Esko Historical Museum

Esko Historical Museum There’s more to the Esko Historical Museum, the museum complex is the heart and soul of the Esko Historical Society.

The Esko Historical Museum is located in downtown Esko. It has 7 buildings: Kangas Log Farm House; 1st one room school house in Esko; Palkki Grist Mill; Savu Sauna & Liiteri. Open on Sunday afternoons in the summer (except for group appointments), the museum is a must-see for anyone interested in or curious about the origins of rural northern Minnesota. The museum is open on Sundays from June through August. For group tours during other times of the year, call 879-9450 or 879-3742 or 879-7674. On visiting the site, one may park on Highway 61 or in the rear of the adjacent post office parking lot. From the street side, the most prominent features will be a granite monument and a red school house—provided you can ignore (but you can’t, if it’s springtime) the ornamental crab trees. The stately monument was the first tangible tribute to the community’s heritage by the historical society’s ancestor organization, the Finnish American Memorial Foundation. The FAMF was incorporated in December 1952. Its first officers and directors were elected in June 1953. Edgar Olson, artist, farmer and descendant of a pioneer family, designed the monument. Unveiled at a dedication ceremony in 1956, its artwork features tall pines alongside a river, a log cabin and, in the foreground, a man laboring behind ox and plow. Between the man and the cabin there’s a stump, imbedded with an ax. There are two inscriptions, one in English, one in Finnish. The English version: “In memory of the early pioneers who arrived here at the head of the lakes in 1872, and thereafter, and through many a hardship and sacrifice, established a solid and firm foundation in our communities so that we who are here today would have something solid to stand on.” The 1897 School House, among of the first of the township’s one-room schools, was moved to the site in the late 1950s. In the belfry is an old school bell preserved for many years by the Esko Mutual Insurance Company (now the RAM Mutual Insurance Company) and donated in 1960 by the Minnesota Finnish-American Historical Society. The school house, filled with historic documents and artifacts, is one of seven buildings on the site. The others are: - The Palkie Grist Mill, built in 1878 on the Midway River for grinding rye into flour. The mill was donated first by the Palkki Mill Committee in 1948 to the Minnesota Finnish-American Society and then to the FAMF in 1962. (The mill’s namesake was township pioneer Simeon Palkki, whose family name was later Americanized to Palkie.) - The Kangas Log Farm House, also known as the Pioneer Log Home, built in 1898 and donated in 1965 by Waino and Pearl (Kangas) Liimatainen. Additional land was required for the building and was donated by Otto Juntunen. - The “Riihi,” or grain-drying shed, built by John Sorila (originally Sariala), a Finnish immigrant who in 1887 purchased land for a farm on what today is the Sorila Road. When family descendants sold the farm in 1984, the granary—believed to be one of only two such structures remaining in the nation—was donated to the museum. - The “Savu Sauna,” or smoke sauna, so-named because smoke from a rock-enclosed fire pit could only escape through a small opening near the peak of the roof. (See description in “Excerpts.”) - The “Liiteri,” or storage shed, which houses a horse-drawn school bus, a sleigh, buggies and early farm machinery and tools. - The Open Shelter, constructed in 1996 to protect a 1938 D-8 Caterpillar snowplow donated by the Thomson Township Board of Supervisors. It took three years and hundreds of hours of volunteer labor in contractor Gene Puline’s shop to restore the giant machine, which may be viewed through the fence at any time. The Esko Historical Society owns and, through its dedicated volunteers, operates the museum while also striving to help educate and inform the public about the community’s rich heritage. Membership is open to anyone interested (where else can you join anything for five bucks a year?) and volunteers are always welcome to help with museum projects or special events such as the annual Esko Heritage Day. There’s more to the Esko Historical Society than the cluster of old buildings west of the town’s lone traffic light, but the museum complex is indeed the society’s image, its signature—in a real sense, its heart and soul. Inquiries—or donations—may be sent to Esko Historical Society, P.O. Box 83, Esko, MN 55733. The society is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and donations are tax deductible. Both Parking and Admission are FREE!

Esko Historical Society
10/03/2018

Esko Historical Society

07/31/2018

There is a correction to the ESKO'S CORNER paper (Fun Days! front page). The museum will be open from 5-7 pm Wed. 8th, Thurs. 9th, Fri.10th and Sat. 11th. "Night of Terror" books are $15 (not $21) and CD's are $8 (not $12.50)

Mark your calendars!!  The museum will be open from 5 to 7pm for the book and cd sale and meet the authors.  Speakers an...
07/28/2018

Mark your calendars!! The museum will be open from 5 to 7pm for the book and cd sale and meet the authors. Speakers and refreshments.

Members putting up the Christmas lights before the snow starts flying!
10/14/2017

Members putting up the Christmas lights before the snow starts flying!

Church display room
09/10/2016

Church display room

preparing corner for a church display
07/26/2016

preparing corner for a church display

Kudos to former Esko star softball payer Nikki Flynn, now Nikki Gregg, upon her entering the North Dakota State Bison At...
10/15/2015

Kudos to former Esko star softball payer Nikki Flynn, now Nikki Gregg, upon her entering the North Dakota State Bison Athletic Hall of Fame Saturday in Fargo, ND!! Nikki graduated from Esko High School in 1996. The daughter of Randy and Robin Flynn of Esko, she is a granddaughter of Verna (Pantsar) Flynn and her husband.

The origin of the Finnish people has been shrouded in mystery for centuries.  Until very recently it was thought that th...
10/15/2015

The origin of the Finnish people has been shrouded in mystery for centuries. Until very recently it was thought that they descended from people of Mongolia. Come and hear the latest evidence that disproves that notion! Monday, October 26, 2015,1 P.M., at the Thomson Township Hall on the Harney Road. FREE!

10/12/2015

Today marks the 97th anniversary of a horrible day in the history of Northeastern Minnesota - the 1918 Fires of Moose Lake and Cloquet. 453 people died from the Fires; countless others perished later from the Spanish Influenza. And if that wasn't enough, World War I was raging.

Copy of article in Pine Journal from 10-1-2015, written by Davis Helberg.  Two Esko area historical relics, from vastly ...
10/02/2015

Copy of article in Pine Journal from 10-1-2015, written by Davis Helberg. Two Esko area historical relics, from vastly different eras.

Two visitors on our last day of summer openings.Preschoolers will visit in September.If you would like to have a group t...
09/01/2015

Two visitors on our last day of summer openings.
Preschoolers will visit in September.
If you would like to have a group tour before the snow flies,
call 218-879-9450 or 218-879-4878.

05/01/2015

Again, the entire month of May, the Esko Historical Society will be collecting aluminum cans and making a donation to the Esko All-Night grad party. Please deposit empty aluminum cans into the trailer at the museum. Don't be alarmed if it is not where you usually find it. On May 5th it will be moved to the back of the property.

Esko History Book Project
03/27/2015

Esko History Book Project

Yes, this great program is FREE!

Esko History Book Project
03/27/2015

Esko History Book Project

Yes, this great program is FREE!

Timeline Photos
03/25/2015

Timeline Photos

Esko Historical Society
03/13/2015

Esko Historical Society

Come to the presentation of the Nordic War video and discussion of how it was produced and Americanized by Jim Kippola, the man who made it. Memories of several local persons sent from Finland to Sweden for their safety will also be shared. It's FREE! Thursday night, April 16, 2015, at 7 P.M. at the Esko High School, located at 2 East Highway 61, Esko, MN 55733. Finnish desserts, coffee, and many artifacts from the Nordic War period will be on display.
"In August-September of 1939 Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin divided up the European countries between themselves with a secret annex protocol in the Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact. Empowered by this document, Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. Two days later Britain and France declared war on Germany. The Second World War was on. Due to the territorial divisions of the secret annex proposal, Finland ended up the target of attacks launched by the Soviet Union, first on November 30, 1939 (the Winter War) and then again on June 25, 1941 (The Continuation War). In spite of the harsh conditions and having to fight an overwhelming enemy, Finland managed to keep their independence."

On August 30th, 75 bicyclists  from the Twin Cities area visited the museum.
09/03/2014

On August 30th, 75 bicyclists from the Twin Cities area visited the museum.

Hermantown Historical Society
07/15/2014

Hermantown Historical Society

While you're are Summerfest on Saturday, July 19th, stop by the History Center sometime between 9 and 3! See how work is progressing on the book being written about the schools in the Township, and later, the city. Help us raise the necessary funds to publish a book on the history of the community's schools by participating in a raffle.

We are making some progress!  Wednesday is another work day.
06/30/2014

We are making some progress! Wednesday is another work day.

Members working on rearranging the liiteri.  Over a year ago, the interior was painted and we have been slowly rearrangi...
06/30/2014

Members working on rearranging the liiteri. Over a year ago, the interior was painted and we have been slowly rearranging items for display.

05/15/2014

The museum is now open on Sundays from 2-5 pm until the end of August.

Esko Historical Society
03/30/2014

Esko Historical Society

A safe to protect valuable archival photos and writings. Many thanks to Beacon Bank!

03/25/2014
Esko History Book Project

Esko History Book Project

A little after 8:30 this morning Ken Buehler had a news segment on the Esko History book. He played excerpts from John Gilbert's interview last week as a part of his story. Good story!

03/21/2014
Esko History Book Project

Esko History Book Project

Davis Helberg just concluded a very good interview with John Gilbert on KDAL AM 610 Radio, about the "Esko's Corner" book.

03/05/2014
Esko History Book Project

Esko History Book Project

I forgot to label people. Left to right: Norm Ikola, standing; Eva Nynas, standing; Joan Mattinen seated at table. In back of Norm, standing - Ken Nynas; sitting at table to right - Frank Liupakka. My eyes aren't too good, but Jane Liupakka, Pauline Ikola, Verna Puline, Maija Lipponen; Kali Lipponen and others are there - my apologies to those I've missed.

03/05/2014
Esko History Book Project

Esko History Book Project

Laskiainen will be at the Cloquet Armory on Sunday, March 9th, from 11:00 to 2:00 pm.
Copies of "Esko's Corner" (the book everyone is raving about) will be available for purchase there.

03/05/2014
Esko History Book Project

Esko History Book Project

On Monday, March 3rd, some Esko Historical Society members (about 20) celebrated our version of Mardi Gras - "Sticker-fest!" What was this about, you might ask. Well, an error was discovered that required a sticker to be placed on page 19. The sticker says," The caption below was based on an erroneous photo description in the files of the Northeast Minnesota Historical Center. The image actually shows Union Army General Ulysses S. Grant with fellow officers at Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, in 1863. We regret the error." (In addition to THE Union General Ulysses S. Grant, there was also a surveyor Ulysses S. Grant actively working in the area during the mid to late 1800s. Turns out his mother named him after the general. Was this the source of the innocent and inadvertent mislabeling?)

02/22/2014
Esko History Book Project

Esko History Book Project

Come one, come all! A celebration of "THE BOOK" will be held on Monday night, February 24th, at the theater of the Esko School. In addition to being able to purchase "The Book," there will be light refreshments as well as brief remarks by several of the book's researchers and authors. 7 P.M. is the time. (Esko School is at the corner of Canosia Road and Highway 61.)

Esko History Book Project
01/16/2014

Esko History Book Project

Here are some pics Pauline Ikola took yesterday. I tagged people in the photos but don't know if the "tags" transfer from my Windows photo gallery program to Facebook.

Here are a few photos taken at the "soft launch" of the Esko History Book today at the Senior Citizen's lunch/meeting at...
01/15/2014

Here are a few photos taken at the "soft launch" of the Esko History Book today at the Senior Citizen's lunch/meeting at the townhall. All the committee members were able to be there except for Jan Puline and Kristine Hiller.

The Esko book has arrived and some of the Historical Society members packaged and mailed out books today.  We are still ...
01/14/2014

The Esko book has arrived and some of the Historical Society members packaged and mailed out books today. We are still taking orders.

Esko History Book Project
01/09/2014

Esko History Book Project

Press release (courtesy of Davis Helberg) in today's Pine Journal. I personally have the book in my "hot little hands," so to speak, and all 3 pounds and 12 ounces of it look very professional! Clear vintage photos, excellent professionally done maps - thanks to geophysicist Rodney Ikola - interesting, well researched, informative articles. What's more, there is an index and resource listing that is certain to endear the book to future and current historians. But most of all, it's very readable, attractive, and user friendly!

Timeline Photos
01/03/2014

Timeline Photos

01/03/2014
Esko History Book Project

Esko History Book Project

The from below has the correct amounts of shipping and handling. Unbeknownst to us, there is sales tax on shipping and handling - who'd have 'thunk' that, eh? Please be patient with us since we're all volunteers without the experience and knowledge of the pros like amazon.com, etc.

Esko's Corner
01/01/2014
Esko's Corner

Esko's Corner

“The historian,” said novelist E.L. Doctorow, “can tell you what happened. The novelist will tell you what it felt like.” This new book will do both, fusing well-documented history with stories and recollections of the people who lived through good times and bad in a small northeastern Minnesota com...

12/31/2013
Esko History Book Project

Esko History Book Project

Good new for 2014! The books are scheduled to be shipped from Brainerd on January 2nd, 2014 - this coming Thursday. At last they are all done and will be in hand. Stay tuned for book launching and sales information. Make it a resolution for the new year - to buy and read a copy of Eskos Corner.

12/31/2013
Esko Historical Society

Esko Historical Society

Good news! The Esko's Corner book is scheduled to be shipped from Brainerd on Thursday, January 2nd, 2014. Make it a resolution for 2014 - to buy and read the book.

First-grade tours
10/16/2013

First-grade tours

Timeline Photos
10/08/2013

Timeline Photos

Timeline Photos
10/08/2013

Timeline Photos

Members were given a tour of Esko Museum buildings.
10/08/2013

Members were given a tour of Esko Museum buildings.

Bonnie guiding tour 9/20/2013
09/21/2013

Bonnie guiding tour 9/20/2013

09/14/2013

Great day today! Bake sale was a success. Weather was great.

09/06/2013

Save Saturday, Sept. 14th, from 10 to 2. Bake sale, rummage sale, and open house at the Museum buildings! Coffee, goodies, and lemonade served. Parking will be FREE, on the lot to the left of the post office. NO ADMISSION PRICE EITHER! Bad weather? No problem! In addition to the shelter of the buildings, therre will be tent/tarp put up. Drop in, drop by!

08/31/2013

Four members were shoveling dirt and laying down 4x6's this afternoon. Our maintenance building will be going up soon. Forgot my camera!

Address

35 W Highway 61
Esko, MN
55733

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