Finnish workmen at brick factory in Minneapolis
Photo credit :: page 118 of book, "The History of the Finns in Minnesota" (1957) by Hans Wasastjerna, translated from Finnish by Toivo Rosvall.
Photo online at :: http://www.historymuseumeot.com/mfahs/htm/part2_0043.htm
Book online at :: http://www.historymuseumeot.com/mfahs (accessed 2017.oct.25)
- - - - Following text from book, page 119 :: ""The first Finns in Minneapolis appeared in 1865, coming from Red Wing and pausing here on their way to the west. Within a few years others came back from the west, pioneers from their homesteads who spent their winters in the city to earn money; the brickyards, for example, used to employ many such immigrants. ... the Uusi Kotimaa in 1881 ... wrote that there was much work to be had, even by the Finns, at $1.75 the day""
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Following text from :: From 'Minnesota Finnish Pages' website ::
http://www.minnesotafinnish.org (accessed 2016.jul.24) :: - - - - - - - - ""The story of the Minneapolis Finntown begins with the 1864 arrival of Finnish immigrants on their way to homestead land near Cokato, in Wright County, some fifty miles west. Minneapolis became their “big city.” Already in the late 1860’s, Finnish immigrant men returned to raise capitol for their homesteads, working in the Minneapolis brickyards. Their families came to expect regular migrations between the homesteads and Minneapolis. The pattern became the way the Finntown community formed and continued. Minneapolis became the workplace, and the rural areas became the homes.""
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Following text credit :: book: "RIVER OF HISTORY: A Historic Resources Study of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area" PP.142-3 (accessed 2017.oct.25)
- - - ""Edward Neill, in his history of Hennepin County, noted that “brick clay” lay along the river in north Minneapolis. In 1876 Morrison’s brickyard began using this clay, employing about 20 men and four mills to grind it. The company produced 1.8 million bricks in 1880, most of which went to Minneapolis. Another brickyard, run by Johnson and Berg, also employed about 20 men and had four mills for grinding the clay. This yard and the others made a light-colored brick which, Neill reports, was typical of the area. Weithoff’s brickyard, the third in north Minneapolis, had only two machines and eight men and turned out about 600,000 bricks annually. ... ... Baking bricks. Frank A. Johnson brickyard, Fiftieth and Lyndale, Minneapolis, near the Mississippi River, 1904. Minnesota Historical Society.""
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Following text credit :: Exerpted from book: "The History of the Finns in Minnesota" (1957)
- - - By: Hans Wasastjerna - - - translated from Finnish by Toivo Rosvall
Online at: http://www.genealogia.fi/emi/art/410index.htm (accessed 2017.oct.25)
( part 1 of 3 )
"" Hennepin County and Minneapolis - - - That triangle of land where the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers join forms Hennepin County. In that county, at the point where the St. Anthony Falls, to which Father Hennepin, presumably the first white man to see that splendid flow of the Mississippi, gave its name in 1680, lies Minnesota's biggest city. The village established there did not begin to expand rapidly until after 1805, when the American Government reached its agreement with the Sioux Indians and began to erect forts and outposts in the area. [(Photo) Caption: Finnish workmen at brick factory in Minneapolis.] (page 117) A hundred years ago there was but one road across the countryside from St. Paul to the shore of the Mississippi above the falls, an Indian path which later became Hennepin Avenue in the middle of a metropolis. Below the falls used to stand a solitary mill, which Major Russhell had built there in 1822 with money furnished by the Government. In 1849 Colonel John H. Stevens owned a farm in the same area, and the first plan for a town was drawn up at his request in 1855, and in 1856 Minneapolis was born.
If the population in 1850 was but 538, it grew to 2,555 in 1860, and ten years later it was already 13,066. In another twenty years it grew to 164,738, and in 1950 it was more than half a million. In 1881 the Uusi Kotimaa, a Finnish-language newspaper just then commencing publication in Minneapolis, commented on this rapid growth : "There is much activity here, just as in any big city. New, huge brick buildings are being put up - and they are needed, for rents are high and living quarters are almost impossible to find." Later that same newspaper stated that 13 miles of buildings had been put up in Minneapolis in 1881, or 1,670 buildings with a total value of $5,000,000. It was indicative of a growth that was to continue; to develop Major Russhell's one solitary mill into a city with the world's largest flour mills, to embrace extensive industries employing thousands, to become (page 118) a center of railroad lines serving vast agricultural areas extending into the Dakotas, to become the site of businesses, colleges and universities, a city of great beauty with its numerous lakes and parks. For a long time the Swedes, Norwegians and Finns, whose numbers were estimated at one-third the city's total population, were the leading national elements in the city, and although members of nationalities from farther south in Europe later became predominant, the city is still strongly Scandinavian if the succeeding generations of Scandinavian descent are taken into consideration.
The first Finns in Minneapolis appeared in 1865, coming from Red Wing and pausing here on their way to the west. Within a few years others came back from the west, pioneers from their homesteads who spent their winters in the city to earn money; the brickyards, for example, used to employ many such immigrants. The earliest statistics of the number of Finns present in Minneapolis was made by the Uusi Kotimaa in 1881, which wrote that there was much work to be had, even by the Finns, at $1.75 the day, and that there were already about two hundred Finns living there and more arriving all the time. That figure was obviously exaggerated, because on Christmas Eve of that same year that same newspaper wrote that "there are more than forty Finns living at present in Minneapolis, most of them single persons. There are both men and women, and every so often there is another wedding." However, no matter how inaccurate the statistics might have been, it is obvious that the number of Finns was increasing. Again, although there were later estimates at the turn of the century claiming their numbers to be some three or four thousand, or even seven or eight thousand, a figure closer to reality was probably something over one thousand. The 1920 census lists 1,120, and since then a downward trend continued, so that the 1950 figures listed only 770 being native born Finns.
Religious Interests: Church activity began briskly in the 1890s. Although Pastor E. Bachman from Upper Michigan came to hold services in Minneapolis in 1880, organized religious activity was still a decade in coming. The followers of Laestadius were soon divided, splitting into two separate groups, with separate churches, one on Humboldt Avenue and the other on Newton Avenue, and there was even a third, independent apostolic group. Previous to the splits, however, the Minneapolis Apostolic Lutheran Church had even served as host for an annual national convocation, in 1913, with whole series of sermons, early morning business meetings followed by more sermons in the afternoons, and evening (page 119) meetings so crowded that the Workers' Hall had to be hired to take care of the throngs - all this for five days on end.
The Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church got its start in 1894, and its first pastor, G. Bauruus, served the congregation for a monthly salary of $7.00. Successors were J. K. Nikander and then K. Sahlberg, until the congregation almost died at the turn of the century. But in 1901 there were 28 members left, who founded the so-called Bergstad Church, which has continued to grow and which in 1953 had more than two hundred members. It participated in 1917 in setting up a "Minneapolis Parish" which included the French Lake and Kingston churches, as well as the Minnesota and Almenon-Owen congregations in Wisconsin. The latter two congregations quit the parish in 1939, and in 1951 KingstonFrench Lake formed an independent parish of their own, leaving Minneapolis alone once again. These parishes have been served by pastors H. Sarvela, N. Saastamoinen, T. Samanen, Antti O. Kuusisto, Carl Tamminen, Arne J. Juntunen, John Wargelin, Edward J. Isaac, C. Heikkinen, C. Jennings, and then C. Heikkinen again, who in 1954 returned to the Minneapolis church.
In 1908 a group of 60 Minneapolis Finns petitioned Methodist Bishop Luther B. Wilson to send M. Lehtonen, a Methodist pastor, to serve them, but since Virginia City also sent a petition, with 101 names, Lehtonen was assigned there, and the Finnish Methodists of Minneapolis have had to join other Finnish churches or else Methodist churches with English services. A National Lutheran Church was established in 1925, and the congregation has its own church, with a membership in 1951 of 59. Pastors have been S. A. Krankkala, W. W. Wilen, H. P. Esala, Erick Erickson and J. Aho.
The Women's Club: The first organized, non-church activity among the Finns in Minneapolis was a women's club. Its inception can be traced back, perhaps, to a suggestion in the Uusi Kotimaa in 1881 that the Minneapolis Finns "ought to hold a bazaar to raise money for a library." A few weeks later the paper returned to the theme and amplified it: "We should do something along civic lines. As a start it would be excellent if a reading circle were set up, in such a way that we would get together to raise money with which to buy moral, instructive and diverting books, to be housed in suitable quarters. We could even print any books we like here in America, if readers and buyers are interested. The women would be the ones to spur on such an idea, but unfortunately many of them run around to utterly useless dances." Actually, it took more than ten years for the Uusi Kotimaa (page 120) proposal to be realized: in 1895 the Minneapolis Finnish Women's Club was organized, along the lines of a club organized the previous year in Calumet, Michigan, with an aim to acquaint women with good literature and to discuss literature in their club meetings. But the Minneapolis club also engaged in other activities, keeping a Sunday school for children, arranging meetings and program events open to the public, sponsoring lectures which were most frequently concerned with questions of morality, the responsibilities of motherhood, etc.
Later, in 1919, there was established another women's club, the "Fennia Club", originally for aiding the Red Cross but then gradually shifting to charity and social work. In the Fennia money has been raised through membership dues, with suppers and coffee parties, gifts, sale of Christmas cards - even with such events as sponsoring an exhibition race in 1925 between Paavo Nurmi and American track stars. Membership, numbering about 40, has been limited exclusively to women of Finnish origin or descent or to the wives of Finnish men. Hannah Södergren, Sophia Haddox, Esther Sarenpa (Saarenpää), Ellen Södergren, Effie Wuorie, Madie Hakarinen, Hulda Storm, Marie Hake, Lempi Lindquist and Signe Wuollet have served as chairmen of the club.
The temporary Temperance Society: Shortly after the Women's Club was formed, people remember vaguely "another Finnish society", presumably the Vesa Temperance Society founded then. It was at a time when Finns and alcohol did not agree with each other, and when Uusi Kotimaa could write as it did: "A certain Finn has the honor of being the first to be arrested for drunkenness on New Year's Day. When he came fact to face with Judge Coley on Monday morning he declared himself ready to vow that he would never again touch hard liquor if the court would forgive him this time. He was acquitted on this condition."
To prevent incidents of this sort, Finnish temperance societies were established everywhere where Finns lived in the United States. The Minneapolis Vesa Society, however, was unusual: after about six years of activity it ceased to function, but was revived again, only to find itself becoming the center of the local socialist movement. After a first, so-called "Speakers' Club" socialist organization, a Finnish Socialist Workers' Association was formed in 1903, to which the Vesa gave all its assets and in which the former Vesa members joined. Functioning first as a subsidiary of the local Minneapolis Socialist organization, in 1905 it became a member of the Finnish Socialist central body in America. Beginning with a membership of 27, it had 176 members in (page 121) 1912, and of them 52 were women. To measure the popularity of this political philosophy, it might be stated that in 1911 there were 134 Minneapolis subscribers to the Työmies, Finnish-language leftist newspaper; thirty-five years later, the Työmies, transformed into a communist paper, had 50 subscribers in Minneapolis, and the communist Naisten Viiri, a women's periodical, had 23 subscribers. ""
( end of part 1 of 3 - - - part 2 on next page )
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As far as I have learned, there were no brickyards in or next to Finntown. There were brickyards farther north in North Minneapolis. I would guess that most, or at least some, of the Finnish workers in this photo above lived in Finntown.
finnish workersminneapolis brick factoryhans wasastjernaminneapolisfinnstoivo rosvall