Nestled into a wooded property surrounded with once cultivated fields is the Oulu Cultural & Heritage Center. Oulu (pronounced in Finnish “O-Lu” is a small township north of highway just west of Brule, WI. This location’s elevation presents views of forests and farms north to the shores of Lake Superior.
What is unique to this historical location it is a property with restored farm houses, a school, a co-op store, out buildings including a sauna, woodshed, workshop, and more. The location is curated by a group who formed the non-profit organization on land leased to it through the family of Duane Lahti whose main building is the original 1910 farmstead developed by his immigrant Finnish family John and Justina Palo.
Throughout the property, you will walk into the past of the John Pudas renovated home, and other structures restored to reflect the life, craftsmanship, and work of maintaining a farm in the far north of Wisconsin.
It is said immigrants from Finland and Sweden were attracted to this area as it reflected their homeland landscape and environment.For many regional residents, visiting this location opens to them history often unknown. Visitors from around the states and internationally have made their way to the Oulu Cultural & Heritage Center. Some current generation families from Finland and Scandinavians have come to experience where their families immigrated to and the life they developed over the past century.
In addition, the center hosts a variety of events including educational classes for adults and youth. Check their webpage and Facebook page for upcoming events or contact by phone listed at the end of this article.
Here are some reflections of the past you will experience in the various renovated buildings and artifacts from the Finnish settlers who came to northern Wisconsin to begin a new a life in the United States. Opening themselves to a past and new lifestyle to integrate into American culture and still maintain their own cultural heritage for generations to come to remember.