The Pilgrimage

June 16, 2013

I had no intention of visiting Hibbing when I put Minnesota on my trip plans. Not far inside the border from South Dakota, however, it occurred to me that if I were in this state I had to make a pilgrimage to the hometown of a musician/poet who’s fascinated, entertained and at times perplexed me these many decades. No matter what and how you feel about him, it’s hard to deny his place in history and his impact on American culture and music. I had to see where he grew up from age six until he graduated from high school. He was born Robert Allen Zimmerman. Know who I’m referring to?

First, a few pictures on the road to Hibbing via route 169 north. It seems like everyone owns a boat here in northern Minnesota. The message on my breakfast table seemed to indicate a lot of people spend time on the many lakes. The state of 10,000 lakes.

Good Luck!

Water Everywhere

I saw this old shack and beautiful horses along the road. I had to stop to photograph them.




When I arrived in town I found a tourist brochure that included a self-guided walking tour. The next series of photos were taken along that walk.

At this bowling alley in 1955-56, he was part of a group of boys called the Gutter Boys who won a teenage bowling competition.

Let's go bowling

This store front was once the L&B Café. He and his girlfriend, Echo, would spend time here after school. Supposedly, his favorite order was cherry pie a la mode.

L&B Cafe

His mother worked at this store, once known as Feldman’s. Nancy Peterson (who once competed against him at a talent show and won) worked with his mother. She recalls the day in ’62 or ’63 when the owner made this announcement: ‘This is R.W. Feldman. We have a celebrity in woman’s wear – Mr. ….’  – I’m not going to say the name yet!  That comes at the end of this blog.  😉


This establishment was once known as Crippa Music. During the noon hour and after school, he was known to stop by here and charge sheet music and records to his father’s account.

Crippa Music

At Lybba Theatre, he and his friends watched James Dean come alive on the silver screen.

The Movies

The small Jewish community of Hibbing bought this building from the Swedish Evangelical Emanuel Lutheran church and moved it from north Hibbing.

Agudath Achim

He performed here during “Winter Frolic Days.” One of his memories recorded in his autobiography is having professional wrestler Gorgeous George wink at him while he was playing from a makeshift platform in the lobby.

Memorial Building

This is where he lived.

7th Ave

And where he went to high school.

Hibbing High

The Androy Hotel is where he had his Bar Mitzvah celebration.


You can’t help but notice the vacant store fronts and sleepy feel of this northern Midwestern town that still retains much of a 1950’s feel. For a boy with dreams as big as his, why wouldn’t he want to leave here and never look back? Here are a couple of pictures from around town.



So who is this guy?  If you didn’t know already, it’s this guy. This picture was taken inside the entrance to Zimmy’s restaurant, which is all about Bob.


I talked to the waiter, Roy, about Bob. Here’s some of what he had to say.

Roy at Zimmy's

Bob memorabilia

Bob memorabilia

The street sign outside his childhood home on 7th Avenue.


The street where he lived.

Bob's Street - 7th Ave

It was a memorable day – small town boy makes it big. Very big. I’ve been playing Bob Dylan on my iPod for the last couple days. Probably play more today…

Listen to a tune from Bob we should all take heed to: “Gotta Serve Somebody” from Slow Train Coming


All information on Bob Dylan landmarks is taken from the walking tour developed by the Hibbing Public Library.

The road out of town toward Lake Superior and Wisconsin. Another wet day!

More rain

My first glimpse of Lake Superior and the bridge to Wisconsin.

Lake Superior


All content Copyrighted © Stephen Tavella

2 thoughts on “The Pilgrimage

  1. Excellent piece! Really liked the way you conveyed a sense of place with those photos. Appreciate the effort you continue to make. Bob

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