Thursday, September 17, 2009

Upper Peninsula Upventure: Finland, Finland, Finland

Finland, Finland, Finland.
The country where I want to be,
Pony trekking or camping,
Or just watching TV,
Finland, Finland, Finland.
It's the country for me.

You're so near to Russia.
So far from Japan,
Quite a long way from Cairo,
Lots of miles from Vietnam.

Monty Python, "Finland," 1980.

And quite some distance from Hancock, Michigan, on the Upper Peninsula. The. U.P. is the only place in America where people of Finnish descent. Wikipedia states (and I don't have any reason to question it) that 16 percent of the population of the Upper Peninsula claims Finnish ancestry, and it is the only place in the United States that has counties with a plurality of residents with Finnish blood.

Once I entered the Keweenaw Peninsula--the U.P. has its own peninsulas--I began to notice roads with Finnish sounding names.

The Finnish wave of immigration to the Upper Peninsula occurred in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, many of them found work as loggers or toiling in the then-thriving copper and iron mines.

Copper Country, at least in Michigan, is known as the home of Michigan Tech University. Finlandia University is across the Keweenaw Waterway from that college. The streetlight poles of downtown Hancock alternate American and Finnish flags.

Mining will be the subject of my next few Upper Peninsula Upventure posts.

Earlier posts:

Escanaba's Sand Point Lighthouse
Manistique East Breakwater Light
Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse
Wawatam Lighthouse
Whitefish Point Light
The Munising Front Range Light
Grand Island East Harbor Lighthouse
Copper Harbor Lighthouse
Eagle Harbor Lighthouse

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