Located In:
Itasca County between the cities of Hibbing &
Grand Rapids

Population:
1,000

Recreation:
Miskovich-Morrow Ball Park; VFW Memorial Park & picnic area; Mike Peluso Outdoor Skating Rink; Swan Lake Country Club 9-hole golf course; Swan Lake public boat landing & fishing dock; groomed trails by the Greenway Snowmobile Club; Mesabi Bike Trail connecting
Ely to Grand Rapids

Former Home to:
Mike Peluso

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In the Midst of Northern Minnesota's Iron Range
"The Town That Never Was"

 

Looking Back 100 Years 

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"Looking Back 100 Years"
Pengilly Memory Book Complete
Hibbing Daily Tribune
June 30, 2008
by Melissa Cox, Staff Writer

It is the place where many caught their first fish, fell in love, hit a home run, listened to the call of the loons and the sound of the waves, rode their bikes, bought penny candy, started a family and developed lifelong friends.
  
Pengilly has been home to many throughout the years. It is where many started their journey through life and enjoyed each moment being a part of a community that has left an imprint on their hearts.
 
One hundred years of memories have been encapsulated in a 240-page book to share and cherish for generations to come.  “Pengilly History & Memories” accentuates the fascinating history of a quaint community nestled in Itasca County on Swan Lake.

Barb_Book“It is compiled of history and memories of Pengilly,” said Barb Shipka, who put the book together. “History starting from the early logging days and memories of the first businesses, organizations and early settlers. These are all important in the growth of a community.”

Shipka placed information from numerous interviews, minutes and news articles from various people, clubs and churches into the book. She said there was so much support from the people who were so willing to share their knowledge and photos.

“It helped me very much to have lived here for more than 70 years, as I have seen a lot
of history happening and have seen many changes,” said Shipka.

The memory book was created as a way to celebrate a century. Pengilly is observing its centennial Aug. 29-31.

The book takes a look back in time at the people who built and became an essential part of a tight-knit community.

The sections are categorized to outline: history, businesses, military, organizations, churches, schools, achievements and memories.

The history dates back to the days of logging, which began in this area around 1880 when lumberjack wages were about $16 to $18 a month. At that time, a sawmill stood along the south shore of the outlet to Swan Lake, across from where Indian Point Resort is today.

There are many other interesting pieces of history highlighted in the book, such as the 1948 airplane crash on Swan Lake and the building of the train depot in 1938.

Throughout the years, many businesses have been a part of Pengilly adding to the flavor of the picturesque community. From The Locker Plant where meat was butchered, cut and wrapped for customers to Oja’s Upholstery shop where furniture was upholstered, businesses offered a variety of goods and services to residents.

In its military section, the book has a compilation of photographs and names of men and women who have served this country. It is written that the community is proud of those who have served in the military from the area.

The many organizations that have been part of Pengilly brought people from the community together to share in their common interests. These organizations, such as the Pengilly Booster Club, which is an active sponsor of the Pengilly Centennial, and the Pengilly Swans 4-H Club, which was started in 1937 by the principal at Pengilly School, have made an
impact on the residents.

Organized religion was established in Pengilly in 1918, when a summer bible school program was started for the children. St. Kevin’s Catholic Church, United Methodist Church, Calvary Baptist Church, Crossroads Family Church and Nashwauk Lutheran Church are featured in the book.

In the beginning, children in the area were taken by bus to attend school in Calumet and Marble. In 1920, Pengilly opened a one-room school.

Outgrowing the school in 1929, students in grades four to six were once again bused to Calumet. Then, a campaign started for a new school at a new location, which was completed in 1936.

Since 1976, students have been riding buses to neighboring districts to attend school, due to declining enrollment and funding issues.

There have been several notable Pengilly residents who have gone on to find a level of fame, such as Lois Hall, who was an actress and started her career as a leading lady in Westerns, and Mildred Miskovich, who received the Minnesota Outstanding Citizen Award in October of 1978. Those residents are spotlighted in the achievements section.

The last section of the book is filled with memories shared by people that are, or once were, residents of Pengilly. Photographs, stories and recollections of their days in Pengilly are accented. It’s those special remembrances of their time in Pengilly that people think about with laughter and sometimes tears.

It took Shipka approximately 14 months of gathering and compiling information to complete  the book. She said if she could go back and start over, she would do many things differently, but then some things she would not change.

Even though there were stressful times while working on the book, Shipka enjoyed the contact with so many people, some she had never met before.

“My biggest concern was of not losing a single photo,” she said. “I received original keepsake wedding and other photos. They were often the only ones the people had.

“Because we are not an organized town, we have few sources to research for history,” she continued. “A town always has a wealth of information in their council meeting minutes. We do not have that source.”

Shipka’s hope is that when people read the book, they will think about each story of what Pengilly was like many years ago and how it is today and ask, “Is there something they can do to make Pengilly a better place?”

Shipka hopes that for many years to come, citizens, along with and their children and grandchildren, will enjoy reading about the Pengilly history and memories that so many people have shared.

Completing the book really means a lot to Shipka. “I think it’s quite an accomplishment,” she said. “It’s something I have never done before. It’s kind of a sad feeling because I have enjoyed doing this so much. It was a project I did from my heart.”
 
Copyright 2008 © Pengilly, Minnesota. 
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