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  • Writer's pictureVesa Oja

Finnish American Heritage Center West Paris 2008

7th Finglish trip August 2008 #9

West Paris, Maine, in the nineteenth century was a center of Finnish immigrant settlement and many residents are descendants of those immigrants. The Maple House, now the Finnish American Heritage Center of West Paris was originally a hotel. At some point the building evolved into a boarding house, providing room and board for many Finnish immigrant men. In the 30s it was shut down temporarily.

The building was sold in 1946 and assumed a whole new function as the Ring-McKeen American Legion Post #151. McKeen was a descendant of Mikkonen, the first Finnish immigrant in West Paris. The name Mikkonen was Anglicized to McKeen. In 1990, with the Legion inactive, they offered the building to the Finnish American Heritage Society of Maine.

In 2008 I took a photo of a group of West Paris American Finns: Mannie Payne, Don Cummings, Ed Dave, Eva Heikkinen, Robert Heino, Ed Kahkonen, Barbara Nurmi Payne, Carol LaBossiere, Beverly Bailey, Elsie Pechnik, Marge Kahkonen, Julie Daye Reynolds.

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