In 1941, a unique home was built in Kaleva out of 60,000 glass bottles by John Makinen. Mr. Makinen owned the local pop bottling factory so he used chipped or flawed bottles from his pop bottling factory for his house. It was designed with artistic placement of the many different colored bottles and was a tourist draw long before it became a museum. In 1983, with fund raising efforts by the community, the Kaleva Historical Society was able to purchase the property from the John Makinen family and thus established its new and permanent home. Historic items are faithfully inventoried, preserved and displayed and over the years visitors from all over the world come to appreciate the history of the area through these artifacts. The Bottle House is listed on the National Historic Register and has been featured by travel publications. Open Sat & Sun: Noon to4pm from Memorial Day to Labor Day & Saturdays Only Noon to 4 through end of October.
Many of the Bottle House Exhibits relate to the early settlement of Kaleva, Finnish American culture, and early 20th century farm life. Special exhibits include the Makinen Tackle Company, the Co-Operative businesses in Kaleva's history, and displays honoring Kaleva's veterans and Robert Rengo, Kaleva's longest serving Village President. Visitors love to search the extensive photo collection for their relatives or original homesteads of their ancestors.
The Makinen Tackle Company Exhibit.
In May 2009 the Makinen Tackle Room opened at the Bottle House Museum. The Makinen Tackle Company was established in Kaleva in the 1940’s by William Makinen. In 2008, The Village of Kaleva purchased a large collection of lures and other items produced by the business from long time collector Bill D. Gregory from Osh Kosh WI.
The Makinen Tackle Company opened in 1945. Makinen Tackle was started out of Bill’s garage, with 2-3 employees and by 1946 expanded to fifty employees from the Kaleva area. In 1945 Makinen Tackle sold 135,000 lures and set a goal for 500,000 in 1946. Mak-Kraft, which was another business endeavor of Bill Makinen, produced wildlife lamps and other household ornaments. In later years, the company produced quality furniture.
Today the Makinen Tackle Room in the Bottle House Museum displays examples of every lure produced by the company as well as many Mak-Kraft decorative items. In addition you will see items from the Bear Creek Bait Company and an original hand painted mural by local artist Martha West.
If you would like to support Bottle House Museum Operations---please join the Kaleva Historical Society! (membership form)You must print the form and send by mail. Thank you!
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