Heritage Days recounts Hanka farm’s long past

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette Paul Heikkila, right, talks about the art of Finnish-style log joinery to visitors at the Hanka Homestead Association’s annual Homestead Heritage Days, which took place at the Hanka Homestead this past Saturday.

BARAGA TOWNSHIP — The Hanka Homestead Association (HHA) conducted its 38th annual Heritage Days celebration Saturday, with music dancing, demonstrations and workshops, along with cast-iron cooking demonstrations featuring Old World Finnish recipes.

Heritage Days, said Cheryl Tervo, is the one fundraising event the HHA conducts. Tervo and her husband, Tom, are both volunteer members of the association, like all the members.

The purpose of the fundraiser, she said, is to keep the buildings in repair and to preserve what Tervo calls a jewel.

Live music was provided by Dave Morehouse.

The Kivajat Dancers, directed by Kay Seppala of the Finnish-American Heritage Center, performed traditional Finnish folk dances.

In addition to traditional kids’ games, people were treated to a log joining demonstration, as well as a blacksmith demonstration, log cutting using a hit-and-miss engine and tours of the buildings on the grounds.

There were also chickens in the coop for children, and adults, to visit, as well as a display of the types of vegetables that were grown in the Hanka’s garden for use throughout the winter months.

The Hanka Homestead has a history extending back to the late-1800s, when Herman Hanka and his wife, Miina, established the homestead, which reached its prime of operation in the late-1920s.

The home, barns, sauvu (smoke) sauna, blacksmith shop and several other buildings still stand as they did when Herman and his wife and children operated the farm.

The HHA was founded in the late 1970s to preserve the homestead, restore the buildings and open the site as a Finnish homestead museum open to the public during the summer months.

It is located on the Arnheim Road in Baraga County, on Askel Hill.