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Steam of Life

Premiere Date: August 2, 2011

'The Opposite of Cold: The Northwoods Finnish Sauna Tradition'

This savusauna, a simple structure built in 1868 near Cokato, Minnesota, is the oldest extant example of a Finnish immigrant sauna in North America.

Map of Northwoods - Google Map - inset

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Throughout the Northwoods — essentially the Lake Superior hinterland in Ontario and the northern counties of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota — dedicated bathhouses on a lakeshore, streamside, or a discreet distance from a farmhouse are very common. The typical structure is twenty feet long by about ten wide with a single entry, evenly divided into two rooms, with a chimney.

Text excerpts and photographs taken from The Opposite of Cold: The Northwoods Finnish Sauna Tradition by Michael Nordskog, photography by Aaron W. Hautala. Published by the University of Minnesota Press, 2010. Copyright 2010 by Michael Nordskog. Photographs copyright 2010 by Aaron W. Hautala. 
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