Here is where you will find news articles relating to the school (in the Press Releases Section), along with letters and e-mail that have been written to those involved with its restoration (in the Letters & E-Mail Section).



St. Louis County joined thousands of individuals around the country as part of a nationwide celebration of National Preservation Month in May. “This Place Matters" is the theme of an annual celebration, which is sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Since the National Trust created Preservation Week in 1971 to spotlight grassroots preservation efforts in America, it has grown into an annual celebration observed by small towns and big cities with events ranging from architectural and historic tours and award ceremonies, to fundraising events, educational programs and heritage travel opportunities.  The first official Preservation Month was observed in 2005.

Here inthe upper Range cities Preservation Month 2009 was observed by events at Alango School (Angora).  Alango School was constructed in two phases, between 1926-1927 and 1937-1938, from designs by Elwin H. Berg (also architect of record for the Virginia City Hall) and Paul S. Damberg.  The later phase was constructed by WPA (Works Progress Administration) coordination.  The school taught children from the surrounding township from 1927 to the late 1980's. It is an educational and cultural landmark of the area, and it is a little-known gem in the National Register of Historic Places that is important to our understanding and appreciation of past generations as well as who we are today.

For more information, visit the Trust’s web site at


The sun was shining and the temperature was optimum for front yard work at the school. A gentleman approached from behind as volunteers worked at salvaging the stops containing the panes of glass in the main entrance door. He was Karl Hagglund, third-generation to the original Hagglund homesteader of early 1900. His grandfather originally owned the land where Alango School was eventually built, one fact of many gleaned from the property’s abstract.

After introductions, talk meandered to things like the weather, the school, the future, and the bus. Wait – what bus? Karl said he knew of a bus. Along strolls Ronald Maki, Class of ‘57, who affirms a previous introduction with Karl made weeks earlier. The small-talk came back to the bus. Karl offered to show his bus.

Arriving at the non-descript building, imagine the surprise when eyeballing the Hagglund’s 1950 Ford Model F-5 school bus, complete. Yes, complete, as it was parked in 1961. Karl was humble: “It could use a wash and a look at the engine.” Maki, along with numerous advisors and consultants (some of them Alango alumni), is completing the re-build of the flathead V8.

Karl’s grandfather, Karl Hugo Hagglund, pioneered the area bus route for School No. 45 in St. Louis County some time before 1927. Eventually, Karl Hugo passed his route along to his son Karl Harry, Karl Hagglund’s dad. Through rain, snow, sleet, hail, and wind (amongst other meteorological phenomenon), “Harry” drove until 1961 when he passed away. The family parked the school bus for the last time.

Karl Hagglund, his brother Kenneth Harry, and sisters Eileen, Karen, and Martha, have recently donated the school bus to the Alango School Project. In so many ways this one kind gesture has sent life into this effort, more than they may ever know. Their gift is a wonderful tribute to the legacy of a very generous and caring family.

1950 Ford school bus with Ron Maki x57

Remember these?

The bus makes its return to the curb as it did so often during the 50's and 60's.

Finlandia Foundation funds further Finnishness

Finlandia Foundation Article - December 2007

Finlandia Foundation Article - December 2007
(Large file, please be patient while downloading)


From: Jacque Johnson
Sent: Monday, August 11, 2008 2:44 PM
To: Dan Maki

I love the Alango school website-- lots of memories there too. Like when Pam Nori and I climbed through the heating ducts from the girls locker room in the basement, by the lunchroom, up to the library. We would have only been about 9 or 10 yrs old.

Jacque Johnson

From: Brad Erickson
Sent: Tue, 20 May 2008 11:52 pm
Subject: Alango Connection

Hi Mr. Maki...or Dan, if I may be so bold..

I am finally getting around to email you and send a personal thank you for the investment of time, money, and sweat you and your family has put into restoring the Alango School.

As a former student, and a child of two Alango graduates, I appreciate your efforts to ensure this landmark endures. Although our numbers are small, those of us who traveled through those hallowed halls (well, hallowed hall to be accurate) and spent some or all of our academic formative years in those few classrooms, hold special memories of that place.

I do not recall that we have ever met, but I am guessing your parents knew my parents. My dad, Lester Erickson, graduated in 1955 and is in the class reunion photo on your website. My mom, Elayne Kantoniemi, would have been a cheerleader at the same time as your mom....but one year ahead of her in school (if I remember correctly).

My great-grandparents, Andrew and Josephina Pihlaja, homesteaded at the end of the road where Hagglund's live. My dad and his brothers grew up in Bear River, but later two of them lived in the two houses just east of that road on #22 (the one across from the gravel pit, the other at the intersection with #25). I grew up in the house just east of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, where my dad and stepmom still live.

I went to Alango through the sixth grade and then, after a couple of years in Illinois, I went to the "big" school in Cook.

You have probably heard of me in your researching the Alango School in that I was involved in what had to be the most memorable event ever at the school.....the winning of the 1969 State Bus Patrol of the Year award. As President (or Captain, or Pack Leader, or whatever title had been bestowed upon me at the time to denote the ultimate leadership role I assumed) of the Bus Patrol, I was personally awarded a plaque by Governor Harold Lavander (Or Arnold Halevander,.....all I know is it was before Jesse Ventura). For years a picture of the award-winning patrol team receiving congratulations from St. Louis County Sherrif Sertich (yours truly again prominently featured) hung on the bulletin board just down the stairs from the gym. I know it was there for many years as I always made sure to point it out to my dates before I was married, and boy were they always impressed.

I know this remains the pinnacle of my life and subsequent career, and I imagine the legend lives on among all Alango alumni!!

Anyway, I won't bore you with my amazing performance as the conductor of the Alango Elementary Band but suffice to say many assumed I would be following in Leonard Bernstein's footsteps.

In addition to the Alango connection, we now also have a Madison connection, as our daughter just finished her second year at UW (we were just down there this past weekend moving her from the dorm to an apartment and it jogged my memory that I have been intending to email you).

So, again, sorry for babbling, but just wanted to take a moment and introduce myself and to send sincere thanks for restoring the Alango School, a place near and dear to my heart.

Blessings to you and your family!

Brad Erickson
Medford, WI

From: Tammy Schirmer
Sent: Mon, 18 Feb 2008 11:18 pm
Subject: Alango School

Hi Dan,

I actually came across the Alango School website by accident, but
found it to be SO amazing! I was enrolled there in 1980 as a
kindergartner, and moved from Bear River in 1986. I went to Alango
until 4th grade and never had the opportunity to go back, except
the occasional drive-by when I was up north. My family's name is
Schirmer, and I also have 2 older brothers that went there. My
parents where active in the small community in those days, and I
have a lot of great memories from there. When looking at the
pictures, I could actually smell what it smelt like inside the
school, and looking at the photos of the gym, classrooms, and
hallways, I could totally remember what it looked like-a memory
that was so long lost. I remember the smell on cold winter
mornings, after a long bus ride to school, going into the lunchroom
and getting Mrs. Hill's homemade Cinnamon rolls. And the desks! I
actually wrote a paper about being raised in a country house school
for college.

I have random photos from the early 1980's, and photos of Christmas
programs that were held at the school, and class photos. I did not
see any photos from this time period on your website, and not sure
if you are even interested in such a recent history. I would love
to share these with you, if you are.

Thanks so much for taking care of something that meant a lot to so
many people!

Tammy (Schirmer) Mouhanna
Roseville, MN.

From: Jasan Schirmer
Sent: Mon, 18 Feb 2008 11:55 pm
Subject: Alango School

My sister sent me the link to the website. It is pretty cool. I
went to Alango School from 1977- 1983.
I have a lot of fond memories from that place. I will check and
see if I have some old pictures etc... form there. One of my
favorite stories was about 2nd grade. We were served homemade
breakfast at school there. I cant remember the cooks name but she
was this really nice little old lady. It was me, Jesse Schofield
and Chris Hadac? We sat down in the lunchroom eating breakfast
until about 10am before anyone realized we were not in class. I
remmebr eating about 5 cinnamin rolls. it was good stuff.

Also- the first day of kindergarten Jesse and I showed up a day
early and since it was such a far drive to school we hung out with
the teacher all day as she got ready for the first day of school.

I remember Mrs Colhase?, Ms. Mannes? I also rememer we had a
baseball team- The Alango A's. I woder if I have any old pictures
with the jerseys on.

Too funny.

Jasan Schirmer
Mayer, MN

Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2008 18:38:19 -0800
From: Richard M Rollo
Subject: Congratulations


It looks like you've done a great job of restoring Alango School. My
mother, Lillian Rollo, taught elementary school grades there in the
years 1952-54. I'm not sure exactly, I was too young to go to school.
We lived at that time in Britt where my Dad was the DW&P depot agent.
My mother did an early version of car pooling or ride sharing with Hilda
Kuikas, who also lived in Britt. I remember I once rode with them in my
mother's 49 Cadillac to the Christmas play when I was 4.
I visited Alango with my Dad after my Mom's funeral in 1997. I can see
from the pictures that it looks much better. I hope I can visit the
school again perhaps this year.

Richard Rollo

From: Sarazine Michael Civ 502 ACSS/GFIC
Subject: School Fight Song
Date: Wed, 7 Mar 2007 11:03:38 -0700

Being late Feb/early Mar, I was reminiscing about the excitement of the high school hockey tournaments. One of the highlights of those thoughts was remembering the "Dirty Dozen" from Int'l Falls H.S. playing their version of "On Wisconsin". This then led me to try to recall other 'fight songs'. I can't recall, today, what the music was for the Cook H.S. song, nor can I recall ANY of the words. However, I vaguely remember that the Alango fight song was to the Notre Dame music. Correct? And in part said, "for the Red and the White 45". Does anyone know who or whom is credited with writing the lyrics for the school song?


From: Desneige Emmons
Sent: December 12, 2006
Subject: Memories

I have really been enjoying the Alango School website. I attended Alango from kindergarten through sixth grade (1975-1981) and have so many great memories! One of my favorites is the memory of Mrs. Hill, the cook. She walked to work every day and the smell of her fresh-baked bread would distract us terribly when we were getting close to lunch time. She made a wonderful rice pudding. She was very caring and sometimes she would notice that someone was not eating very much. Then she would go over to that student, pick up their spoon with some food on it, and say "Down the hatch!"

The annual Halloween party was always a good time. I remember the "haunted house" which was held on the stage. Mr. Mariucci, principal and 5th/6th grade teacher, always played a starring role-he loved to get dressed up in a scary outfit and act. There had to be dry ice involved, of course, as well as a strobe light.

I remember going sledding on the hill behind the school, learning to square dance in the gym, and loving to listen to Miss Mannes read aloud from the "Ramona Quimby" books.

-Desneige Emmons
St. Paul, MN

From: Harry Lamppa
Sent: Thu, 1 Jun 2006 08:43:52 -0500
Subject: Alango School

Great web page-

This morning's Mesabi Daily News carried an article on the Alango school meeting for tonight. It mentions that the 1937-1938 phase was built with WPA coordination. Actually, most of the county schools built or improved during Superintendent Lampe's years used PWA funds while WPA fund were used for landscaping etc. The Embarrass School, the Orr School and the Cotton addition were PWA projects as was the Virginia Municipal Hospital. In 1938, PWA funds paid 55% of the project cost and the governmental unit paid 45%. WPA paid all labor costs, but the governmental unit supplied all materials and equipment used.

The following is paraphrased from the Range Facts of 9/22/1938:

Plans have been made for the dedication of the new Alango school addition designed by Architect Paul S Damberg on Friday September 23. County superintendent Arthur Lampe will preside with talks by Stuart Murray, chairman of the county board; W C Sargent, county board treasurer; Alvin Hall, Alango General Organization president; Andrew Roine; and Ralph Walo, principal. The addition was built by the county with the help of the PWA (Public Works Administration) under the direction of Albert Snell general foreman. The addition includes a modern gym and auditorium, shower rooms, home economic room and science laboratory. The orginal grant was for $38,000, but supplement and landscaping brought the total to $80,000. State WPA administrator R C Jacobson will speak as will WPA district director A T Gilbertson and Congressman John T Bernard. The Chisholm high school orchestra will provide music and Chisholm's school board, ci! ty council, chamber of commerce and other civic bodies will send representatives. Public officials and civic leaders throughout the area have been invited.

Harry Lamppa

From: Leon C. Johnson
Sent: Tue, 25 Apr 2006 17:18:41 -0500
Subject: Alango school restoration

Hi Dan,
Just a quick note of memories past regarding the old school. My grandparents on both side of the family (Alfred and Jenny Johnson) (Selma and Nestor Kutsi) homesteaded in Alango back in the early 1900's, so most all of my aunts and uncles and parents and numerous cousins attended Alango School. My aunt, Marion Johnson, was a former teacher, as her daughter, Pat Eilola, was a graduate. My sister, Dee Folmer, taught Headstart there for a number of years.

My father, Walter Johnson, drove school bus back in the 1930's for both Alango and Cook. As a matter of fact, his old homestead was on East Gustafson Rd near where your dad grew up. I recall your grandfather, Edwin and his wife Analissa, and your great grandfather, Taylor Maki, as my father and I would visit them many years ago.

Both of my brothers, Gene and Don, also attended Alango. I remember attending a few of the basketball games as I had a few cousins who played, such as Pete and Kelly Hakala and Wes Kutsi. I fondly remember the old baseball field on the corner where we occasionally would play during the summer.

The school has such a wonderful history, so it is truly an awesome thing you are doing in restoring it, particularly trying to preserve much of the great old architecture.

I will look through some of our old family archives to see if we have any pictures or other memorabilia to donate. I may even be able to donate some labor if needed, as our hunting property is now on the old Bromps farm located due north of the school. Let me know if I can be of help.

Thank you for all your efforts on this monumental program of yours. The website is a truly grand way to gather memories and information. Keep it up!

Leon C. Johnson

From: Abigail.Blyckert
Sent: Sat, 22 Apr 2006
Subject: Alango School...

Hello Mr. Maki!
I am so happy that you have a site up for the Alango School!
It is really amazing to see how nice the school still looks after so many years!
My name is Abby Blyckert, and I went to kindergarten at Alango in 1987/1988. The next year, it closed. (bummer!)
I was just reading some information and you said that after the late 1970s only early childhood was taught at Alango.
However, I recall that the grades went up through at least the 4th grade by the year the school closed.
I don't remember much about the school, since I was only 5... But I remember my teacher's name was Mrs. Carlson, and we only had about 14 kids in the class. I do have a picture of the whole school and faculty from 1988. Let me know if you need me to dust off the scanner send you the picture...
Keep up the great work!

From: Josh and Melissa Wallestad
Sent: Sat, 22 Apr 2006
Subject: Memories of Alango


I had read a while back about the restoration project that is going on at the Alango school on the website. Today, I checked out the link for the school's new web page, and I wanted to write and say thank you for doing this work.

I attended the Alango school as a second grader in it's last year of operation (1988). I will have to look at my folks' house the next time I'm "Up North" to see if I can find any of the photographs we took that year. I know that we have one with all of the students and staff as it was a melancholy spring with the inevitable closing of our school's doors.

I remember my few years in Alango with fondness. My grandma, Evelyn Sandberg, was a custodian at the school, and it was always fun to help her raise or lower the flag before and after school. My cousins from Bear River also attended the school with my sister and I, and we had so much fun playing in the gym and on the playground with all of our friends each day. All of the students in Alango were like one big family.

Moving to the big school in Cook was a scary proposition for us, but we stuck together as the "Alango Kids" throughout our days there. Throughout my elementary school years in Cook, I often heard teachers remark about how there was just something different about the Alango students. We had been taught the values of a small community and the manners that went along with them. We respected our teachers and each other, and I am thankful to have gotten my educational start in such a place. To think that you have taken on this monumental and important task thrills me. I'd love to see the school when you have it finished, and I will try to get my hands on some photos from the school's later years for you.

Keep up the great work,

Melissa (Flack) Wallestad
Kandiyohi, MN

Sent: Fri, 21 Apr 2006
Subject: Alango memories

Dan, I just got the link from my brother and read the whole thing. My dad has told me about your project and I have to commend you on the undertaking. I am very happy to see someone like yourself taking care of the property and bringing back the history. I spent up til 5th grade at the school and my little brother also attended although not as long. I remember walking to school through the woods, just as my father and aunts and uncle had done before me. I have some paper clippings I could share with you if you would like of a article that was done in the Mesaba Daily when I was in kintergarten. I could get copies and give them to dad to give to you if your interested. I may be back up in 2 weeks or so and could dig them up. Anyway, good luck with the project.

Karl Hagglund Jr.

March 2006

I just want to say what you are doing to the school is great. Ever since the school closed I was hoping it would still be used for something as it is a great place to be. I am Kelly Nukala Brodeen daughter of LeRoy and Mary Ann Nukala. My dad went to the Alango school. I went to school in Alango from Kindergarten to the sixth grade (1981). The elementary was still going on in the 80's. I would say for sure in 1985 even, as I would go back to watch the Christmas programs every year after having to go to Cook School for seventh grade. I loved my years at the Alango school. We were the best fed kids with Mrs. Hills cooking. Everything was home made and was delicious. We had the greatest time on scooters in the gym. I am looking forward to Margaret and Dale Rinnes program for our kids to be able to use the gym for basketball and volleyball. Our school is short on gym space and our kids dont always get to practice for their games. My ! girls are looking forward to seeing the school their mom went to as a little girl. I remember my dad having a basketball uniform from Alango. I will see if my mom still has it and would give it to the school.I cant wait to see the school again and would be glad to help in any way i can.

Thanks for bringing my old school back to life.


Kelly Brodeen


How good to hear from you. I heard someone had purchased the school, and my hopes have been that the memories will be preserved. I spent nine years as a student there, and treasure every minute of time spent there. I hope someone else recalls the buried time capsule -- as I remember,l we buried it in the grassy area behind the school just off the pavement.

We lived in the teacher's cottage behind the school for a few years after my folks (Eino and Marth Sikkila) sold their dairy farm. It was 1965, and I was bussed off to Cook, a traumatic experience for me. The kids in Cook didn't seem impressed by the busload of "country bumpkins" invading their school (at first at least).

I will definitely keep you in the loop should I hear from some of my old classmates. Otherwise, I may just grab my own pick and shovel and drop by to do some digging. I bought my husband a metal detector as a retirement gift, so we should be well outfitted for our adventure.


Arlene Tervakoski

Lantana, Florida (and Mt. Iron after the snow melts up there )

From: "John I Branstrom"
To: "Don Simonson"
Subject: Alango School
Date: Friday, May 13, 2005

It was interesting to hear about the Alango school. When I was in high school and college, I worked a couple weeks for the county schools. I had an uncle that worked there in maintenance, so was able to get in. You could only work two weeks, I guess to allow many kids to get the opportunity. Each summer, I hoped I wouldn't have to work there, meaning I hoped I would have a full summer job. Each summer I ended up putting in my two weeks. I think I got to know most of the schools in the system and can remember that I did this here and that there.

One summer they changed the furnace at the Alango school from using the big coal chunks. The coal bin was full of these chunks. Several of us had to shovel the coal out of the little window and carry it over to, I imagine it was the house behind the school. The furnace there had yet to be converted. They thought it would take us a whole week to do the job. On Wednesday afternoon, as we were getting finished, the boss told us to bring our swim suits the next day. When we finished he took us over to Arrowhead Lake to swim and get rid of the coal dust.

I also remember the football field at the corner along Highway 22, that Warren Edblom played football there. Now when I go by, It's hard to imagine there was enough room for a football field, even a nine man field.

John Branstrom

Date: Friday, May 06, 2005 11:03 AM
Subject: a picture for you

Hello Don, My cousin Leone just sent me the write-up you had put in about the Alango School, and I am happy to hear that someone is going to do a makeover on it. Just to see the picture of the school, of course it brings back so many memories. I don't get back to the North Country as often as I'd like, and do enjoy the news that comes over the net, the newspapers, and of course Erland and Joyce. This picture I am sending is just a view of some of the beautiful nature we watch from our patio. You see 'Mr. Fox' is stalking the geese and ducks in the river. He never did get brave enough to get one, and thought it best to just sit and watch them! Thank you again for your news input.

Sincerely, Hazel Fletcher

Hazel was a 1955 graduate of the Alango School.

Mr. Fox stalking the geese.

Date: Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Hi Don, I just learned about the restoration of the Alango School on your website.  I did notice that someone was fixing up the house behind the school but wasn't aware that they were also restoring the school.  That's so awesome!  It was so desolate there for awhile.  It was sad to drive by and see it so lifeless.  Many people in Angora are going to be very happy.   They do have their work cut out for them.  The last time I was in the building (in 2001) the plumbing and heating system were in rough shape.  The walls were cracking.  My son, Justin, lived in the house behind the school for awhile.  It's a cute home with wood floors.  Lots of work needed there too.

I would love to go through the buildings again after they have been restored.  I have many good memories of the building as well as the big oak tree that is in front of the school.   A friend of mine got married under that tree.  The Northwoods Word of Life church had services there from the early 90's - 2003.  The Pastors lived in the house behind the school and also in the upper level of the school.  A Pastor from Mpls had owned it for a few years and had meetings there.  

Justin works with Mike Koskovich during the summer months and he just found out that they will be doing all the landscaping there.  He's looking forward to it.  I'm sure the emotions will be stirred up a little as he's working there.  He has a lot good memories of that place. 

There were basketball photos, trophies and a school jersey in the display case by the door the last time I was there.  I'm sure they are still there.  The former owners made sure they left them intact because they were part of the history of the building.  They are pictures from back when LeRoy Nukala attended school there.  (Justin's grandfather)

I have driven by the school many times and wondered what would become of that big beautiful building.  I'm looking forward to watching it come back to life again. Keep us posted.   THANKS!  : )   Jean