Notes on the Episodes
CASTLE IN THE WOODS
A very young Victor Power
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.
Karl and Aaron share the story of how they each found the cold trail of Victor Power, and then how they found each other and decided to team up.
A first generation Irish-American, Victor Power began his career in Hibbing as a blacksmith’s assistant. He developed a knack for understanding people. When his older brother got into a scrape with the local hand of the world’s largest corporation, Vic took notes. In 1903 he went to law school in Chicago and came home ready to fight U.S. Steel.
But first Vic Power makes a name for himself defending the winner of Minnesota’s last known pistol duel.
The actual pistols from the duel of Sam and Pete
The Hibbing High
During a Recent Show
The Androy Hotel Facade,
as it looks today.
An aerial photograph taken shortly after construction was completed.
EL PULPO PENDEJO
Seriously, look at this fucking guy. I can't look him in the eye. He just stole my soul through 100-year-old
What will Victor Power do next? He already dusted off his blacksmith’s work clothes to become a lawyer who successfully defends an immigrant miner against a murder charge after a pistol duel. Now “Fightin’ Vic” confronts the massive corporation that rules the small village of Hibbing, Minnesota at the dawn of the 20th Century.
We begin this episode in an unexpected place: Mexico. We end with explosions, animals attacking humans, and the rise of Victor Power.
First, we join a thrilling 1910 car chase in which Vic, his brother Walter, and a business partner evade a posse of gun-toting horsemen in a 40-horsepower Mitchell automobile along the border of Arizona and Mexico. Ambition drives them, almost to ruin, but in the process they learn something that other people from Hibbing don’t know yet. You can’t run away from El Pulpo -- the Octopus -- of U.S. Steel.
Victor returns to law practice in Hibbing while settling down with his new wife in a middle class home on Mahoning Street. He begins to make friends and forge new business partnerships with the immigrant communities of the rapidly growing village. But the town grows weary under the control of U.S. Steel’s Oliver Iron Mining Company. We meet Dr. H.R. Weirick, the town’s mayor, who is also a firm believer in U.S. Steel’s philosophy of corporate power and paternalism. He consolidates power and makes it harder for opponents to oust him by cancelling the village caucuses.
Meantime, rocks rain down on Hibbing from above. Mine blasts draw closer and closer to the village, and nearly kills a woman who runs a boarding house near an ever-expanding mine pit. Lizzie Hukari-Liend marches into Vic Power’s office with a jaw-dropping request. She wants to sue the Oliver Iron Mining Company and other mining interests who destroyed her boarding house. Victor Power takes the case and fights the biggest political and legal battle of this young town’s history.