Like many other communities during the early 20th century, the Finnish community was very concerned about the consumption of alcohol. Or at the very least, part of the Finnish community was concerned about the consumption of alcohol. For some Finns, “on the weekend it was not unusual to find a Finn, drunk, sleeping … on the (Newport) Common in in someone’s back yard.” Some Finns believed that it was necessary for there to be a temperance hall to combat the alcoholism of some of their Finnish neighbors.
The earliest attempt to set up a Temperance Hall in Newport was unsuccessful. During the early 1900’s, “In Newport on the first attempt, the women formed a sewing circle called Auttaja (helper) whose purpose was to give aid and direction to those trying to preserve the integrity of their families and, undoubtedly, to counsel the men on the evils of drinking.” Ultimately, this organization did not succeed in getting many Finns to quit drinking so, “On June 9, 1907, Pastor Juhana Lillbeck, and Uljas Aronen came to help organize a Newport chapter of the Temperance Society (Raittiusseura). These men succeeded in forming a temperance society, but did not have a permanent location in which to meet. The Temperance Hall predates the Finnish Hall, so during the 1900’s decade there was no hall for the Finns to meet.
It shows what the Temperance Hall looks like today, as it was not torn down like the Finnish Socialist Hall. This photo was taken by Patrick Driscoll on Sept. 29th, 2017.
In 1910 the Temperance Hall was completed. This purpose of the hall was to, “furnish a meeting place for dances and uplifting programs without the benefit of alcohol.” However, in the end, the Temperance Society ended up not outlasting the Finnish Socialist Hall nor the Communist Hall. This happened because, “Judging from old stories, Newport’s temperance society members were not all temperate. Some later became heavy drinkers.” The Temperance Society closed its doors and the Communists would take over the Temperance Hall, and thus the hall became the Communist Hall. The building is still standing today. Today the former Temperance Hall is a gift shop known as Zuzu’s.
This photo shows the woodwork used in the cellar of the former Temperance Hall. This photo was taken by Patrick Driscoll on Sept. 29th, 2017.
This picture shows some beautiful glasswork in the former Temperance Hall. It is not clear based on the research for this project if the Finns, or someone else added this. This photo was taken by Patrick Driscoll on Sept. 29th, 2017.
This photo shows the balcony that was built inside of the Temperance Hall. This photo was taken by Patrick Driscoll on Sept. 29th, 2017.
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