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In 1934, a Finnish Club was organized, and this club has sponsored various functions and has kept up a Finnish sauna on the outskirts of town. In 1954 the club president was Andrew Koski, its secretary Anna Koski, and its treasurer Mrs. John Koski. Although there had been some discussion in 1949 of establishing a local chapter of the Minnesota Finnish-American Historical Society, the people of the community considered it more feasible to extend the activity of their already existing organization to include this field, too. Contacted by the Historical Society's representative Tom Hiltunen, they shared in preparations for Finnish participation in the Minnesota Centenary. The chairman of the wartime Finnish relief committee was Harriet Lloyd.

One Finn named Ollila is said to have operated the first hotel in International Falls. In addition, there was Alex Kyyhkynen's store Dove Clothing, the Ketola Company department store, and in the 1920s, a cooperative. Arthur Oja was a dentist in International Falls for several years.

Other communities where there have been Finns include Rainier, somewhat to the east, and Ray, the `lumberjack center' to the south of Rainier, as well as Little Fork and Big Falls. With the exception of Little Fork, the number of Finns has been "limited to a few families at the most, but in Little Fork there have been Swedish-Finnish families since Jack Johnson arrived there as the first one in 1910.

The first census statistics for Koochiching County, in 1910, show 6,431 persons, of whom 21 were Finns. A decade later the number of Finns had climbed to 394, then showed a decline to

191 in 1930, to 162 in 1940, and to 136 in 1950,

Big Beltrami County

The county is one of Minnesota's largest in area, and here, too, there have been several Finns. The majority of them seem to have lived in Malcolm, in the northern part of the county. As early as 1900 there were already 6 Finns, and a decade later 94. In 1940 there were 95, and in 1950 still 30. Of the latter, 6 lived in Bemidji, and one of them, Nels Hervi, served as teacher of music at the State Teachers College.


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