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Mighty moose mural

Iconic Ely photograph displayed at art gallery

Keith Vandervort
Posted 5/30/18

ELY – Local artist Nancy Scheibe spent several months this past winter putting together an eight-piece mural of one of the most iconic photographs from Ely’s history.

The Crossman moose team …

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Mighty moose mural

Iconic Ely photograph displayed at art gallery

Posted

ELY – Local artist Nancy Scheibe spent several months this past winter putting together an eight-piece mural of one of the most iconic photographs from Ely’s history.

The Crossman moose team photograph from 100-plus years ago appears in nearly every history book about Ely.

According to “The Pioneer Life in Ely,” written by Lee Brownell and published by the Iron Range Historical Society, “During the winter of 1904, it was not unusual to see two moose hitched to a sleigh on the Ely streets. This team, owned by Edward Crossman, was bought from an Indian when the moose were very young. With much patience, Mr. Crossman tamed and trained the team. In 1905, the moose team was broken by the disappearance of one of the animals. It was never ascertained whether the moose escaped or was killed for meat.”

Scheibe worked most of February and March on the panels of professional-grade signboard with assistance from artist apprentice Emma Kari, a senior at Ely Memorial High School. “We used Heidi Favet’s workshop because the project was so big,” Scheibe said.

The mural, painted in a sepia-tone that looks like an old photograph, is installed on the east wall of her Sheridan Street art gallery, and measures 12x20 feet. “We had to work in sections and we’ll have to do some matching of the panels when it is hanging,” she said. “Then it has to cure for a couple of weeks before I weather-proof it.”

Scheibe’s son, Wade Pharr, of Superior Property Care, helped hang the panels on Tuesday.

No one really knows whatever happened to the moose team.

According to an article in the Ely Miner, from August 1905:

“Mr. Ed Crossman is mourning the loss of one of his moose, the same having been missing for several weeks. A careful search has failed to discover the animal and it is feared that someone has maliciously killed the same. The animal is very valuable as well as a pet. Many pictures were taken of the moose team being driven on the Ely streets during the past winter by either Mr. or Mrs. Crossman. The team had been confined in an enclosure just south of the city and it may be that one jumped the fence and escaped into the woods. Mr. Crossman has offered a reward for any word of the animal.”

Scheibe noted, “As a matter of interest, Mr. Crossman lost the sight of one eye by being butted while training the moose team.”

She said she has put in as many as 60 hours so far on the project, with several more to go.

Partial funding for the mural was provided by the Donald G. Gardner Humanities Trust.

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