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  • Writer's pictureVesa Oja

Elsa Hänninen Ashtabula 2007

5th Finglish trip July 2007 #26

The Sovinto Finn Hall, once the largest wooden building in the state of Ohio, was the Finnish American community center from 1900 to 1935. Besides Sovinto, a temperance hall, there were also an IWW hall in the harbor area and a socialist hall downtown Ashtabula. It was demolished in 1961 and a new log building was built on the same lot in 2006, now home of the local Finnish American Association.

Elsa Shepard, nee Hänninen is married to an Irishman. Elsa is the President of the Ashtabula Finnish American Association. Her father Harold Hänninen was a sailor on Lake Erie, he was drowned in a shipwreck in 1942, when Elsa was two years old. Harold's body was found in a fishnet near the town of Conneaut. Few years later Elsa's widowed mother married the fisherman, who had found Harold's body. Elsa's mother and stepfather continued fishing on Lake Erie. They lived next-door to the Sovinto Hall.

Elsa has two children, three grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Next Earl and Sylvia Seppala Hockessin Delaware USA

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