Previous Page Search Again Next Page

and including all its auxiliary forms, continued unabated through the period of strikes in the mining region, throughout World War I and for more than a decade after that. But then began a slow, steady decline toward the end, as described by Hilma Oja for the MFAHS : "As the number of Finns became smaller, cultural activity in the hall became weaker and weaker. The hall was left in the hands of the few remaining members of the society, but for them the burden became too onerous. For many years activity had gone on under the most difficult of circumstances, with the support of a few interested and eager persons. But everything has its limits, and people are not made of steel even in the mining areas. In 1952 the Aurora Finnish Workers' Society sold its hall to the mining corporation, which remodelled it into apartments. The property was sold for $12,000, most of which was donated to support the Industrialisti."

The athletic group Köntyrä had worked closely with the workers' society. During World War I, when the Aurora community football team played various other teams in the mining region, the victorious local team had several players who belonged to the second generation of Finns, whose fathers had originally become interested in athletics through the Köntyrä. In 1914, according to the Päivälehti, that local team had the following Finnish youths : Roy Anderson, William Hill, Albert and Hugo Knuuti, Alex Mattonen, Paul Mattson, Erick Peterson and Hans Saari.

In the religious field, the chief emphasis of the Aurora Finns was the Methodist church. Activity began in 1906, although formal organization did not take place until 1909, with a membership of 42. That same spring Pastor Matti Lehtonen held the firs confirmation classes, and five women and one man were received at communion. The following year Matt Pitkänen arrived from Finland to assist Lehtonen, but he soon transferred to Michigan, and Deaconess Alfina Thomson came from Duluth on several occasions to help out in Aurora activities. In 1915 the group was in possession of its own church, which was dedicated in ceremonies at which speakers were P. Burns of Duluth and R. A. Nurmi of Ironwood, as well as pastors Lehtonen, Pennanen, Pitkänen and Talikka from the various mining region communities.

In 1925 there was also established a Congregational church, which was served by Pastor Victor Holopainen from 1927 on. A small group belonging to the Suomi Synod was present also from the 1930s, but membership did not rise above 20; later, in the


Previous Page Search Again Next Page