Socialist Hall

At first glance the large gray ashier building in South Range looks to be some type of fire hall, thanks to a large central arched opening residing within its facade. Its grand edifice and sandstone foundation seemed to suggest some type of municipal function, perhaps even a town hall. The building’s real identity was that of a meeting hall – one built by the local South Range chapter of the Finnish Socialist Federation.

The South Range Socialist Hall – as it would become known – took three years to build. The property was first purchased by the local chapter of the Western Federation of Miners, but in 1910 would end up in the hands of the Finnish Workingmen’s Association. By the time the finished hall was complete in 1913 it was the Finnish Socialist Federation whose name was on the deed. Inside could be found a meeting hall, office space, and a performance stage complete with scenery space.

The existence of such a hall was owed to the unique nature of South Range being an independent community not controlled by any mine company. In fact this was the third such hall in the village – joining the Temperence Hall (also known locally as “Socialist Hall”) and the Kaleva Temple. Such a concentration of perceived “socialist” locations helped make South range a hotbed of both union and anti-union activity during the strike of 1913.

Michael Forgrave

CCE is written, photographed and illustrated by Mike Forgrave. After having graduated from Michigan Tech, Mike spent 16 years in the Copper Country exploring the remains of the great industrial empire that was. In 2007 he began to document those explorations through the pages of CCE, hoping to share the beauty and majesty of the region to the rest of the world. Since then Mike has written over 1300 articles and a dozen books on the subject, creating one of the largest on-line resources for Copper Country history in the process.
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