The Bottle House Museum
14551 Wuoksi Street • Kaleva MI 49645
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, and 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. Over the years, visitors from all over the world come to appreciate the history of the area through these artifacts. The museum is home to many exhibits illustrating the Finnish-American history of the community including businesses, farming, and early settlers.
The Bottle House is listed on the National Historic Register and has been featured in travel publications.
Hours Through December
Saturday & Sunday
Noon - 4pm
Lighting uo the Christmas Holiday in Kaleva
Lighting up the Christmas Holiday in Kaleva 2023
The Bottle House Museum announces events for the Holiday –
There will be the Finnish Heaven, which is a wooden frame holding foil stars that hangs over the Christmas tree. This custom came from Finland and is reminiscent of children watching the stars on Christmas Eve. The colored lights on the tree are reflected in the stars and the traditional ornaments of straw and real candles complete the scene. Old fashioned toys and other gifts are scattered under the tree and a heritage quilt serves as the tree skirt.
The front porch of the sauna is the setting for the old-fashioned crèche or Nativity set. It has been part of the Bottle House Christmas
for as long as folks can remember. Lights and straw make the figures very life-like and remind us of the real reason for Christmas.
December 2nd - Light the trees on Wuoksi Boulevard and at the Bottle House at dusk. Hot chocolate served and kids get a free gift
at the Bottle House 12-4 pm
December 9th - "KOKKO" Bonfire and Hot Chocolate; the sauna will be open
for tours - Noon - 4pm
December 16th - Taste of Finland at the Bottle House - Nissua, pannukukku
and other Finnish treats - Noon - 4pm
December 21st - WINTER SOLSTICE - Join us as 1000 candles light up the
graves at Maple Grove Cemetery. Meet across from the cemetery at 4pm.
There will be a short memorial service at dusk. Soup served after at
Bethany Lutheran Church.
December 23rd - Santa Claus will visit with treats for the children; visitors will
have an opportunity to impress the antique Kaleva State Bank stamp on a
Bottle House Museum hours through December
Saturday & Sunday
Noon - 4pm
Kaleva Art Gallery also offering Special Events for the Holiday –
December 2, Noon - 2pm - Deborah Kaskinen Crandell will present her book: “Sisu, Not Just Another Pretty Cat”
December 3, from Noon - 2pm - Make a beach glass ornament, $10 fee - sign up at the gallery
December 9, Noon - 2pm - Rebecca Durant will present her book on Meditations - Noon - 2pm & Wooden ornament workshop from
Noon - 2pm, $10 - sign up at the gallery
These events are open to all ages. A $5 donation is appreciated.
Kaleva Art Gallery, located in downtown Kaleva is a cooperative of over 25 artists.
It is the place to shop locally and find unique Christmas gifts for everyone on your list.
Hours - 12-4 on Friday and Sunday, 10-4 on Saturday
There will be additional hours closer to Christmas
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, Wisconsin.
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.
Kaleva Murals Exhibit
In 1940, six murals created through the National Youth Administration (NYA) and designed especially to capture the area’s Finnish culture, were revealed to the Kaleva community. The murals depict six different scenes from the Finnish epic poem “The Kalevala,” after which the village is named.
Part of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, the NYA provided work and education to young Americans during the Great Depression. In Kaleva, it was the driving force behind a mural project designed and overseen by artist Harry W. Armstrong, and painted by youngsters Dorothy Bantee, Florence Lopnas, Margery Newman, Audrey Engstrom, Raymond Robtuski and Gladys Anderson.
To read the newspaper article about the 75th Anniversary of the Murals in 2015, click here.