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Lake County Past: April 9

April 4, 1968

Ore boats open '68 season

The upper lakes navigation season of 1968 started at Silver Bay Monday when two large ore carriers operated by the Columbia Steamship Division of Oglevay-Norton Co. arrived there to load taconite pellets for Toledo, Ohio.

The boats were the Edmund Fitzgerald, flagship of the Columbia line, and the Armco, which proceeded to Silver Bay from the Duluth-Superior harbor.

First movement of ore and pellets from the port of Two Harbors was anticipated on or about April 22, it was reported in the Lake County seat.

Railroad activities were begun this week preparatory to hauling operations in the Biwabik area.

Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range railroad officials had indicated earlier this spring that at least as much tonnage would be loaded here this season as was during the 1967 season.

Meanwhile, 13 vessels of U.S. Steel's shipping division, which had wintered in Duluth-Superior, were being made ready Monday to being taking on pellets of the DM&IR were being recruited also Monday at Biwabik, but shipping from the port of Two Harbors was not expected until or about May 1, according to presently available information.

April 8, 1993

County is site of second film

When 20th Century Fox set out to find the perfect cliff to film scenes for the the movie "The Good Son," they checked all over the world: various U.S. states, England and Wales, South America and New Zealand.

Minnesota's own North Shore came out the winner.

As a result, the film crew and stars spent a couple months in the area, pouring $839,000 into the state, most of it into the local economy. When the movie comes out this fall, a lot more movie companies may be persuaded to try setting their scenes here too.

"This was supposed to be set in Maine," said Michael Williams, location manager for the movie. "It was important to have a cliff that dropped straight into the ocean."

Thus the hunt began and it was only by chance that someone in production got hold of a book on lighthouses. There, they saw a picture of Split Rock Lighthouse.

"How about this," he suggested, only to be told Lake Superior couldn't possibly look like an ocean, but they checked it out anyway. The Minnesota Film Board located climbers to check out Palisade Head and the cliffs in the areas. Minnesota Power flew the aerial rigging crew over the site. Williams himself showed up to take pictures.

"The director loved it," he said. Wild spring weather kept the lake full of waves and swells, and most moviegoers will never suspect there isn't a drop of salt in that water.

Williams said he found it ironic that the "Iron Will" crew headed to Maine and its deep snow to finish shooting its "Minnesota" scenes, while "The Good Son" got its Maine cliff in Minnesota.

It took four weeks for the rigging crew to set things up on the cliff. The stars themselves — Macaulay Culkin, Elijah Wood and Wendy Crewson — arrived later and left only last week.

The move is a suspense thriller about a 12-year-old boy who goes to live with relatives after his mother's death and comes under the influence of his malevolent cousin.

The production company kept a pretty low profile during the shooting. Unlike "Iron Will," the movie didn't require crowds of extras. Curious bystanders would have hampered filming and put the case involved in the dangerous cliff scenes at risk.

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