1979 was a banner year for the Iron Range.  The mines were operating at their all-time capacities just ahead of the double-dip recession that the early '80's brought.  It was also the year that the Mine View In The Sky officially opened atop the waste stockpile beside Highway 53 in Virginia.

Now - as officials with the Minnesota Department of Transportation get ready to relocate Highway 53 - the scenic overlook is running the clock on its last open season.  The attraction will close at some point in September.

Last year almost 19,000 people pulled off the highway  and followed the road to the top of the hill for a look at the water-filled Rouchleau Mine which is no longer in operation.  The view also allows visitors to see United Taconite's active mine pit to the south west (the mine that's creating the need for the Highway 53 relocation), the City of Virginia, Minntac, and more.  Visitor totals for this year are expected to surpass last years mark as people start to realize that this will be their last chance to take in the view.

If you'd like one last look for yourself, the Mine View In The Sky is open seven days a week from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM.