Early Years In 1969 the Kaleva Historical Society (KHS) was formed by members of the community that wanted to preserve the heritage and history of family, church, and community. Around 1900 when the first Finnish families moved to Kaleva they arrived to pine stumps and blow sand. Many that could afford to cut their loses and return to their homes did, but those who could not leave made the best of the what they had. By treasuring family, church and community and with a bit of SISU (Finnish for strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity) the founding families of Kaleva worked hard to persevere and erect a town from nothing. From that proud heritage came the group of people who formed the Kaleva Historical Society. The first Historical Museum was housed in a room of the former Kaleva Jr. High School.
Major Historical Society Projects
Project Kaleva. In 1998 the Project Kaleva committee was formed to support the Brethren High School student's work helping Kaleva build community pride. Over the years Project Kaleva has worked with Service Learning Classes to restore the Railroad Depot, to restore the Asiala family log cabin and add a performance deck for outdoor concerts in a village park, to create the Kaleva Centennial Walkway featuring original sculptures such as the giant Grasshopper that represents the St. Urho story. Project Kaleva is no longer a separate entity, but is now part of the Kaleva Historical Society and its enthusiastic volunteers continue working on various community projects such as the the Winter Solstice celebration during which over 1000 luminaries are placed on graves at Maple Grove Twp. Cemetery in Kaleva.
Kaleva Beautification Team. In 2010, a group of civic minded area residents were concerned about the number of neglected properties in the village. They spearheaded a clean-up effort by targeting abandoned properties. Their next project was raising funds for the demolition of a condemned house so the property owner could donate the property to Habitat for Humanity. They recently erected beautiful new welcome signs to the village on the north, east, and west sides.
The Finnish Line. KHS puts on a 5K run/walk race during Kaleva Days. The Finnish Line begins at 9am on the 3rd Saturday of July in front of the elementary school [2012 entry form]. Call 231-362-3519 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Log Cabin Concerts. The Asiala family cabin was brought to town and restored by the students in Service Learning Program at Brethren High School. The cabin was built around 1908 when the Asiala family came to Kaleva. It was originally located near Wilson Road and now sits on a lot owned by the village of Kaleva between Walta Ave and Panu Ave. Since 1999 the community has been able to enjoy free entertainment each Friday during the month of August at 7pm.
See event page for dates.