McKinnon, Georgia

This was the old McKinnon School. A sign above a side door reads “Wayne Produce Association”, which was a cooperative related to the Finnish settlers who made McKinnon their home just after World War I. It was also J. A. Jansen’s Grocery for a time.

The idea of a group of people from near the Arctic Circle coming to the heat of Southeast Georgia was certainly a radical one, but it happened in Wayne County. In 1921, a group of Finns in New York came here to to set up a farming community on land they had purchased through the Southeast Georgia Land Company. They named it the Fairfield Cooperative Association and planned on using the name Fairfield for the community. But as there was already a Fairfield in Georgia, post office officials required a name change. Settlers chose McKinnon, for the abandoned sawmill about a mile down the road which had been the site of an earlier post office. It was p0pularly known as Finn Town, though. The community thinned over the years but persisted throughout much of the 20th century.

Ernest Larson’s McKinnon website provides fascinating insight to the curious history of this Finnish settlement with the Scottish name.

Signs on the dirt streets of McKinnon are indicators of its Finnish origin.


10 thoughts on “McKinnon, Georgia

  1. Brian Rowland

    My dad is form Waynesville in the 1930’s, he told me that when he was a little boy he remembers people telling him there was a community of Finnish people up the road (not sure he knew exactly what that meant). I have traveled somewhere in southeast Georgia and seen a community sign that read “Suomi” – anybody know anything about that?

    1. Wanda Dopson

      Brian Rowland, the community of “Suomi” is located in Dodge County. Just south of Chauncey Ga on Hwy 341.

  2. Haroldi Kosola

    I have been to McKinnon several times in past years, and it takes me back to my family when they came to the U.S. many, many years ago.

  3. Charles

    Thanks for the pics and website. I use to live down the first street as you came into McKinnon from Jesup, right across the street from a house owned by the Saari’s who taught my mom to make Nissu. Its great to see the town i grew up.

      1. Ernest Larson

        Thank you for adding the link . I have also added a link to your website. If you would change text on your website to say the building was used as a schoolhouse, not the community hall I would appreciate it.
        Ernie Larson

  4. Edna Williamson

    If I remember correctly the Finnish people that settled Mckinnon used the building as a multi-purpose facility. When they came they built saunas and tried to live as much as they could like they did in Finland. I know someone whose family lived in McKinnon and i will ask him to contact you if he knows more.
    Thanks for the memories.
    Edna Williamson

    1. drtrd Post author

      Thanks, Edna. I’ve been wondering forever about the Finnish names of the “streets” in McKinnon. I’d love to know more.

      1. Tom Salmi

        The street names were created to keep a Finnish identity there. Sauna Street is named for the community sauna that was located there. Finland Street is obvious. However Sisu Street is from a Finnish word , sisu, which
        means inner strength, perseverance, “stick to it -ness”, intestinal fortitude. Kallio Street was named to honor the oldest,longest living [102] resident Matt Kallio, who lived on that street

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