Nashwauk.
Paul Tweed was manager of the
first hardware store in Nashwauk. He was the first town
recorder and held several other village offices. Mr. Tweed
was the first postmaster in 1902 and served in that office
for eleven years. He died July 30, 1930. Mrs. Tweed, the
former Hilma Lance, was here with her father, a foreman at
the Crosby Mine. Mrs. Tweed died May 19, 1962. Six sons were
born to the Tweeds: Russell, Paul Jr., George (1966) and
John (1973) all now deceased; Charles and Chris, who still
operate the Nashwauk Hardware at its same location This is
the only store in Nashwauk locale which is still being
operated by the same family as it was hack in.1902. The
store is also celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.
The lumber business was discontinued several years ago, and
the building was destroyed by fire in 1977. Charles lives
alone in the family home on Second Street. Chris and his
wife Marcella have three children — Elizabeth, Rebecca and
Thomas R. Dodson, now
deceased, ran a barber shop here in the early days. He was
also the first Justice of the Peace and served as Mayor of
the village. Family members include: Ruth Vermilyea Webster
and Ray, both of rural Nashwauk; Jewel Mosley, Connecticut;
and Horace, now deceased,
One of the early Italian
immigrants to come to Nashwauk was Santo Frassini
(1865-1922). In 1902 he helped sink the shaft at the Hawkins
Mine. He lived in a tent with John and Santo Sella until
they constructed the first log building on the site where
the Observation Platform stands today. He opened the first
candy shop in 1904, later going into business with Santo
Sella and Pasquale Verre in the Italian Mercantile Co. In
1909 he conducted his candy business from the building which
served as the bank, later known asYetta's store, and now as
a garage behind the First National Bank. In 1916 he
constructed a brick building on Central Avenue, which housed
his candy store and living quarters upstairs. He married
Adele Gambera (1874-1941) who came here in 1909, and in 1916
their daughter Mary was born. She was married to Milton
"Swede" Englund of Grand Marais in 1946, and their daughter
Adele was born in 1956. After Santo Frassini's death, the
candy store's lease changed hands over the years Kresek,
Gust Callas, Peter and Helen Santrizos, Evelyn Blair, and
Gerald Clark, respectively. This store was known as the
Gopher Cafe and Bus Depot. In 1970 "Swede" remodeled the
cafe. Buddy Grozdanich moved his barber shop in one side and
on the other side, a dental office which has been occupied
by the following dentists, Tom Waite, O.M. Weber, John
Cornell and at present, Paul O'Brien. The Englund family
The T.T. Rileys (Tom and Bridget) came to
Nashwauk in 1902 from Wilson, Wisconsin. They operated a
livery barn on First Street where the Ronald Sterle home now
stands. Mr. Riley served as Chief of Police, Deputy Sheriff,
and Sheriff of Itasca County. He was serving as Municipal
Judge at the time of his death in April 1936. Mrs. Riley
died in October of the same year. Hugh, T. T. Riley's
brother, served as the second Mayor of Nashwauk in 1903.
Three sons and three daughters were born to the Rileys.
William Walter, who was killed in World War I, and for whom
the American Legion Post was named; Hugh Edward, and John,
both deceased; Mary (Mrs. Frank Ambrozich) of Hibbing;
Catherine, a retired professor at Stanford University,
California; and Josephine, deceased.
Charles W. Latvala Family in 1954
Charles W. Latvala, born May 15, 1881, in
Vaasan laani, Alajarvi, Finland, migrated to the United
States of America in 1894 and settled at Cokato, Minnesota.
He lived there for three years and then moved to Sparta,
Minnesota, where he worked in the Sparta Mine until 1902. He
then moved to Nashwauk, and here settled permanently. He
built a store and entered the grocery business. He married
Lydia Aho June 24, 1904. He went into the logging business,
road contracting, and farming until retirement in 1958. He
was active in community affairs, was on the local school
board for 19 years; was a village trustee for one term; and
president of the Finnish Methodist Church when it was
organized in 1907. He heId membership in the Knights of
Kaleva, Nashwauk Finnish Historical Chapter No. 20, the
Minnesota Finnish-American Historical Society, Itasca County
Old Settlers, Nashwauk Retired Men's Club, and the Nashwauk
Lutheran Church. He was a director of the First National
Bank of Nashwauk for 49 years. He was two terms president of
the Timber Producers Association, a member of Nashwauk A.F.
and A.M. Lodge 331, Virginia Chapter 77 R.A.M., Eveleth
Commandery 35, and the Aad Temple Shrine of Duluth. He was
awarded the Cross of Finland in 1963. In 1954, Charles and
Lydia Latvala were honored on their 50th wedding anniversary
at the Nashwauk Lutheran Church. Lydia Latvala passed away
February 11, 1960, and Charles Latvala passed away May 6,
1973 — nine days short of his 90th birthday. From this
marriage were born six sons: Hans, Edwin, Herbert, Harvey,
Richard, and Robert; and one daughter, Helen (Lloyd B.
Mitchell). Of the children Hans and Edwin are deceased. The
medallion on the taconite rock in front of our Memorial
Building is a copy of a post card picture of Charles and
Arthur Latvala, brothers.
and Mrs. James Aimonetti were pioneer residents of Nashwauk.
She came with her first husband Felix Tarro in 1902 when
there were only three log houses. The Tarros built a
building on Central Avenue and opened a saloon and boarding
house. They had one son Peter F. Tarro now living in
California. Mrs. Tarro was left a widow and later married
James Aimonetti. They had two
daughters Catherine (Mrs. Kendal Morse)
and Josephine (Mrs. Matt Schroeder) both deceased. In 1926
the Aimonetti's built a house on Third Street. He died in
1962 at the age of 79 and she died in 1963 at the age of 86.
Mr. and Mrs. William Brown purchased the Aimonetti home in
1963 and reside there now. Mrs. Aimonetti
was an avid fisherman, fishing from the Swan Lake bridge,
and winning many fishing contests.
John Lake came to Nashwauk in 1902 and
built a house in the Northwest section of town which later
became the Hawkins open pit mine. In November he returned to
Sparta for his wife and together they traveled here by
railroad and horse-drawn sleigh. Mr. Lake worked in the
mines, did logging, was a road contractor and also served as
a street commissioner. He died in 1946. Their son, Emil, now
deceased, was said to be the first child born within the
present site of Nashwauk. They also had four daughters:
Ihlea, Mrs. LeRoy Allie, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Sadie, Mrs.
Don Byers, Zion, Illinois; Erma Lake, resident at Leisure
Hills, Hibbing; and Nell, now deceased. Hilma Lake died in
1970 at 90 years of age.
[many additional families shown in book]