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Finnish Log Buildings

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1898 Matt Johnson Log House. W. Knox Rd., 1.5 miles south of U.S. 8 c. 1902 August and Johanna Kanervikko Barn. W321 Kansas Ave.
  • Matt Johnson House (Photograph by Mark Fay, courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society)

In the 1890s, Finnish immigrants settled this part of southern Price County, attracted by employment as loggers and sawyers. After the land had been cut over, they turned to farming. Among those settling in Uusi Savo (as the community was known) were Matt Johnson and John Kivekoa, who worked at the nearby Knox Brothers Saw Mill. The two men built the side-gabled Matt Johnson House—now called Knox House and part of Knox Creek Heritage Center trails—out of local hemlock in a Nordic manner. The men hewed logs with flat sides and laid them with the curved bottoms over the rounded tops, then inserted a small amount of moss between them to create a tight fit that did not require chinking. Dovetail notches join the logs at the ends. A second entrance was added later.

August and Johanna Kanervikko arrived in this settlement around 1902. Their long, low barn was built in three sections of unhewn logs with chinking in the gaps. Saddle notches lock the corners. The cruder use of unhewn logs here may indicate that their builder was not as skilled as Johnson and Kivekoa or, perhaps, it simply reflects haste in sheltering the farm animals when winter arrived. The barn shows some deterioration resulting from neglect, but it remains an increasingly rare example of a type once common in northern Wisconsin.

Writing Credits

Marsha Weisiger et al.


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Marsha Weisiger et al., "Finnish Log Buildings", [Brantwood, Wisconsin], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Wisconsin

Buildings of Wisconsin, Marsha Weisiger and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017, 307-308.

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