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.
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?”
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.
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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.