Wisconsin Historical Society

National or State Registers Record

71055 Muskeg Road

National or State Register of Historic Places
71055 Muskeg Road | National or State Registers Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Palo, John and Justina, Homestead
Reference Number:02001007
Location (Address):71055 Muskeg Road
Palo, John and Justina, Homestead
Town of Oulu, Bayfield County
Construction date: 1910

In the early 1900s, Finnish immigrants arrived and settled in Northern Wisconsin. As a late immigrant group, the Finns located in the coldest area in the state and one with relatively poor farming conditions. The area is referred to as the "cutover" region; this was the last area of the pinery to be logged off in the state and, thus, the last area to be opened for agriculture.

John Palomaki (Palo) immigrated to the United States in 1896. He reflects the lives of many of his fellow countrymen. He worked in mining to raise money to purchase the first 40 acres of the farmstead. John married Justina Pollari in 1915 in Arizona, where Justina and her sister operated a boarding house and where John had worked in a copper mine.

The house, as first built, was of the "gabled ell" form, a common housing form in agricultural areas of the state. In the late 1920s or early 1930s, the crook of the L was enclosed and the second floor of this area was given a gambrel form roof, popular with other Finnish homes in the area. The house is distinguished for its log construction, visible on the interior. Finnish log buildings are noted for their full dovetail corner notches that were cut so that the logs were drawn tighter as the house settled.

The homestead also contains a wellhouse, an outhouse and a combination building, with a sauna, woodshed and shop. The latter, a 36 foot long building, is partitioned into the three functional areas. The wall and roof framing members are of peeled balsam and spruce poles. The interior of the sauna steam room and dressing room are faced with rough lumber. The sauna further distinguishes this as a Finnish homestead. The bathhouse or sauna was usually the second building constructed on the site, and was occasionally the first.

While three-fourths of Oulu's farmers in 1942 were Finns, many of the original buildings associated with these farms and homesteads have disappeared. The Palo Homestead had itself been abandoned and vacant for 23 years before John and Justina's grandson purchased it in 1997. Read more about the restoration of this significant collection of buildings on the Society's website.

This is a private residence; please respect the rights of its owners.

Period of Significance:1910-1949
Area of Significance:Architecture
Area of Significance:Exploration/Settlement
Applicable Criteria:Architecture/Engineering
Applicable Criteria:Event
Historic Use:Agriculture/Subsistence: Agricultural Outbuildings
Historic Use:Domestic: Single Dwelling
Historic Use:Domestic: Secondary Structure
Architectural Style:Late Victorian
Resource Type:Building
Historic Status:Listed in the National Register
Historic Status:Listed in the State Register
National Register Listing Date:09/12/2002
State Register Listing Date:07/19/2002
Number of Contributing Buildings:4
Number of Contributing Sites:0
Number of Contributing Structures:0
Number of Contributing Objects:0
Number of Non-Contributing Sites:0
Number of Non-Contributing Structures:0
Number of Non-Contributing Objects:0
National Register and State Register of Historic Places, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

How to Cite

For the purposes of a bibliography entry or footnote, follow this model:

National Register of Historic Places Citation
National Register of Historic Places, "Historic Name", "Town", "County", "State", "Reference Number".

Have Questions?

If you didn't find the National Register listing you were looking for or have other questions about the National Register, please email us and we can help: