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Squaw Lake

Finnish pioneering played a considerable role on the western edge of Itasca County, in the Squaw Lake region. The first to come here, in 1903, were John Hämäläinen and Matt Martin. Four years later, a post office was established at Max, and Hämäläinen became its postmaster. The first local school was held in Martin's log cabin.

In 1910, a workers' society was already in existence, with a hall built for itself that same year and another a dozen years later. The usual activities were fostered, but obviously within a limited framework, for in 1912, for example, the society had but 20 members. These same people were largely responsible for the cooperative started in 1918; it joined the Cooperative Central, and even after World War II was still flourishing, and modern to the point of opening a self-service store. The advent of the cooperative had, on the other hand, forced the closing of the only general store in town, which had been started in 1918 by Emil Kananen.

- Just as the Finns in St. Louis County have been in the majority among the foreign-born groups, so the Finns have had similar status in Itasca County. In the year 1900, there were 61 persons born in Finland out of a total population of 5,000. In 1910 these figures stood at 1,436 and 17,208 respectively, and a decade later at 1,607 and 24,000. Although the total population continued to climb, the number of Finns fell to 1,333 by 1940, and by 1950 had fallen to 953. Using the 1940 figures for foreign-born nationality groups, the Swedes trailed the Finns with 699, while the number of Yugoslavs stood at 678 and the Norwegians at 451. Ten years later, the number of Yugoslavs had climbed higher than that of the Swedes (534 and 492) but the Finns were still in first place. At that time, about 6% of all Minnesota's Finns were residents of Itasca County.

Aitkin County

The landscape of Aitkin County, directly south of Itasca, resembles that of its northern neighbor in the portions adjoining that county, while its southeastern parts resemble the county to the east of it, Carlton County.

Jacobson - Rabey

Anderson, Jacobson, Leipold, Mississippi and Rabey are farming villages populated chiefly by Finns. Their numbers have been small, however, with 40 families in Jacobson in 1926, 25


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