HJ/EDMay 1, 2006

Relics of the past

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

Paul Raisanen of Cokato donated a weather vane from the landmark round barn to the Finnish American Historical Society.

The round barn was on the first farm west of Temperance Corners, three miles north of Cokato, Raisanen said. It was dismantled in about 1999 by John Halonen of Cokato, who has the property now, Raisanen said.

Halonen is the nephew of Raisanen’s wife, Millie, so Halonen gave the weather vane to the Raisanens.

The farm where the round barn was built was founded by Peter Wanha and his wife, Kaisa. They came from Norway in 1870. The barn was built in 1902. Raisanen said the University of Wisconsin was promoting round barns at the turn of the century as a more efficient use of space. It was 80 feet in diameter. The hay loft high doors and hay track were added in 1914, Raisanen said.

A brother of the Wanha who owned the round barn was a blacksmith and made the weather vane from scrap iron, according to Susan Keskey of Cokato.

The farm had been in the Wanha family for 81 years, when it was sold to Oscar Kivi in 1951. The Kivi family modernized the inside of the barn’s layout. Then in 1957, the farm was sold to the Raisanen family, and then to Halonen in the 1990s, Raisanen said.

Harvey Barberg of the Finnish American Historical Society picked up the weather vane from the Raisanens in the fall of 2005. The vane will be mounted at Lee School by the society for special occasions, most likely at Temperance Corners.

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