St. Urho the Log.
Urho's mighty voice banished the bugs from Finland.

Tree Trunk St. Urho

Field review by the editors.

Finland, Minnesota

St. Urho, the sanctified grasshopper vanquisher and grape savior of Finland (the country), is a towering presence in Finland (the Minnesota town). He was carved by the late Don Osborn out of a single hardwood log in 1982. Urho was meant to be 30 feet high, but the log turned out to be partly rotten, so the final sculpture was reduced to 18 feet. The joke among locals is that Urho stands in the town triangle because Finland is too small to have a town square.

Osborn's sculpture is all head, no body, which can probably be attributed to the missing 12 feet of wood. Urho wears a cloth beanie with an embroidered "FINLAND," a grasshopper, and a bunch of grapes. His mouth is wide open, shouting the bugs out of Finland and into Lake Superior, only five miles down the highway.

"I remember going away to college and trying to explain St. Urho to people and they had no idea," said Honor Schauland, event coordinator for the Friends of the Finland Community. She grew up with the statue and the rest of Finland's St. Urho tributes, which include the 1978 single, "St. Urho's Polka," by Finland band The North Shore Neighbors ("We still have a box of 'em, somewhere," said Honor), and the town's St. Urho celebration every March, which includes an elaborate parade and the crowning of "Miss Helmi," St. Urho's girlfriend, whose contestants are all men.

St. Urho under construction.
1982: St. Urho under construction.

"It's been a long winter and you're ready to come out of hibernation and let off a little steam," Honor explained.

St. Urho souvenirs can be purchased year-round at the town's Finnish Heritage Site and Finland Co-op.

The St. Urho sculpture has held up fairly well despite decades of exposure to Iron Range weather, and Honor said that a local family recently wood-sealed the statue and patched the woodpecker holes in it. "We definitely don't want to see it go," said Honor. "Getting another one would really be a challenge."

Also see: Saint Urho: Grasshopper Vanquisher

Tree Trunk St. Urho

Address:
Hwy 1, Finland, MN
Directions:
North edge of town, in a tiny park on the east side of MN-1, at its intersection with MN-7/Cramer Rd.
Save to My Sights

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