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clear, for even Ilmonen mentions at one point that it was founded in 1902, while later he mentions the year as 1904. Interviews suggest that the first Finns came here in 1900, as claimed by the children of William Leppänen, who was among the first to come but who died in 1913. Suomi Synod records indicate that Stevenson was a `preaching outpost' during the years 1904-07, when Pastor J. Rankila came on visits to hold services here for some 50 Finns who did not, however, constitute an organized congregation.

A graphic picture of the rise and fall of Stevenson is presented by Julia Wilippa, one of its residents: "My father, Nestor Mäki, and my mother came to Stevenson in the spring of 1900, when mining operations were begun. It was difficult to make a start here, for the region was such a dense forest that the sun could be seen only by looking straight up. My parents built a big boarding house, and sometimes there were two and even three shifts of men occupying the beds. There were so many young Finns here that sometimes there were 50 to 60 of them living with us.

"Our house was open to all, especially to those who had just come from Finland to make their way in the world. Some of them later returned to Finland, but the big majority remained in this country. Many of them, out of work and penniless, were put up by my parents; some remembered to pay later, when they could, but others forgot their indebtedness. My father worked in the mines, too, as a smith, and later he was a mail carrier in Hibbing. I was the first white child to be born in Stevenson, in the year 1900. Church services were held at my parents house as long as they were alive.

"Stevenson village was a lovely place once it got started. There were three clothing stores here, three grocery stores, four saloons, one shoemaker and one tobacco plus candy store. There was also a school and a Finnish temperance society, where meetings and program evenings and lectures on temperance were held. Of these early years I remember best the annual Fourth of July celebrations; they were big events, with playing bands and ball games.

"Five hundred buildings once stood in Stevenson, but only eight are left now. Stevenson has been wiped off the map; it is now merely R.R. 3, Hibbing, Minnesota. Over forty years ago my husband, Arvid Wilippo, and I built our home here, and here we live on in peace and quiet. Only memories are left of my childhood years and of the hundreds of Finns who once came here and then left again."


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