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An organized labor movement never managed to gather momentum in Sparta, although Matti Kurikka came on several occasions to discuss his concepts of an ideal society and did gain some supporters. Tanner also came to speak in Sparta, and Martin Hendrickson and Leo Laukki came to talk about Marxist socialism. A workers' society was started in 1906, but since it had but 18 members, it did not make any special impression among the Spartans. It did manage to get started just in time to send a representative, Kasper Luomaaho, to the famous meeting of delegates in Hibbing in August 1906. There were some twenty subscribers to the Työmies newspaper in Sparta.

The workers' society held its meetings and program evenings at the Sparta town hall, and it even had its dramatics group, directed by John Lampi. Rehearsals were held at the homes of members of the cast, but the performances were given at the town hall, and guest performances were given in Gilbert and Eveleth. Finally, the society also started a library, available to all Finns without charge. To maintain it and to increase its collection of exclusively Finnish-language books, the library committee used to put on program evenings and sponsor other fund-raising activities.

Sparta owed its birth to the mining industry, which also was to be its demise. When new mines were opened elsewhere in the region, and when Eveleth in particular seemed to flourish and expand, Sparta remained in the shadow. Finally, it was one day discovered that directly below the built-up parts of the town of Sparta there were numerous ore-bearing lodes, and this led to a demand that the town be moved to another spot. Gilbert, being closest, took in the residents of Sparta, some 1,00 persons in all, so that Sparta, which had just received electricity and had laid down water mains, was wiped off the map because a world eager for its mineral wealth had condemned it to die.


Thick forest had once covered the region which was to become Gilbert. Tree stumps were still being uprooted from what were to become streets when businessmen from Sparta began to move into what was to become the center of this new town. Numerous mines round about also served to add to the growth, so that Gilbert's population of 433 in 1908 rose to 1,700 in 1910 and 3,510 in 1920.


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