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  • Writer's pictureVesa Oja

Oscar Forsman DeKalb 2007

5th Finglish trip July 2007 #22

DeKalb is located 40 miles east of Chicago. The name is for Baron Johann de Kalb, a major general in the American Revolutionary War. DeKalb is called the home of barbed wire, and barbed wire was built in DeKalb from 1875 until 1938 when production was moved to the more metropolitan areas of Waukegan and Joliet. Many Finns came from the province of Vaasa to work in the barbed wire mills: Haish, American Steel & Wire Co and DeKalb Fence.

Oscar, Sally and Alexandra Forsman live in the old DeKalb Finntown, which center was the Majakka Finn Hall, now DeKalb Area Women's Center. Nearby was the old Union Hall now the Connexion Communidad Cultural Center. Oscar's grandparents came with other people from Teuva in Finland, thus DeKalb is called the Teuva of America. Oscar is an educator and musician and Sally is a nurse.

Forsman's are active in the environment and peace movements. They are also involved in the activities of the Mesaba Co-op Park near Hibbing, Minnesota. It is one of the few remaining continuously operated cooperative parks in the country. A gathering place of the Finnish cooperative movement, the park served the ethnic political radicals of the Iron Range.

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