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  • Writer's pictureVesa Oja

Canterbury Finnish Hall 2006

4th Finglish trip September 2006 #10

The Finnish Hall in Canterbury, Connecticut, was built in 1925 by local Finnish community. The hall hosted numerous musical and theatrical performances throughout the 1930's, 40's, and 50's. Signatures on the backdrops, of which a large number have been preserved, serve as a reminder of those days.

Between 1963 and 1978 the hall was called Sampo Club. In 1987 the Finnish American Heritage Society (FAHS) was formed. FAHS is currently collecting, cleaning, and cataloging the hundreds of Finnish and Finnish American books, records, photographs, and other artifacts donated to the FAHS over the years.

Anita (Smiley) and Aili (Galasyn) were born to Finnish immigrant parents Jack and Ida Häkkilä in the very lively Finnish community of Canterbury, Connecticut. Finnish was spoken at home.

As for her Finnish heritage Aili says, "Finnish people were looked up to because they were such hard workers. They knew how to have their fun, but they knew how to cooperate." For Anita coordinating numerous group tours in the United States and overseas, including 20 tours to Finland, has become a hobby.

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