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Located in Saint Louis County, Minnesota, the City of Gilbert is part of the Quad Cities of Virginia, Eveleth and Mountain Iron. The city is served by Minnesota Highways 37 and 135. Other nearby communities include Aurora, Biwabik, Cherry, Forbes, Grant, Iron Junction, Kinney, Leonidas, McKinley, and Palo. The town was platted in 1907, the same year its post office was established, and incorporated in 1909, although its history goes back to 1892 or 1893, with the Genoa Mine. Originally, the community was incorporated as the Village of Sparta in 1896. The success of Sparta was adversely affected by the close proximity of the stronger City of Eveleth, and when the Oliver Iron Mining Company began to mine ore directly under the townsite, a large portion of the town was moved, and the town became defunct by 1911, eventually becoming part of Gilbert, which had been platted by the Gilbert Townsite Company, as its businesses moved to the new business district. Gilbert had a wild reputation in its early years, and was once known as the red light district of the Iron Range. A two-day Whorehouse Days festival was planned in 2005, but it was cancelled due to objections by the city council. Lake Ore-be-gone, a former mining pit within the city limits, was used for swimming until its water levels dropped below ten feet, and is now used for fishing. With a couple of upturns, in 1960 and 1980, the city has declined in population since its peak of 3,510 in 1920.

 

 

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