Cokato, Minnesota: Oldest Sauna in North America

Built in 1868, last occupied by naked Finns in 1885.
Address:
2001 County Rd 3 SW, Cokato, MN
Directions:
Three miles north of Cokato on County Rd 3. Turn left onto MN-100; the sauna will be on the left.
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First sauna.

Oldest Sauna in North America

On a rural corner just north of Cokato stands the oldest sauna in North America. Using a sauna is a common Finnish practice for bathing, using heat and steam, brought to the area by Finnish immigrants. This sauna was constructed in 1868 and moved to its current location on Temperance Corner in 1979. Other historical buildings on the corner include a Temperance Hall built in 1896 and a one-room schoolhouse built in 1899.

[Tony Dahlman, 11/21/2019]

The sauna was in use until 1885, when neighbors sued to shut it down because the Finns were waking around naked, outside, to cool off. The neighbors lost, the Finns counter-sued for damages, then used the money to build a bigger sauna away from the road.

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December 13, 2019

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