Sunday, October 17, 2021

Dedication of the Rock Opens Big Day of Dylan Celebrations in Hibbing

—Bob Dylan, 1963
"11 Outlined Epitaphs"

Photo credit: Craig Grau
On Saturday, October 16, Hibbing hosted a number of events of interest related to Bob Dylan, who in 1959 graduated from high school here. The most significant moment of the day took place at 1:00 p.m. in front of the high school where The Hibbing Project tribute to Bob Dylan was unveiled.

Earlier in the day, however, another dedication took place. On the Mesaba Bike Trail adjacent to the Greyhound Bus Museum, a group of Hibbing notables, fans and media gathered to dedicate “The Rock,” a Dylan tribute inscribed with a quote from 11 Outlined Epitaphs. (For those unaware, Greyhound buses originated here in the Northland as a means for transporting workers to the mines.) 

The late Congressman Jim Oberstar played an instrumental role in helping to establish our Minnesota bike trail network which seems to have no beginning and no end. Wherever you start you can keep going on a never ending tour via more than a dozen statewide trails. The Mesabi Bike Trail comes through Hibbing. Many of these bike trails run where abandoned  railroad tracks once lay. It is hoped that additional rocks can be found or placed along the trail with additional Dylan citations.

The short program commenced with music by Megan and Jefferson Reynolds. John Ongaro, a government relations director, served as MC, welcoming all of us who attended before Megan and Jefferson opened by performing “When I Got Troubles” which teenager Bobby Zimmerman recorded on a home recording when he was 18. (You’ll find this recording on the soundtrack for Martin Scorsese’s No Direction Home.)

Jon Ongara noted how the Duluth Dylan Fest and the Hibbing Project teams have worked together to make this the St. Louis County Year of Dylan happen, of which Saturday's events were a part. After acknowledging Molly Johnsrud’s role in helping make things happen here, Ongaro introduced Representative Julie Sandstrede.

Rep. Julie Sandstede 'neath the trail marker.
Rep. Sandstrede began with a thought-provoking admonition from the last stanza of Dylan’s Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest: “So when you see your neighbor carrying somethin' // Help him with his load.”

She went on to share that the word Mesaba means “giant” and that Bob Dylan is a giant who has garnered accolades of the highest caliber, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Nobel Prize for Literature. “May the next generation of (Iron) Rangers make their own mark in the world,” she said. With a measure of pride for the heritage of this region she said that Hibbing is a town full of stories.

Paul MacDonald, Vice Chair of the St. Louis County Board of Commissioners, spoke next. In addition to representing the Northern part of St. Louis County, Paul is the son of the late Bob MacDonald, the legendary basketball coach of the Chisholm high school basketball team. MacDonald won more than a thousand games, more than any other coach in Minnesota history.* 

Jon Ongaro (R) introduces Paul MacDonald

“The backbone of the country came from the Iron Range. It’s work ethic. It’s moral,” MacDonald said. “People come to the Iron Range to knock on Heaven’s door.”

Jon Ongaro closed the dedication by reading a passage from Bob Dylan’s 1963 poem 11 Outlined Epitaphs, from which the line inscribed on this rock was lifted.

Afterwards I spoke with a number of those who were present. Craig Grau, a retired UMD political science professor, called the etched trail marker “a rolling stone that stopped.”

I also spoke briefly with Julie Sandstede, in her third term as State Representative for District 6. I asked how if the current political atmosphere was making her jaded. “I refuse to be cynical. We need positive politics," she replied. 

I asked if she were a Dylan fan. “Growing up here, how could I not be?”

* * * 


In addition to the rock dedication and Hibbing Dylan Project unveiling, other events of the day included a tour of Hibbing High School, special hours for the Hibbing Historical Society featuring a display from Bill Pagel’s private Dylan Collection, a special opening of the Hull-Rust Mine View, and a free community concert in the Little Theater inside the Hibbing Memorial Arena at 7 pm featuring Amy Grillo and Gene LaFond with David Bennett and Sam Saccoman.

Here are more photos of the Tribute that is now installed in front of Hibbing High School. (Click to enlarge)

Katie Fredeen, Hibbing Dylan Project President, shares 
the history of the project, from conception to unveiling.

Related Links

Photos inside the Hibbing High School auditorium where young Bob Zimmerman performed here as a youth.

The Dylan Tribute unveiled

*After winning 1012 games in his career as a coach, Bob MacDonald was inducted into the NFHS National High School Hall of Fame.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks so much ED for your article full of love and respect for Bob DYLAN and the country where he was born

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