THE CASTLE IN THE WOODS
Filmmaker Karl Jacob and author Aaron Brown take a road-trip-movie style journey through time to unlock the mystery of their hometown of Hibbing, Minnesota. They find a dynamic mayor named Victor Power who left few traces after his mysterious death almost a century ago. His political ghost still haunts an opulent, castle-like high school in the middle of the wilderness and reveals a story of America that has never been told before.
EL PULPO PENDEJO
What will Victor Power do next? Beaming, yet cautious after an “impossible” victory defending an immigrant miner against a murder charge for winning a pistol duel, Now “Fightin’ Vic” confronts the massive corporation that rules the small village of Hibbing, Minnesota.
Episodes 7-10 will be launching in August!
While we produce the rest of the shows we will be releasing additional content, sneak peeks and early episodes to our members. If YOU would like to become a member, support our research and get access to exclusive content and perks, it's as easy as
Clicking here. Welcome!
Fresh off a stunning legal victory over U.S. Steel, Victor Power the young lawyer becomes Victor Power the crafty political leader. Using deft strategy, brilliant oratory, and a keen sense of timing, Power barges into the municipal election and upsets the longest serving mayor of Hibbing to that point, Dr. H.R. Weirick, an acolyte of the Oliver Iron Mining Company. In just a few days Vic Power starts a revolution in Hibbing that reverberates all the way to US Steel's corporate headquarters in New York. A new philosophy rules Hibbing, one that leads to a catchy saying, “If Vic Power has a pig, everyone in town gets a ham sandwich.”
THE STORM BEFORE THE STORM
Victor Power quickly implements the most ambitious slate of public improvements in the history of Hibbing, unprecedented for a village of this size anywhere in the United States. He does this by doing the one thing that the Oliver Iron Mining Company can’t stand: raising taxes. Streets get paved and bright, beautiful new lights are installed. But the mines form a new lobbying organization, the Lake Superior Taxpayers Association, which seeks to control men like Victor Power and villages like Hibbing through the state legislature. Power bests the mines during his first year in office, but his success invites the fight of his life as the world’s largest corporation plans its revenge.
WE SHOULD KEEP THAT WHICH IS OURS
Hibbing’s population is exploding faster than the mine blasts on the edge of town. Vic’s policies prove hugely popular and the town prospers. However. The demand for steel skyrockets because of WWI which means the pressure from the mining companies is about to ramp up. But Vic continues to beat U.S. Steel in the courtroom and at the ballot box. The mines try to cap the village’s taxing power through a bill at the state legislature. Power gathers a force of Hibbing citizens to counteract the sophisticated lobbying operation of U.S. Steel at the state capitol. The people rejoice, throwing an enormous midnight parade for “the Little Giant.” Then the mining companies take their boldest action yet: they refuse to pay taxes to the Village of Hibbing.
WHERE THE MINES END AND THE VILLAGE BEGINS
With Vic at the helm, Hibbing's new government aims to develop this wild town with the tax dollars of the mining companies, whether the companies like it or not. We meet the members of Vic’s inner circle, a hodge-podge of characters with relatively little experience running a small village with an enormous amount of money about to enter its coffers. Power’s task is complicated by the fact that U.S. Steel employs informants to trail local officials and embed themselves inside any organization that could pose trouble for the company. But Vic has his eyes on a big prize: an independent Hibbing that attracts people and businesses from all over the country.
Just over a century ago, global corporations became a new force in civilization. The biggest was U.S. Steel, formed in 1901, a company so big that it was simply called “The Corporation.” Neither Congress nor the Supreme Court seemed willing or able to contest its unprecedented power.
But in the 1910s one man, a blacksmith-turned-lawyer from a wild iron mining town in northern Minnesota, did something that no one else had. He beat U.S. Steel. He beat them in the courtroom. He beat them at the ballot box.
His name was Victor Power. He was dashing, funny, brilliant and fat. As mayor, he built Hibbing, Minnesota, from a glorified mining camp into a modern marvel with the most expensive public high school in the country. The national press dubbed Hibbing the “Richest Village on Earth,” “The Razzle-Dazzle Village“ and “The Village of Thrills.”
But in 1926, Victor Power died at just 45 years of age. His death, cloaked in mystery, left a complicated legacy that still resonates today — both in the rusting town that still bears signs of his amazing accomplishments, and in a big world still fighting the battles he started.
Filmmaker Karl Jacob and author Aaron Brown met on the historical trail of Vic Power. They joined forces to dig deeper, and now they bring you “Power in the Wilderness,” a public radio podcast serial that asks: “Corporations or people? Who has the power?”
is an author, journalist, and instructor at Hibbing Community College. He’s working on a book about Victor Power.
is an independent filmmaker and actor living in New York. He’s developing a film project about Victor Power.