Friends of the Wirtanen Pioneer Farm

Experience Old World Serenity

Tag: finnish

2018 Late Summer Newsletter & Fall Festival

Click for full size poster

Dear Friends,

We hope this finds you and your family well as we get to the final days of summer.  As we write this, it is 60 degrees and rainy. The forecast for the coming week is around 90-degrees and humid.  The calendar says fall is coming eventually!

We are looking forward to this year’s festival.  It will be held on Saturday, September 8, 2018 from 10am-4pm.  As always, the festival is free for everyone but donations are welcome.

As per tradition, we have many crafters and artisans that will be demonstrating and selling their wares.  Local authors, Dennis Esler and S. Fabian Butalla will be there for book signings. Musicians Jon Niemi, Don Guttormson, and Art Lehtonen will be performing.

Strawberry Fields will again be joining us to provide carriage and guided horse rides.   We will have several baby farm animals for the children to play with and hold.

Fresh produce will be available for purchase as well as various other lunch options.

We hope to see you there so you can “Experience Old World Serenity”!


Darlene Saumer



Mailing address:

3322 Vermilion Trail

Makinen, MN 55763

Phone: (218)638-2859

Physical address:

5312 Markham Road

Makinen, MN 55763

2018 Spring Newsletter & Annual Meeting

Dear Friends,

Hope you were able to make it to the Bake Sale last November. It is always a fun and flavorful occasion. It was a good fundraiser for the farm.

We want to invite you to come out and visit with Friends of Wirtanen Pioneer Farm on Sunday April 15th at 3 pm for the Annual Meeting at the Colvin Town Hall on Hwy 4 in Markham, MN.

Researcher Kyle Maunu will be presenting, Co-op Country: Reflections on Nearly 100 Years of Cooperation in Northern Minnesota.  Included in his presentation will be an exhibit of rare cooperative memorabilia and artifacts.

Mr. Maunu is a History graduate from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and has been researching our area’s cooperative movement for nearly two decades. He was curator for the Carlton County Historical Society’s exhibit The Spirit of Cooperatives in 1999. Mr. Maunu conducted an oral history project, funded by the Wirtanen Family Fund of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation, documenting Carlton County’s co-op history in 2000 and has spoken on the topic of cooperatives from Thunder Bay, ONT to Brule, WI.

There will be lunch in the “Finnish Tradition” following the meeting. Bring a dish to share.


Darlene Saumer, 


2017 Late Fall Newsletter and Bake Sale

Dear Friends,

The Wirtanen Farm Day Fall Festival event took place on Saturday, September 9,  2017 from 10 am to 4 pm. We were fortunate to see a break from all the rain we received this summer. The Strawberry Fields draft horses, baby farm animals and musicians entertained us all day.  Art Lehtonen wouldn’t miss it and provided us with Finnish music.  Jon Niemi and Don Guttormson played throughout the day. Local author, Dennis Esler, was at the farm signing his latest book.

Thank you to crafters, artisans and visitors for donations to support the farm. Also, kiitos to all the volunteers, without you we would not be able to achieve this.

The Annual Bake Sale is fast approaching and will be held on Friday, November 3rd & Saturday, November 4th from 8am to 5pm. Donated baked goods can be dropped off Thursday November 2nd from 4pm to 6pm at the Colvin Town Hall on Hwy. 4 in Markham, MN.  We will have lunch available for purchase between 11 and 4 (or until we run out). Cookbooks and postcards will also be for sale. They make great gifts!

Darlene Saumer, President

2017 Fall Newsletter and Fall Festival

Click for Full Sized Poster

Dear Friends,

Come join us for the Wirtanen Farm Fall Festival. This event will take place on Saturday, September 9, 2017 from 10 am to 4 pm. As always, this event is free for everyone and is made possible by all the volunteers and artisans.

Strawberry Fields draft horses will be at the farm and with carriage rides. Musicians performing under the tent throughout the day include Art Lehtonen, Jon Niemi and Don Guttormson. For the children there will be baby animals. Local author, Dennis Esler ,will be available for book signings.

Crafters and artisans will be on the farm grounds demonstrating and selling their wares.

We are holding a silent action. It is for a woodburned stool, crafted by Avery Brown. You can view the stool at the welcome table near the main house. We are accepting bids which will carry on through the bake sale in November.

Lunch will be available for purchase at the farm.

Set this day aside to spend time with family and friends at the farm and “Experience Old World Serenity”.

Hope to see you there!


Darlene Saumer,


Come Explore Eli’s Farm – St. Louis Historical Society

About Eli’s Farm:

This exhibit is a recreation of the popular Eli Wirtanen Finnish Farmstead.  Eli, an immigrant of Finland, was 34 when he homesteaded this property in 1904.  The farm stands as a tribute to our area’s early settlers.  A child sized corner log cabin is surrounded by a garden, chicken coop, and sauna.  This interactive learning experience offers hands-on educational opportunities.  Children can learn, through play, as the perform chores typical of daily life on Eli’s farmstead such as picking apples, using a washing board, gathering wood, and much more.

Located in the Depot, this permanent exhibit was grant funded by the Depot Foundation.  It was created with the support of the Friends of the Wirtanen Pioneer Farm in Markham as well as the Nordic Center in Duluth.

The original Eli Wirtanen Finnish Farmstead is located 40 miles North of Duluth on Vermilion Trail – (Map)