Glenwood Avenue at Morgan Avenue North - c.1950
Photo Credit: Image posted by Bill Finlayson at Facebook group 'Old North Minneapolis' on May 20, 2016 (accessed 2017.jan.08)
- - - - - - Following text by Bill Finlayson accompanying image: ""Glenwood and Morgan taken about 1950."" - - - - - - Bill Finlayson also mentioned that the businesses in the photo are: ""Joe's meat market, Glenwood Bakery, Gandrud's Groceries."".
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Following text credit: Article in the fall 1988 issue of 'Hennepin County History' magazine:
FINNTOWN, MINNEAPOLIS - AN AMERICAN NEIGHBORHOOD
. . . by: K. Marianne Wargelin
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Ethnic unity resolved social-welfare problems too. Although Wells Memorial Settlement House provided for the neighborhood poor, Finns used their own informational network as often. Some such care was provided by the Fennia Club but more often it came from neighbors and friends. When a mother of Socialist persuasion died, her Laestadian neighbor found her two sons a place to stay the night, a place that ultimately became their permanent home. Then later, when the absent father returned and died soon after, the new Laestadian mother sat beside the two boys at the father's funeral in the Workers' Hall. Welfare crossed sectarian lines.
This ethnic solidarity was not lost on American politicians. A.B. Fruen and Romeo Riley, long-time aldermen of the Fourth Ward, became honorary members of the "great big Finnish family" and supported Finnish issues. Mrs. Mabeth Hurd Paige, state representative for the neighborhood from 1923 to 1943, nurtured a group of Finnish American women volunteers by appealing to their ethnic pride. "Women in Finland were the first in Europe to vote," she said. "You ladies can be so proud. You should want to become involved because of that." For twenty years, these women campaigned door to door and passed out literature. One woman, Heide Robinson Eldred, became "my little Finnish friend," who visited the boardinghouses and apartments in the district alongside Mrs. Paige, helping her to present her story to the Finnish-speaking people who lived there.
So, the "toiskieliset" (non-Finnish people) also recognized the community as Finnish, and Finns elsewhere in the country knew of Minneapolis's Finntown, too. Traveling through, a Finn might stop briefly just to take a look. some stopped and stayed. One family left the mines of Red Lodge, Montana and traveled east, unsure of where to go. When they arrived in Minneapolis, they came to Finntown and they never left. The father and son became jewelry maker, ultimately helping to form the Twin Cities jewelers union.
Other Finns came only temporarily to use the Finnish amenities while working for a season in town, taking a course at Dunwoody Institute , studying at the University of Minnesota, or training to be a nurse. They would come to Finntown to "take sauna," to find a friendly rooming house, to live with relatives, or to attend a familiar church service. The community accepted these fellow Finns.
Finnish drifters knew they could find Finnish-style bologna and salt salmon and hardtack at the Finntown grocery stores, and Finntown residents accepted them as well. One drifter who lived in a makeshift shack down by Bassett Creek was befriended by a Finnish family, initially because he was Finnish. Respecting his independent lifestyle, they helped him through the bitter Minnesota winters for a number of years, later into a nursing home, and finally to a peaceful and dignified death and burial.
Signs of the breakdown of ethnic unity were there, however, as soon as a child started school and make other friends or when a child grew up and married a non-Finn. When a Finnish American married a non-Finn, it was always a question whether or not the non-Finn would want to live in Finntown, to "take sauna," to join the Finn church, or to eat salt salmon. How the dilemma was resolved depended on the individual family. Some "half-Finn" children grew up immersed in the Finnish culture, living out yet another generation of Finnish American life in Finntown. Other "half-Finn" children returned often to Finntown for "doings," to attend "kesajuhlat" (summer festivals) held in Glenwood Park, or to stay with grandma. still others grew up away from Finntown, only vaguely aware of anything Finnish.
Ethnic unity also broke down from internal disputes within the institutions, disputes that severed family ties as well as friendships. The Laestadians quarreled over theological issues, and one group broke away to form their own church at 5th and Newton with their pastor, Paul Michelson. Others, following the lay preacher Johan Pollari, broke away to meet once again in private homes. The Humboldt Avenue congregation continued without them.
And because all three forms of Finnish Lutheranism still functioned in the Finnish language, some people rejected all Finnish Lutheranism. Proclaiming "American now, not Finnish," they turned to Our Redeemer Lutheran Church at Irving and Western. This German Lutheran church conducted its services and programs in English. The church attracted many Finnish Americans looking for an American church in the neighborhood. In the 1930s and 1940s, its pastor, Rev. J. Franklin Marlatte, functioned as a neutral religious figure whenever the larger Finnish American community wanted a religious dimension in their events. In effect, the Finns absorbed this church and made it part of Finntown.
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finntown Minneapolis An American NeighborhoodMarianne Wargelinfinn townglenwood avenuefinntown