Monday, August 24, 2015

The Abridged History of Finn Hollow

As time marches on and cityscapes redefine former properties, it is important to record and remember the past.  Finn Hollow is one such example.  Located in Fairport Harbor, it is but one of many county properties with a story to share.  Today's blog comes from a 2002 book published by Elaine Lillback and an oral history as told by Lempi Johanna Sironen Juuti Tikka - born in 1889 and the oldest survivor of the original families from Finn Hollow.

The Finnish population moved west around the time of 1871 following the railroad constructions of the era.  Moving from Titusville, Pennsylvania they settled in Fairport around 1871 and in Chardon around 1872.  Pockets of Finnish immigrants also called Ashtabula Harbor, Girad and Burton home.  Fairport became an epicenter for the Finns as the village's location connected both the railroad and shipping industries.

Finn Hollow was a tract of land facing east and west on Third and High Streets in Fairport.  Examination of the original 1812 Grandon charter map (found in the Fairport Harbor Lighthouse & Marine Museum) indicates the lots occupied tracts 128-130 and 139-145.  Homes were constructed on these sites owned by the village ore industries and 50 workers called this area 'home'  Most were located adjacent to the ore dock superintendent's office.  The Lawrence store was one of the earliest businesses there.  The Tuuri Bakery and Hart Pinens-fish dealer also were located on that site.  The Somppi Boarding House was nearby and other businesses of note were Wolf Tobacco & Ice and Newman's Store.

The year 1896 changed much in Fairport as expansion needs of the shipping iron ore industry mandated that these original homes be moved.  Moved they were and spread throughout the village.  Many of the homes have been identified with marker status and continue today to recall an important past commercial history in Fairport Harbor as well as allow for preservation of local history for past, current and future generations.

A partial listing of the former original Finn Hollow family homes and their current village locations.
Cooper (Kupari) House is now at 211 Fifth St.
Hietamaki House is now at 344 Eagle St.
Lempi Home is now at 530 High Street
Nieminen House is now at 525 High St.
Walli Home is now at 616 Marine St.
Humppi House is now at 404 New 4th St.
Renttila's House is now at 425 Eagle St.

For a more detailed look at Finn Hollow, its history and the homes visitors should stop by the Finnish Heritage Museum on High Street.  The volunteer staff can share this story and many other significant stories on your visit.

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