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Manganese
Ruins and Crumbling foundation of the Fitger Hotel
Ruins and crumbling concrete foundation of the old Fitger Hotel in Manganese, October 2016
Etymology: Manganese
Country United States
State Minnesota
County Crow Wing
Founded March 13, 1912
Incorporated November 10, 1913
Dissolved July 17, 1961
Elevation
1,250 ft (380 m)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
GNIS feature ID 654881

Manganese is a ghost town and former mining community in the U.S. state of Minnesota that was inhabited between 1912 and 1960. It was built in Crow Wing County on the Cuyuna Iron Range in sections 23 and 28 of Wolford Township, about 2 miles (3 km) north of Trommald, Minnesota. After its formal dissolution, Manganese was absorbed by Wolford Township; the former town site is located between Coles Lake and Flynn Lake. First appearing in the U.S. Census of 1920 with an already dwindling population of 183, the village was abandoned by 1960.

Manganese was one of the last of the Cuyuna Range communities to be established, and was named after the mineral located in abundance near the town. Manganese was an incorporated community, built on land above the Trommald Formation, the main ore-producing unit of the North Range district of the Cuyuna Iron Range, unique due to the amount of manganese in part of the iron formation and ore. The Trommald Formation and adjacent Emily District are the largest resource of manganese in the United States. The community was composed of many immigrants who had fled the natural disasters and social and political upheavals in Europe during the decades before World War I.

Manganese was laid out with three north–south and five east–west streets. Concrete sidewalks and curbing lined the clay streets, which were never paved. At its peak around 1919, Manganese had two hotels, a bank, two grocery stores, a barbershop, a show hall, and a two-room school, and housed a population of nearly 600. After World War I, the population of Manganese went into steady decline as mining operations shut down; along with the quagmire of the clay streets due to spring rains, this led to the community's eventual abandonment and formal dissolution in 1961. The privately owned land started to be resettled in 2017, as the old wooded lots were cleared and redeveloped as primitive campsites.

History

Named after the mining of its namesake, the village first appeared as "Manganese Village" in the 1920 Census with a population of 183. A post office called Manganese was in operation from 1912 until 1924.

Over time, like most other minerals in the Cuyuna Range, all of the ore had been extracted. As a result, no employment remained in the city, and the residents needed to relocate to find new jobs. Unlike other towns in the Cuyuna Range, rather than having its population decline by thirty or forty percent, Manganese lost its entire population. During the 1960s the city was abandoned; it became a ghost town. Nothing remained except for sidewalks, rubble, many building foundations, and various abandoned items. In the 1970s, the city amounted to nothing more than sidewalks and rubble. As time progressed into the 1980s, trees, roots, and shrubs began to uproot and crack through the concrete sidewalks. In the 1990s, a majority of the land was purchased. It is now privately owned and has a "no trespassing" sign posted on the gate of the southeastern part of the city. Presently, the area is consumed entirely by the growth of natural vegetation.

Although the grid pattern of roads remains, the roads have either disintegrated or have been completely overtaken by grass, trees, and shrubs. The sheer height of the trees expose what has become of land once occupied by numerous buildings. Manganese is a classic example of a "ghost town."

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