When thinking of colleges in the Upper Peninsula many people think of Michigan Tech in Houghton. Across the river is the city of Hancock and Finlandia University. It started out as Soumi College and this building was the first one on campus. The historical marker in front reads:
Suomi College was founded in 1896 by the Finnish Evangelical Church of America. The cornerstone of Old Main, the first building erected at Suomi College, was laid on May 30, 1898. Jacobsville sandstone, quarried at the Portage Entry of the Keweenaw waterway, was brought here by barge, cut and used to construct Old Main. Dedicated on January 21, 1900, It contained a dormitory, kitchen, laundry, classrooms, offices, library, chapel and lounge. The burgeoning college quickly outgrew this building, and in 1901 a frame structure, housing a gym, meeting hall and music center was erected on an adjacent lot. The frame building was demolished when Nikander Hall, named for Suomi’s founder, J. K. Nikander, was constructed in 1939. The hall was designed by the architectural firm of Saarinen and Swanson.
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