Red Lodge - Retulaatsi 2006
4th Finglish trip August 2006 #3
The Knights of Kaleva were founded as a secret society, but its Red Lodge (Retulaatsi or Ratulaati
in Finglish) Montana chapter, Kalevaisen Maja no.5, is known for its transparent activities. Women’s activities take place within the Ladies of Kaleva association. The Knights of Kaleva, Kalevan Ritarit in Finnish, were founded in Belt, Montana in 1898 by John Stone, a Finnish immigrant from Oulu.
The Knights of Kaleva originally brought together like-minded Finns to meetings to foster a national spirit and study opportunities to develop their communities. The activities, which are now more open, focus on recreation, charity and maintaining the Finnish and Knights of Kaleva heritage
John Prinkki is a third-generation immigrant and active Knight of Kaleva. His grandfather had a dairy farm, which is now run by the three brothers of the family. John also lives on the farm, even though he is a full-time town councillor. All his grandparents came from Finland to Minnesota, moving on to Red Lodge, Montana. They were first miners and later farmers. There is no longer any mining activity in Red Lodge.
Most of the 4,200 acres of Frank Vallila's farm is planted in hay, because the climate has changed so much that wheat no longer thrives. On the other hand, this is good because the livestock consisting of three horses, 80 cows and Charlie the hog have their own fodder from the farm. Frank has spent his whole life on the farm.
The old Vallila sauna is a memento of Frank's grandparents, Aleksi and Anna who moved first to Minnesota in 1892 and in 1900 to the present farm. They were drawn to Red Lodge, Montana by its gold mine.
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