|Finnish Pioneer Monument, 7,5 miles east of Rolla, ND|
On my trip to North Dakota, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Colombia, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, a couple of years ago, I stopped at this site near Rolla, North Dakota. It is located on Highway 5, Towner County, 7,5 miles east of Rolla. This statue was erected by North Dakota Finnish Historical Society, which began it's function in 1954. It was organized by Dr. K. Koski, who came from Iron River, Michigan, to practice in Rolla. Dr. Koski was interested in establishing a historical society among the Finnish settlers in the area. He gained support from the local residents.
At first there were only a few who actively participated. Their objective was to collect historical facts and information dating back to 1896, when the first Finnish settlers arrived. The founding meeting was held on July 30, 1954, at the Towner County's Mount View School. At this meeting officers were elected and 30 new members joined. By-laws were drafted, and the group took the official name.
The Society decided to build a memorial monument for Finnish pioneers as a part of the 60th anniversary of the Finnish settlement in the area. Discussion came up as to where the monument would be located. The Society’s board of directors went to confer with Theodore Leonard and Amelia Johnson, who were descendants of Riter A. Johnson, as he had promised to give an acre of land for that purpose. The land that the Johnsons donated is on the north side of Highway #5, seven and a half miles east of Rolla.
The preparation of the land for erecting the monument had started earlier. The land was worked and grass was sown. Men planted pine trees, American Elm and Box elder, on the acre of land. One of the money raising projects was a dinner held at the Rolla City hall, with proceeds of $135.
The Society ordered the $400 granite monument which was delivered on June 18th, 1956 to the site chosen by the Society members. The unveiling and dedication of the monument took place on Sunday, July 8th, 1956. The people of the area arrived en masse to celebrate those pioneers who founded and helped a better life for themselves and their descendants.
At that time the Society had 80 members. Since then, the society membership declined, and the society ceased to exist in the 1960 - 70's
Today the Finnish Monument has a picnic shelter and rest rooms, and it is a very nice quiet placed to stop at, to have a picnic, or just to stop and look at the historical monument.
|Finnish Pioneer Monumet was erected by North Dakota Finnish Historical Society in 1956|