The Bottle House Museum
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.
14551 Wuoksi Street
Kaleva MI 49645
Memorial Day Weekend to October
Noon to 4 pm
The Christmas open house at the Bottle House Museum traditionally held the 1st. Sunday of December will not take place this year due to scheduling problems.
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.