Originally Published October 2014
This month’s ghost sign can be found at 601 Tower Avenue across the bay in Superior. According to the University of Minnesota, “The Työmies Society came into existence as the organization that published Työmies (The Worker), which was founded in 1903 in Worcester, Massachusetts. The newspaper moved from Worcester to Hancock, Michigan in 1904, and to Superior, Wisconsin, in 1914 where it remained until its final printing in 1998. The chief function of the Työmies Society was the publication of newspapers, periodicals, and books for Finnish speaking Americans in order to promote the ideas of the international working class and to educate Finnish immigrants. The Työmies Society endured two red scares: the first during World War I and the early 1920s anti-Communist, anti-foreigner hysteria and government censorship, and the second during the 1950s with McCarthyism, which resulted in the attempted deportation of two Työmies editors, Knut Heikkinen and William Lahtinen. Other notable editors include: Vihtori Kosonen, Leo Laukki, George Halonen, Richard Pesola, and Leo Mattson. Inevitably, Työmies fell victim to the gradual assimilation of the Finnish American community and the loss of Finnish readership, as immigrants and second generation Finnish Americans (veterans of the vibrant working class movement of the pre-World War Two era) passed away. As of 1999, the Työmies Society published only one all-English publication, the monthly Finnish American Reporter. You can read more about the Tyomies Society here.