In-Group Finnish Place Names - Minnesota


Aavikko seutu  
A region in Otto amd Leaf Townships, Otter Tail County. Aavikko = desert; seutu = region.

Later known as Prairiakontri. Settled by Finns in the late 1870's.

Source: Kaups 1978, p. 58.

Alavudenkontri  
A region in St. Louis County. Alavus is a parish in Ostrobothnia, Finland.
Alavuden is a genitive form of Alavus.
Kontri is a region or land = country.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 393.

Alavus Cherry
A hamlet in St. Louis County, near the station of Iron; Some seven miles S of the Mesabi Range. Alavus is a parish in Ostrobothnia, Finland.

The first Finns arrived in 1898. A Finnish parish and church.

Source: Ilmonen 1926, p. 177.


Source: Kaups 1966, p. 393.

Aura  
  Most of the inhabitants came from New York Mills.

Source: Ilmonen 1926, p. 194.

Aurakontri  
A region in Becker County. Aura is a parish in SW Finland and also the river crossing the city of Turku, SW Finland.
Aura = plow.
Kontri is a region or land = country.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 393.

Duluthin Metsä  
A settlement in Midway Township, St. Louis County. Also known as Fond du Lac'in Siirtokunta.

Source: Kaups 1978, p. 56.

Etelä Metsäkontri  
A region in Otter Tail County. Etelä = south; metsä = forest.
Kontri is a region or land = country.

The area south of railroad in Newton Township, some four milses from New York Mills.

Source: Kaups 1978, p. 56.

Eteläkontri  
A region in Otter Tail County. Etelä = south.
Kontri is a region or land = country.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 393.

Eveletti Eveleth
A town in St. Louis County. Used in spoken language.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 396.

Finn  
  A Finnish farming village.

Source: Ilmonen 1926, p. 194.

Haukijoki Pike River
A river in St. Louis County. Hauki = pike; joki = river.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 392.

Haukijärvi  
A lake in Becker County. Hauki = pike; järvi = lake.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 393.

Haukijärvi  
A hamlet in Becker County. Hauki = pike; järvi = lake.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 393.

Heinäjoki Hay River
A river in Otter Tail County. Heinä = hay; joki = river.

Source: Ilmonen 1926, p. 193. [North of Wadena.]


Source: Kaups 1966, p. 392.

Horonperä Clark
A region in Lake County, some 12 miles N of Two Harbors. The word horo has no meaning in Finnish.
Perä = "end".

Horonperä, meaning "inferior" or "secondary", an evaluation of the agricultural possibilities.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 395.

Huurtin Siirtokunta  
A settlement in SE Renville County. For years a small Finnish rural settlement was designated as Huurtin Siirtokunta. The Finnish Huurti is a modification of the English "Fort" in Fort Ridgely, an old government post in the area, and Siirtokunta means "emigrant commune".

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 396.

Imperia Embarras
A hamlet in St. Louis County. Source: Kaups 1966, p. 396.
Kalajärvi Fish Lake
A lake in Aitkin and Pine Counties. Kala = fish; järvi = lake.

A name appearing in a pamphlet advertising available lands for Finns.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 395.

Kantola Deer River
A hamlet or region around Deer River, Itasca County.
Kantola is a Finnish farm name and a surname.

The area belonged to the chippewa indians but was bought by government and made to homesteads. The first Finns arrived in 1904.

Source: Ilmonen 1926, p. 183.


Kantola, meaning "place of stumps" or "Stumpville", was the in-group name for a predominantly Finnish agricultural area. Here the Finns had settled on the cutover lands from which marketable timber had been removed, and the stumps left, in earlier lumber days.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 395.

Karhujoki Bear River
A river in St. Louis County. Karhu = bear; joki = river.
Kaskenkylä  
  Kaski = burn-beat; kasken is the genitive form; kylä = village.

Source: Ilmonen 1926, p. 98.

Kattilajoki  
A river in Carlton County. Kattila = kettle; joki = river.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 393.

Kirkasjärvi Clear Lake
A lake in Aitkin and Pine Counties. Kirkas = clear; järvi = lake.

A name appearing in a pamphlet advertising available lands for Finns.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 395.

Kivikontri  
A region in St. Louis County. Kivi = stone.
Kontri is a region or land = country.
Kivi is a Finnish surname.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 393.

Korppijoki North Fork
Crow Wing River, Wright County. Korppi = raven; joki = river.

Source: Kaups 1978, p. 55.

Korvenkylä  
A hamlet in St. Louis County, some 15 miles N of the Mesabi Range. Korpi = wilderness, backwoods; korven is the genitive form of korpi; kylä = village.
Korpi is a Finnish surname.

Settled by Finns in 1905 when the area was a forest wilderness; its name, meaning "Wilderness Village".

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 395.

Kykyrijärvi  
A lake in St. Louis County. The word kykyri has no meaning in Finnish.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 393.

Lehtijoki  
A river in Otter Tail County. Lehti = leaf; joki = river.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 393.

Lehtijärvi  
A township in Otter Tail County. Lehti = leaf; järvi = lake.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 393.

Lehtijärvi Leaf Lake
A lake in Otter Tail County, some miles from New York Mills. Lehti = leaf; järvi = lake.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 392-393.

Loodwoodi Floodwood
A town in St. Louis County. Used in spoken language.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 396.

Metsäkontri  
A region in Otter Tail County. Metsä = forest.
Kontri is a region or land = country.

Was also used to identify the same area as Pohjoiskontri, but it indicates that Finnish settlement here had advanced into the northern conoferous-forest belt.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 396.

Millionijärvi Vermilion Lake
A lake in St. Louis County. Miljoona = million; järvi = lake.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 396.

Millsinkontri  
A region in Otter Tail County. "Millsin" is the genitive form of "Mills", probably referring to New York Mills.
Kontri is a region or land = country.

Identifying Finnish rural settlements around New York Mills.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 396.

Mustikkajoki  
A stream in Wadena County. Mustikka = blueberry; joki = river.

Source: Kaups 1978, p. 59.

Mustikkajärvi  
A lake in Wadena County. Mustikka = blueberry; järvi = lake.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 393.

Myllykylä New York Mills
A town in Otter Tail County. Mylly = mill; kylä = village.

Source: Kaups 1978, p. 57.

Niemi  
A hamlet in St. Louis County, SE of Duluth.. Niemi = cape, peninsula.
Niemi is a common Finnish surname.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 393.

Niemi  
A peninsula in St. Louis County. Niemi = cape, peninsula.
Niemi is a common Finnish surname.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 393.

Nurmijärvi  
A hamlet in Pine County, a few miles W of Finlayson. Nurmi = lawn, grassy space; järvi = lake.
Nurmi is a Finnish surname.

The Finns started to settle in 1894. Two Finnish churches are built near  Finlayson, which is the station of Nurmijärvi.

Source: Ilmonen 1926, p. 190.


Nurmijärvi, "Grass Lake", is a good example of an idealistic name; it was coined by a Finnish railroad agent to idealize an area west of Finlayson. After the Finlayson area had been depleted of its magnificent stands of white pine in the 1890's, the St. Paul and Duluth Railroad Company was eger to dispose of its lands. Pamphlets in the Finnish language were circulated among the Finns, and advertisements appeared in the Finnish-language newspapers in the US describing the purported virtues of the area.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 393.

Näläkävaara  
A hill or region in St. Louis County, just S of the Mesabi Range. Näläkä is a dialectal form of nälkä = hunger.
Vaara = mountain, hill (used only in eastern and northern parts of Finland); danger. Kaups (1996) has not been aware of the meaning of the word "vaara" in place names.
Vaara is also a Finnish surname.

Näläkävaara, meaning "hunger danger", is another regional descriptive in-group place name. It refers to a small area of Finnish settlement just south of the Mesabi Range where topography, frosts, and poor soils make cultivation difficult and yields unreliable. Not far from Näläkävaara is Onnelakontri, "place of happiness", which indicates a supposed regional difference in physical resources   within less than ten miles.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 395.

Onnelakontri  
A region in St. Louis County. Onni = happiness; Onnela = a place of happiness.
Onnela is a Finnish farm name and surname.
Kontri is a region or land = country.

Not far from Näläkävaara ("hunger danger") is Onnelakontri, "place of happiness", which indicates a supposed regional difference in physical resources   within less than ten miles.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 395.

Onkka  
South of Eveleth, St. Louis County. May be of Finnish origin.

A young Finnish settlement.

Source: Ilmonen 1926, p. 177.

Paholaissaari Devils Island
In Toivola Swamp, St. Louis County. Paholainen = devil; saari = island.

It may be possible, although direct evidence is wanting, that Devils Island (in Finnish, Paholaissaari) is a translation of a Finnish in-group place name.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 391 & 393.


A series of mounds in Toivola Swamp between Cedar Valley and Toivola were known as Paholaissaari, "Island of the Wicked" or "Devils Island".

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 395.

Pernulajärvi  
  Järvi = lake.

A diminutive pond located in Prairiakontri named after Jakob Pernula, one of the Finnish farmers who had settled along its shores. Apparently, Pernula is the first Finnish surname to be associated with an in-group name designating a geographical feature in Minnesota.

Source: Kaups 1978, p. 58.

Petäjämäki Pine Hill
A hill in Midway Township, St. Louis County. Petäjä = pine; mäki = hill.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 393.

Pohjoiskontri  
A region in Otter Tail County. Pohjoinen = north.
Kontri is a region or land = country.

Applied to the predominantly Finnish rural area in the northwest corner of Otter Tail County as the Finnish cultivators expanded northward from the Millsinkontri.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 396.

Prairiakontri  
A region in Otto amd Leaf Townships, Otter Tail County. See also Aavikko seutu. Prairia is a derivate of the English word prairie, preeria in Finnish.
Kontri is a region or land = country.

Referring to the prairie openings west of Heinola.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 396.

Rauta-Alue  
A region in St. Louis County. Rauta = iron; alue = area, region.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 393.

Riisijoenkontri  
A region in St. Louis County. Riisi = rice.
Kontri is a region or land = country.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 393.

Ruonala Ronald
  The first Finns settled in 1899.

Source: Ilmonen 1926, p. 189.

Saari  
A hamlet in St. Louis County; A railway stop. Saari = island.
Saari is a common Finnish surname.

Source: Ilmonen 1926, p. 176.


Source: Kaups 1966, p. 393.

Saarikoski  
The farming area between Toivola and Hibbing, St. Louis County. Also called Susikontri. Source: Ilmonen 1926, p. 181.

Salo, denoting "uninhabited territory" or "backwoods", was the name of another Finnish rural settlement initiated during the first decade of the twentieth century; it reflected the impressions of the first Finnish settlers in the area and the fact that they were the pioneers.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 395.

Salo  
A hamlet in St. Louis County. Source: Kaups 1966, p. 393.

Used as a synonym for Cedar Valley.

Source: Evankelis-luterilainen kansalliskirkko. Ensimmäiset 50 vuotta. 1949, p. 336.

Santajoki  
A region N of Duluth, St. Louis County. Santa = sand; joki = river.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 393.

Santajoki  
A hamlet in St. Louis County. Santa = sand; joki = river.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 393.

Santajoki  
A river in St. Louis County. Santa = sand; joki = river.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 393.


Source: Ilmonen 1926, p. 175.

Santala  
A hamlet in St. Louis County; Near Virginia. The Finnish settlers arrived in 1900.

Source: Ilmonen 1926, p. 174.


Source: Kaups 1966, p. 393.

Saukkojärvi Saukko Lake
  Source: Ilmonen 1926, p. 192.
Sewenakontri  
A region in St. Louis County. Kontri is a region or land = country.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 393.

Sissholmi Chisholm
A town in Mesabi Range, St. Louis County. Used in spoken language.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 396.

St. Luisjoki or St. Louiswirta  
A stream in St. Louis County. Source: Kaups 1966, p. 393 & Kaups 1978, p. 57.
Susijärvi Wolf Lake
A lake in Becker County. Susi = wolf; järvi = lake.

Wolf Lake is the only Finnish descriptive place name translated into English. The original name was Susijärvi. In 1896 the township in which Wolf Lake is situated was organized and was named after the lake. Before the arrival of Finnish settlers the body of the water now known as Wolf Lake had appeared on an 1888 Becker County map by Warren Upham as Lake Nuttall.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 391.

The large number of wolves in the forests of Becker County is said to have led Finns to name a lake Susijärvi, Wolf Lake; this was in 1888 when the Finnish agricultural frontier reached the area.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 396.

Susikontri  
The farming area between Toivola and Hibbing, St. Louis County. Also called Saarikoski. Susi = wolf.
Kontri is a region or land = country.

Source: Ilmonen 1926, p. 181.


The extensive swamplands between Floodwood and the Mesabi Range were known to Finns as Susikontri (susi, "wolf").

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 395.

Susikontri  
A region in SW St. Louis County. Susi = wolf.
Kontri is a region or land = country.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 393.

Tapiola  
A hamlet in St. Louis County. Source: Kaups 1966, p. 393.
Tipo Cokato
A hamlet in Wright County. Tipo, an in-group place name by which Cokato hamlet was known for several decades to the Finnish settlers in the area, is derived from the English term "depot"; originally it identified the site of the present Great Northern Railway station in Cokato, but in time it came to include all of Cokato for the Finns.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 396.

Tomsinkontri  
A region in NE Carlton County. Kontri is a region or land = country.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 393.

Ylikontri  
A region in SW St. Louis County. Yli = upper.
Kontri is a region or land = country.

Source: Kaups 1966, p. 393.