Finnish immigrant farmers began settling regions of St. Louis County in the late 1800's. They purchased their homesteads from private properties and through the provisions of the Federal Homestead Act of 1862. Many Finnish immigrants moved to the rural homesteads to escape poor wages and unhealthy conditions in the mines on the Vermilion and Mesabi Iron Ranges. Others took up the life of backwoods farmers for ethnic, political or religious reasons and the desire to own their own land, even if one's claim was no larger than 40-80 acres.
At the age of 26, Gregorius Hanka married Mary Stierna. Together they purchased an 80 acre parcel of land from the Duluth and Iron Range Railroad. While staying with neighbors, the Hankas erected a one-room log house built of logs short enough for one man
Finnish folk building form, arrangement and farming practices were etched in the memories of the immigrants as they worked on "proving up" their homestead claims by erecting small houses and clearing the land for cultivation.
The Hanka homestead includes ten buildings, four of which are made of logs. As was common in western Finland, the homestead formed a U-shaped courtyard consisting of the house, sauna and a double-pen barn in the center of the farmstead. Open hay fields surround the farm, with a log hay barn located about 500 feet southeast of the house. This illustrates the common practice by Finns of erecting several buildings, each with their own special function. The hay barn in the field, at a considerable distance from the house, is also based on the Old World arrangement of farm buildings, with the added benefit that if the barn went up in flames, the other buildings would not.
Architecturally, the Hanka farm buildings embody the traditional, distinctive construction techniques used by the Finnish immigrants at the turn of the century. Chinkless log walls and double-notched corners indicate a rich array of building skills borrowed from their native Finland. The logs used were often from the trees which
National Register of Historic Places
Location. 47° 41.399′ N, 92° 12.171′ W. Marker is in Embarrass, Minnesota, in Saint Louis County. Marker can be reached from Pylka Road. Touch for map. The site can be visited on the Heritage Homestead Tours led by the Embarrass Visitor Center (218-984-2084). Marker is at or near this postal address: 7938 Pylka Road, Embarrass MN 55732, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Nelimark Sauna (approx. 1.9 miles away); Alma Norha Playhouse (approx. 2 miles away); Embarrass Co-op (approx. 2.2 miles away); Apostolic Lutheran Church (approx. 2.4 miles away); Welcome to DM&IR Engine # 1218 (approx. 8.7 miles away); Tower Train Museum (approx. 8.7 miles away); The Old Vermilion Trail and Winston City (approx. 9.9 miles away); Longyear Drill Site (approx. 10 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Embarrass.
Categories. • Agriculture • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on August 23, 2017. This page originally submitted on August 21, 2017, by McGhiever of St Paul, Minnesota. This page has been viewed 88 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 21, 2017, by McGhiever of St Paul, Minnesota. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.