Fayal Township is located beyond the southeast boundary of Eveleth. It was legally founded via election on February 25, 1896. It was named for the western-most island in the central group of the Azores. The population was 1,846 in 2019.
“Miracle on Ice” 1980 Olympic gold medalist, the late Mark Pavelich, was from Fayal. He was credited with an assist on the game-winning goal against the Soviet Union. Mark played professional hockey with the New York Rangers, Minnesota North Stars, and San Jose Sharks.
Fayal Township recreational opportunities include the Veterans’ Park Campground, a golf course, beaches, boat launches, tennis courts and playgrounds. All are operated cooperatively with the city of Eveleth. Veterans’ Park is a great rally point because it has access to three trail corridors, including the Mesabi Trail. Veterans’ Park has ample parking and accommodations for motor homes. It is located on Ely Lake along the Miller Trunk Rd. Camp Chicagami (youth camp) on Pleasant Lake (formerly the Scout Camp) and Camp Warren (YMCA) on Half Moon Lake are popular with children. The nearby Eveleth Municipal Golf Course is on the east side of Hwy. 53 and western shore of St. Mary’s Lake.
Following the final retreat of glaciers from northeastern Minnesota approximately 10,000 years ago, native peoples migrated north and west. The Dakota people historically occupied the area. Lake Superior Chippewa (Ojibwe/Anishinaabe), the most populous tribe in North America, migrated westward and the Dakota moved west of the Mississippi in the seventeenth century. There were periods of peace and conflict between the two tribes, but the stream of European American settlers into their territories resulted in conflict. The U.S. Government ultimately removed both tribes from their native territories and put them on reservations.
Fur trading between native peoples and French explorers flourished from the 1660’s onward. The first major industry was the wholesale logging of the entire northeastern (‘arrowhead’) portion of the state. Mining followed logging. Merchantable ore was discovered in Fayal in November 1893 by David T. Adams of Duluth.
Fayal Mine No. 1 was explored by the McInnis Mining Company and organized January 31, 1894. The area was divided into five mines by different mining interests and was classed among the greatest mines of the Mesabi Range. The five mines yielded an aggregate of 29,908,246 tons of ore by the end of 1919—more than a million tons a year since beginning of operations. Eventually, all the Fayal mines passed to the Oliver Iron Mining Company and subsequently to Mesaba Cliffs.
The first mining was underground, but at one point three different systems were running concurrently: 1) underground 2) open pit milling 3) open pit direct loading of ore which was of such high grade that it could be scooped directly from the ground and loaded into rail cars for transport to the Twin Ports and then shipped to mills out east.
In the early mining days, Oliver Mining built a lodge on Half Moon Lake exclusively for women so they would have a place to rest and relax for a few days. Due to the limited English spoken by the women of different nationalities, a selection committee sought to group the women by language spoken. A paid matron operated the lodge and kept harmony.
Fayal has a convenience store gas station. It has direct access to the Virginia-Eveleth airport. Most major services are found in Eveleth and Virginia, both within four miles of Fayal.
The Mesabi Trail™ has been funded in part by the LCCMR and the Minnesota Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund.