Hibbing Toboggan Slide.
Is this Pill Hill or an earlier one elsewhere?
“There was one of these on Pill Hill in the 1950’s. As a matter of fact, I went tobogganing there, several times, with my junior hight school friend, Bobby Zimmerman. On the same toboggan!! This may not be the same slide — but it sure brings back memories. — Sally McHale Davidson
“Pill Hill” was started as an iron ore dump. It is located on Seventh Avenue and Twenty-Sixth Street which up the hill turns into Highland Park. In the winter, people could come up on the hill and use the toboggan slide that used to be there.
Ski jump, near the toboggan slide.
The world I grew up in was a little different, a little more modernized, but still mostly gravel roads, marshlands, hills of ice, steep skylines of trees on the outskirts of town, thick forests, pristine lakes large and small, iron mine pits, trains and one-lane highways. Winters, ten below with a twenty below wind-chill factor were common, thawing spring andhot, steamy summers-penetrating sun and balmy weather where temperatures rose over one hundred degrees. Summers were filled with mosquitoes that could bite through your boots-winters with blizzards that could freeze a man dead. There were glorious autumns as well.
Mostly what I did growing up was bide my time. I always knew there was a bigger world out there but the one I was in at the time was all right, too. With not much media to speak of, it was basically life as you saw it. The things I did growing up were the things I thought everybody did-march in parades, have bike races, play ice hockey. (Not everyone was expected to play football or basketball or even baseball, but you had to know how to skate and play ice hockey.) The other usual things, too, like swimming holes and fishing ponds, sledding and something called bumper riding, where you grab hold of a tail bumper on a car and ride through the snow, Fourth of July fireworks, tree houses-a witches’ brew of pastimes.
John did go to the camp. Later his band was called Little John and the Sherwood Men. He had blonde hair and a crew-cut? Rick Sundvick, Bill Berg and Jerry Phillips were in that band too.
Hibbing Boy Awarded Music Scholarship
Robert Zimmerman, son of Mr. And Mrs Abe Zimmerman, has received a half-scholarship to the Art Detrick Music Comp [Camp] for boys in Carlsbad, Calif., it was announced today.
Robert, a pianist, will participate in a six-week course of instruction and music band activities.
He will travel with John Hamilton who received a similar scholarship. They will leave July 1.
— Hibbing Daily Tribune, 6 June 1960.
“It was around this time that Bob began playing music, for the Zimmermans had acquired a Gulbranson spinet piano. Beatty had played when she was young and Abe could pick out a tune, but the piano was bought mostly in the hope that the boys might show an interest. A cousin named Harriet Rutstein gave Bob and his six-year-old brother initial tutoring. “David, who was a very, very smart boy, took it all in … and he could play better than Bob,” says his uncle, Lewis Stone. “He was very musically inclined.” Bob became frustrated and dispensed with his cousin’s help, announcing, “I’m going to play the piano the way I want to.” He proceeded to teach himself, and without ever learning how to read music. The boys were encouraged to take up other instruments, too. Bob tried the trumpet and saxophone before settling on acoustic guitar, working with the Nick Manoloff Basic Spanish Guitar Manual.”
David went on to do a degree in music at the University of Minnesota.
Jeanne Hamilton informs us that, “Bob did not go – his brother Dave (who was a classmate of my brother, John) went – the article was mistaken.” This rings true, the camp seemed unlikely for Bob in 1960.
Indeed, John and Jeanne Hamilton’s mother, Claribel “Trox” Hamilton, was Bob’s first piano teacher! Presumably this was after Harriet Rutstein’s informal tutoring…
The Kosher Salami Thin Crust with extra Sauerkraut and draft root beer to drink was a favorite of many.
President Harry S. Truman (1884-1972) and his wife, Bess, arriving in Hibbing, 28 October 1952. He spoke at 20:00 in the Memorial Auditorium.
Did you ever have the standard boyhood dream of growing up to be President?
DYLAN: No. When I was a boy, Harry Truman was President; who’d want to be Harry Truman?
— Playboy, 1966.
“I know Hibbing,” Harry Truman said in 1947, when he was introduced to Hibbing’s John Galeb, the National Commander of Disabled American Veterans. “That’s where the high school has gold doorknobs.” Outside of Washington, D.C., it was the most impressive public building he’d ever seen.
“The things I did growing up were the things I thought everybody did-march in parades, have bike races, play ice hockey. (Not everyone was expected to play football or basketball or even baseball, but you had to know how to skate and play ice hockey.)”In winter Hibbing would have many ice rinks for skating and hockey, all you needed was snow banks, cold temperatures, running water and patience and you could make a rink.
It was quiet for a while. They sat and listened to the storm.
“I always meant to ask you, Bob, who’s your favorite performer?” said Kinky.
“I’ve always liked Gary Unger from St. Louis,” said Bob. He put his hand to his chin and thought awhile.
Clarence stole a glance at Kinky and mouthed the question Gary Unger? Kinky shrugged.
“Bobby Clarke,” Bob continued. ”Dan Maloney, Butch Goring…”
“I thought I knew every musician in the world,” said Kinky. ”But I’ve never heard of these guys.”
“They’re hockey players,” said Bob. ”When you said ‘performers’ I thought you were talking about hockey players.”
Sportsmen’s Café, 509 East Howard Street, Hibbing, MN 55746
Echo Helstrom and Bob would sometimes go to the Sportsmen’s Café and have pizza burgers.
Pizza burgers are still found on menus in Minnesota. They are a regular burger with pizza sauce, pepperoni and mozzarella cheese.
The Sportsmen’s Café became the Sportsmen’s Restaurant & Taverna, but is usually referred to as simply Sportsmen’s. The Sportsmen’s Café sign survives in this photograph.
The Highway 169 A & W Root Beer Stand advertised in the Hibbing Hi-Times 22 May 1959.
Pealing cars are not old paint jobs but cars driving away fast so the tyres leave black marks on the tarmac like a professional dragster. A good peal-out involves black marks on the road surface and white smoke coming from the tyres.
1 Push the clutch all the way down with your left foot while the car is completely stopped.
2 Place your left hand on the steering wheel, and keep your right hand locked on the gear shift, ready to change gears quickly.
3 Keep your left foot pressed on the clutch, move your right foot over the accelerator and with your right hand move the gear shift to first gear.
4 Slam the accelerator pedal all the way down with your right foot and hold your right foot in that position. Remove your left foot from the clutch just an instant after pressing the accelerator pedal and listen as the car starts screeching loudly and the tyres kick up clouds of white smoke.
5 Shift into second gear with your right hand just as your car’s RPM meter nears its upper limit and your car will release for a loud and impressive peel out! You will probably also have spilled your root beer, though
This is one of Bob’s A&Ws that has survived, now The Stand.
“Bob and I loved to eat hot dogs … like we used to get out on the road to my house. At the A&W Root Beer stand. He’d always make me buy him hot dogs. With mustard and relish. He’d say, ‘Please Echo, please, I’m STARVING’ and we’d have to stop. He never seemed to have any money. So *I* usually bought the hot dogs. He’d give me a bite.”
The plastic A&W sign is still visible behind The Stand’s sign. This surviving root beer stand is to the northeast of Hibbing. The one Echo mentions is the demolished one which was on the south side of West 41st Street (Highway 169 & Highway73), opposite the Dairy Queen.