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Encompassing a wide area divided between Stanton, Adams, and Bohemia townships, the unincorporated community of Toivola is in Houghton County, in the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

The main route through the community is M-26, which continues north to connect with US-41 at Houghton. and south to Rockland.

Cities and villages within fifty miles of Toivola include South Range, Houghton, Hancock, Lake Linden, Laurium, Calumet, Copper City, Ahmeek, Baraga, Ontonagon, and L'Anse, while the unincorporated communities of Donken, Champion Mine, Painesdale, Trimountain, Elm River, Twin Lakes, South Range, Baltic, Lake Roland, Winona, Atlantic Mine, Beacon Hill, and Freda are within fifteen miles.

Prior to the area being settled by European-Americans, local tradition is that a group of Ojibwe known as the Misery settled nearby, on the southern shores of Lake Superior in 1845, but it is uncertain whether the area was inhabited prior to that time. It can be assumed, however, that Native Americans came through the area.

The settlement began as a lumber camp in the mid-1800s, and a village was platted in 1894, although the settlement went without a name for several years. Those who came to work in the lumber camps struggled in the early years, as they were paid much less than woodsworkers in other areas.

In addition to the lumber camps, Finnish immigrants began to settle there to farm. At one time, there were more than sixty farms in the area.

The community wasn't named until 1901, when the Copper Range Railroad (COPR) came through, establishing a depot there. The original depot was later developed into a larger station. Owned by the Copper Range Company, the second-largest producer of copper in the Lake Superior District, the COPR operated until 1972.

Its name came from the Finnish settlers in the community, although its origins are in dispute. One is that this meant Vale of Hope in Finnish, although it is translated as Community of Hope on a sign erected by the Michigan Department of Highways commemorating the community's centennial in 1992. Another theory is that it was named Urhola by an early pastor, A.L. Heideman, which means Place of Heroes. There are some baptismal certificates of children born during this time that list the location as Urhola.

Perhaps it was originally named Urhola, and later changed to Toivola, a separate Finnish term, but it is also possible that the pronunciation and spelling of Urhola changed over the years, eventually becoming Toivola.

Another idea is that Toivola is interpreted as The Place of Toivo.

At its peak, Toivola supported thirteen small schools, including the Heikkinen Elementary School and the Misery Bay School. A post office was established on January 19, 1905, with Earl N. Drake as postmaster. He was succeeded by E.A. Lange the following year. The Toivola post office is still in operation.

In 1908, the temperance movement came to Toivola. Known as Toivola Soihtu (Toivola Torch), the temperance society was active until 1920, when Prohibition ended the need for it.

By then, the community's population had declined to just twenty-five people. Although its population was not enumerated by the US census, given that Toivola was not a census-designated place, its population soon began to grow again. The Toivola Apostolic Lutheran Church was founded in 1938, and it is estimated that there were about five hundred people in Toivola during the 1940s. Heikkinen Elementary School operated until 1999.

Attractions and events in Toivola include Juhannus, a traditional Finnish celebration of the Summer Solstice, which is often celebrated by a bonfire burned on the sands of Agate Beach, along with music, dancing, and food. The Misery Bay Road leads to Agate Beach. Additionally, the Agate Beach Acoustic Jamboree has featured local musicians since 1994.

An Artesian well producing cold, fresh water runs from a pipe near the old Misery Bay School on Misery Bay Road, and may be sampled by anyone who wants to.

The focal point of this portion of our guide is the Upper Peninsula community known as Toivola, Michigan. Online resources for local businesses, industries, schools, churches, organizations, attractions, events, entertainment venues, and recreational opportunities are appropriate content for this category.



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