Story of Finns in the Midcoast to be told July 28

Jul 09, 2018

Vinalhaven — The next in a series of events that focus on Scandinavians in Maine — “Finnish Neighborhoods: Along Maine’s Coast and on Vinalhaven” — will be held Saturday, July 28, at 9 a.m. at the Vinalhaven Public Library.  Speaker Steve Gifford’s program will be an overview of the Finnish community in Midcoast Maine. This presentation will touch on the reasons Finns immigrated and why they chose to settle along the coast of Maine. The talk will be followed by walks led by descendants of the earliest Finns on Round the Mountain Road, High Street and the Sands Road/North Haven Road.

Gifford, of Warren, is a trustee of the Finnish Heritage House in South Thomaston, and calls his talk, “The Finnish Imprint.”Gifford  retired 12 years ago after a 31-year career as an educator at schools in Rockland and Bangor, and in Norway and Poland. He has been interested in all things Finnish for a good part of his life and recently returned from a fifth trip to Finland.

Gifford and his wife, Mary, have created summer exhibits for FHH for the past 10 years on various aspects of the Finnish-American settlement in the Midcoast -- in the granite industry, blueberry and poultry farming, building saunas and music.

The Vinalhaven Historical Society has opened its museum on High Street, with a feature summer exhibit: "Swedes, Norwegians and Finns Work and Settle on Vinalhaven 1850-1940." The museum is open Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 863-4410 or write vhhissoc@myfairpoint.net.

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