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I live, work and play in northern Minnesota. Our home is in Winton, which is a hundred miles due north of Duluth, Minnesota (which is at the western tip of Lake Superior). We're only about fifteen miles from the Canadian border, and we're just a few miles north of the community of Embarrass which is often the cold spot in the nation during our long winters. On February 2, 1996 a ninety-seven year old record was broken when the temperature there dropped to -60° just before the sun rose to our rescue.
We are also on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW ) - a 1.3 million acre area of forest and lakes internationally known for it's beauty, fishing, hunting, wildlife and canoe camping. Minnesota is known as the "Land of 10,000 Lakes" and a large percentage of those lakes are here in the northeastern tip of the state - an area known as the "Arrowhead."
Winton is a tiny community of about 185 people as of the 2000 census. It was close to double that size back in the 50s and early 60s when I was growing up here. The city of Ely (rhymes with really) is only three miles away and, with some 3200 people, is our main population center and the location of our major businesses and services. We also have a large rural population, especially during the summer when the "snow birds" come back north after having spent the winter in warmer places.
From Ely, it is about 15 miles south to the small town of Babbitt. Heading westward, it's about 22 miles to Tower and Soudan, and another 32 miles to the city of Virginia. In between are a few homes, but mainly we are driving through areas of undeveloped forest lands and many streams and lakes, many of which have seasonal cabins and a few homes on their shores.
We live "on the range" -- iron range, that is. Iron mining was once the mainstay of the economy in this area, along with logging as the second most important source of employment. Times have changed and, although some mines are still in operation and some logging continues, the local economy has had to diversify. Tourism now provides work for many people.
Although the population of our area is down from what it once was, some people are moving into the area and building new cabins and homes, and that's what keeps my business going. Many of my clients are building their retirement homes, although they often use them as their vacation home for a few years until they are able to retire. Because of this trend, the average age of our population is rising, and the numbers of K-12 students in our school systems is declining. Ely also has a two year "canoe country" community college with a unique natural resources technology program.
Oh, yes, the office of Architectural Drafting and Design is located in what was once a bedroom in our home in Winton. If you would like to email, write, call or visit me, you'll find the information you need on my contact page.
You are welcome to follow some links to other web sites in our area and in Minnesota for a virtual experience of what life is like here for us.
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