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  • Writer's pictureVesa Oja

Kaleva 2005

2nd Finglish trip July 2005 #1

Packed with 100 rolls of Kodak Portra 120 NC film for my two Mamiya 7 cameras and an on location Elinchrom Ranger flash set from Vistek Photo in Toronto we headed for a six week tour around the Great Lakes: Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Ontario. This was the first real Finglish field trip, we were after the places which have a Finnish name. When the first Finnish settlers named their communities, they used names originating from nature or surroundings, animals, fish, occupations, names of people. We were also trying to meet as many American Finns and Canadian Finns as possible, photograph them and interview them.

So the first stop was Kaleva in Michigan, some 400 km northwest of Detroit. Kaleva was established in 1900 by Finnish settlers on a former logging area which had poor soil full of stumps. But Finns had Sisu and even today there are close to 500 inhabitants in Kaleva, most of them Finnish descendants. The street names were taken from the Finnish national epic Kalevala, you can find Louhi St, Tapio St, Sampo St, Kaleva St and a lot more.

The famous Bottle House, which was built by John Makinen of 60.000 Kaleva soda bottles in 1941, is now Kaleva Historical Museum.

Next Marquette Michigan USA.

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