Kaleva, Michigan

Home of the famous Bottle House.

 

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Kaleva is compact enough that you could see the whole town on a walking tour. The Centennial Walkway is a pleasant pathway and introduces visitors to the healthy arts community that thrives here. The walkway follows the old railroad grade at the west end of town. All along the walkway are sculptures and works of art related to the history of Kaleva. One sculpture always gets the most attention. You can’t miss the giant grasshopper at 18 feet long and weighing in at 500 pounds. As so often happens here, there is a Finnish connection. The story goes that St. Urho chased all the grasshoppers out of Finland. It had to be done because they kept eating the entire grape crop. One grasshopper got away and came to Kaleva. The event is commemorated on March 16th, St. Urho’s day.

 

With works of art at every turn, it is no surprise that there is an art gallery in town. The gallery was the headquarters for an area newspaper, the Siirtolainen. Then it became the village drug store for many years. Now it is an art cooperative featuring the works of local artists. Art and history are a constant combination in Kaleva. Another example is the small log cabin theatre near the library. This structure, an old style Finnish log cabin, was home to a family with 6 members. Now it is the venue for free concerts on Friday evenings every August. Between the Centennial Walkway and the Log Cabin is the Railroad Depot Museum. It preserves the history of the impact the lumbering industry and the railroad had on this entire region.