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Three Finn Creek student essay winners tie for first place

Three students from New York Mills School have tied for first place in an essay contest sponsored by the Finn Creek Open Air Museum.

The students, Alexandra Hendrickx, Jonas Baune and Ashley Herr, will be reading their winning essays at the Finn Creek Summer Folk Festival the last weekend in August.

Fifth grade students visited the NY Mills-area museum on May 11, and were then asked to write essays about their experiences. Teachers graded the essays, and the top three (as well as honorable mentions) were awarded prizes by Finn Creek.

Below are the three winning essays (edited only in rare instances, for clarity):


By Alexandra Hendrickx

My trip to Finn Creek was a fascinating trip! From having anticipation in the morning, and being lethargic in the afternoon. It was very "Finnish!"

We started on the bus, it was a beautiful day. I was sitting with my friend Ashley. She's Finnish so I got a little of a head start about Finnish culture, then we just messed around.

A short time later we arrived at Finn Creek. It had keen green grass and, at the time, looked as though it had more than a dozen buildings! It was chilly but still stunning.

I ate my lunch in the blue and white bandstand. As I was eating my ham and cheese sand-witch I saw something quite peculiar, a bottle cap out-house! Just imagine who made that, I bet it would be very frustrating!

When we went in the School House (A.K.A. in Finnish, Koulu Huone) I saw old desks and I saw the volunteer, Mrs. Salo. I learned that the girl teachers couldn't be married (that would be bad!), that the teacher would teach all the grades (that would be frustrating!), and, to cut it short, that the teachers would whip boys and girls (harsh!). She also read a brilliant poem about whining, at the end of each stanza she read: "The world is mine, God forgive me when I whine."

Mrs. Salo told us about the Flying Finns, they were a basketball team who were in the time of the Depression, from what I hear, they were magnificent!

When we went in the Chapel (Kappeli) I saw shining wooden pews and a man, Mr. Tumberg. He taught us about Finnish religion. He even sang us "Jesus Loves Me" in Finnish! He also said that the pews were hand-made, it was very interesting.

Next we went to the "Oldest" Otter Tail Town Hall (Raatihuone). It was very old, more than a hundred years old to be exact. There were a lot of paintings in there.

When we were done, we ran across the bright yellow dandelions and went in the log barns; there was a lot of metal! Like a hay hook, a platform scale, a milk stirrer, a weed cutter, a Singer Sewing machine, and a lot more!

Then we went in the Dwelling house (Asuinhuone). I went towards the blue door and went inside. I saw a lot of things inside. I saw a stove, a crib, a table, and a lot of stuff hanging from the walls. I heard a story that a little girl died with lung disease in the house. That's pretty creepy. The house had really steep stairs!

Then we went into the Sauna (a fire sauna), it had a small door and it was very dark inside. It had four benches.

Next we went to the Blacksmith Shop (Pajaseppa Puoti), it was excellent! He made a heart hook, it looked very cool. He dipped the iron in the water and a bunch of steam came out, very cool.

I passed the machine shed and saw a really old fire engine. I went to the Sawmill, the first thing I saw was a humongous pile of sawdust, it was very big.

Then we went to the petting zoo, I saw a beautiful pony! It was brown, white and very friendly! The cute ducks (also very smelly ducks) were friendly too.

Next and final place to go was the creek; we walked down the trail of sweet buttercups and stopped to talk about it, "Do you think St. Urho was really buried here?" and "We should search for him!" It was very soothing

When it was all said and done I had a marvelous experience! I learned a lot about Finnish heritage. Like the plaque on the Dwelling House says; "Finns have roots."


By Jonas Baune

Old schools, lumberyards, ducklings, saunas and horses. Those are just some of the reasons I loved my trip to Finn Creek.

Hyvåå huomenta. The trip started with me trying to sneak past my Uncle Bob with out him slamming the bus door on me. On the bus then Dylan and I were deciding who would win the World Series this year.

Once we got there we had lunch, which was great because I was starving. I also tried to steal Logan's lunchbox (it had cookies), but I got caught.

After lunch we went to the schoolhouse and I learned about what it was like to be a student in the nineteen hundreds. I learned that they gave kids lashes if they misbehaved and that you could not have dirty clothes. Then we went to the church and they had lots of donated materials like pews, an organ, and picture of Jesus drawn by Katrine Keranen.

After that we went to the tool shed. They had lots of stuff, most of it I didn't even know about. They had saws, washing machines, and counters that looked as old as the sun.

The summer kitchen was next; they had lots of canning jars, and an unfinished rug. The house that was next to it was interesting because it had pictures and lots of souvenir items like old pots and pans and even a pot-bellied stove. I bet it was worth a million dollars! The saunas we went to were as dark as caves! The savu sauna was even darker.

My class went to the blacksmith shop next. He could do amazing stuff with the metal he made leaves, flowers and eagles, anything you can think of.

Even after that we had a lot of stuff to do. I went to the general store and looked at just about everything. Then I bought a Dummel (a Finnish candy), for twenty cents!

When we went down to the creek we had flower races and had lots of fun. My flower won. Then we had cookies and lemonade. I thought it was very good. Then it was time to go.

All in all I loved my trip to Finn Creek, and I learned a lot about my heritage. Hyvåå påivåå.


By Ashley Herr

On Friday my class went on an amazing trip to Finn Creek. We went to many different places and very old houses. I saw many interesting things and I'm going to tell you about it. If you haven't been to Finn Creek you NEED to read this!

First of all we had lunch. We could sit on the ground, the shelter, or the stage. Everyone ate everything because we were really hungry.

After we ate, my class went to the school house and Mrs. Salo was our teacher. Mrs. Salo asked who could count in Finnish. I'm part Finn so I raised my hand, I got up to six or seven and I couldn't go any farther, Jonas tried and he got to ten (that was impressive). Mrs. Salo told us the history of the school. The school was built in 1890, the district number is #123, and was built around Henning. When we were done Ms. Askew rang the bell but it didn't sound so good.

Next we went to the granary. There wasn't much in there so there isn't much to say about the granary.

Now we've gotten to the good places of Finn Creek, so don't stop reading if you think this boring, were getting there. We went to the dwelling house that is pretty big. If you're looking for something interesting and gives you an amazing feeling you'll love this place. You have to be careful though, there's a very steep staircase.

This is my absolute favorite place of all time in Finn Creek. It takes you back in time, memories and stories come to mind. It's the sauna. You can go in there and sit down and just think for a moment, so many stories come to mind especially if you're a Finn. If you're not a Finn have someone that is a Finn tell you a story so you can have some piece of understanding. To me when I look at a sauna, stories come into my head, stories of my ancestors and how we do some of the things the very same way. It's an amazing thing to be a Finn and to be like your ancestors, taking your mind away from everything happening now in the world. A sauna is the best place ever for a Finn like me.

After that we went to the blacksmith's shop and he made a heart. We went to the sawmill and saw them cut wood and we all got a piece of wood as a souvenir and then we went and saw some animals and got to pet them.

I had an amazing time at Finn Creek. It's an amazing place that I hope I can bring my children and see what are relatives lived like. I hope that anybody that hasn't gone to Finn Creek can go and see what it's like. I can't wait till the Finn festival and I hope to see you there!