Some Minneapolis Finntown newspaper business ads - April 1937
Image Credit: From book: "Finns in Minnesota" -- by Arnold R. Alanen -- 2012
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- - - Image caption from book :: ""These Minneapolis advertisements derived from several April 1937 issues of the Finnish-language newspaper 'Tyomies', depict some of the comercial establishments in the city's Finntown. The notices written completely in Finnish are for Kassu (Carl) Siren's diner (upper left), J. Koski's grocery and tobacco store (upper right), and Arvid Hiltunen's barbershop (lower left). ""
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Below text excerpted from book: "Finns in Minnesota" by Arnold R. Alanen - 2012 - - - This text also online at: http://muse.jhu.edu/chapter/465176 (accessed 2016.dec.09)
A Minneapolis Finntown
Minneapolis served as the first urban center for Minnesota's Finns. Early immigrants often paused in Minneapolis before moving westward in their search for farmland or employment, and some farmers pursued seasonal work in the city. Minneapolis also was where Finns from the countryside could "spread their wings." Probably because Minneapolis was Minnesota's western gateway to land and jobs, the city served as a more important center for Finns than did St. Paul, its adjacent twin to the east.
Only four Minneapolis residents listed Finland as their place of birth in 1870. The count rose to 49 (36 males, 13 females) in 1880. A few men resided in "shanties," and just two were married; 28 worked as laborers, seven as brick makers, three as "hucksters" (peddlers), and one as a ticket agent. The eleven unmarried females included six maids, four hotel servants, and one boardinghouse keeper. As more Finns arrived, the logical results were noted by the local Uusi Kotimaa--established in 1881 as Minnesota's first Finnish-language newspaper: "every so often there is another wedding" wrote a correspondent.
In 1882, four years after starting work at a Shingle Creek brickyard in northwestern Minneapolis, one Finn described it as a "profitable workplace" that offered $1.75 per day and significant overtime opportunities. Nevertheless, the city's erratic employment situation often posed problems for men, although women had little difficulty finding positions as maids and servants. A late-nineteenth-century journalist from Finland commented approvingly about the daughters "of well-to-do [Finnish] farmers who neither fear hard work nor regard domestic labor as shameful." Furthermore, wrote another Minneapolis observer, any unmarried Finnish man desiring a wife "should come here."
The Finnish immigrant population of Minneapolis grew to 353 by 1900. Included among the 177 employed males were 90 laborers, 29 tailors, 18 carpenters and painters, 12 brick makers, eight blacksmiths and metalworkers, seven professionals and supervisors, six proprietors and salesmen, and two shoemakers. The 68 employed single females included 65 servants and domestics, two seamstresses, and one "shoesticher"; only two married females worked outside their homes--as a washerwoman and a "tailoress"--but many accommodated one to eight boarders and roomers in their homes.
Minneapolis reportedly was a "paradise" for Finns who owned businesses, with their first ventures appearing along Washington Avenue and nearby streets. Victor and Ida Newman established a boardinghouse shortly after their 1881 marriage and later opened the Newman Hotel at 214 Washington Avenue North, which housed thirty-four boarders and lodgers in 1900. During the late 1890s, a few Finns began moving to the Humboldt Avenue area, and they dedicated their Apostolic Lutheran church in 1902; the neighborhood quickly became the nuclueus for the "Finnish residential center of Minneapolis." A cohesive Finntown of wooden vernacular dwellings, most built by Finnish carpenters, eventually emerged within a zone bordered by Penn Avenue on the west, Girard Avenue to the east, Bassett Creek on the south and Western Avenue (now Glenwood) to the north.
The earliest business established in Finntown was Isaac (Kauvosaari) Anderson's Humboldt Avenue grocery store, which he moved from North Fourth Street in 1900. Over the following years, more businesses and services sprang up along Western Avenue, and a Socialist worker's hall appeared close to the Lutheran church; two public saunas, one in the Wells Settlement House, were nearby, and Glenwood (now Theodore Wirth) Park served as a venue for outdoor events. Many Finntown women worked for the Northwest Knitting Company (later Munsingwear), which operated a nearby clothing-manufacturing plant from 1904 to 1981.
The Finnish immigrant community of Minneapolis grew steadily, expanding to 875 in 1910, to 1,120 in 1920, and then to 1,155 in 1930. The Minneapolis Finntown was a lively place that also attracted second- and third-generation Finns, but many residents began dispersing to other areas of the Twin Cities following World War II.
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Above text excerpted from book: "Finns in Minnesota" by Arnold R. Alanen, published 2012 by Minnesota Historical Society Press.
This text also online: http://muse.jhu.edu/chapter/465176
Finntownminneapolisminnesota finnish heritageminnesota historyFinn TownMinneapolis Finn