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  • Writer's pictureVesa Oja

Kreetan Community Drummond Island 2010

10th Finglish story July 2010 #12

The Finnish history of Drummond Island began with the Kreetan community, named after its founder Margareetta Niiranen.

One of the earliest suffragettes in the United States was the active Maggie Walz, or Margareetta Johanna Kontra Niiranen of the Finnish Apostolic Lutheran (Laestadian) faith. She was active in Calumet on Copper Island in real estate and other areas of business. Having learned English, she helped Finns, especially young women in all kinds of issues concerning their livelihood.

In 1905, Maggie Walz bought land on Drummond Island in Lake Huron in North Michigan and recruited families from the mining areas to settle there. The plan was to create an Apostolic Lutheran community following the principles of the temperance and cooperative movements. Different people would contribute with their special skills to make the community self-supporting in a diverse manner.

Six years after its founding, the Kreetan community had almost 800 members and was in its heyday. In 1914, when Finnish miners who moved to the island founded their own socialist association and built their own hall, the Apostolic Lutheran Kreetan community had run its course. Maggie Walz returned to the Copper Island and died in Laurium in 1927. Some of the families returned to their former localities, while some remained on the island.

Old photos © Keweenaw NHP Archives, Jack Foster Collection

Next Danielson Homestead Drummond Island Michigan USA

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