John Hauli's Lasting Legacy

Summer nights at Hauli HuvilaHow did Hauli Huvila come to be the ultimate campground getaway for Finns? It all started back in the early 1940s when a Finnish gentleman by the name of John Hauli bought a little over half an acre of land right outside the city limits of Reedley, California right along the Kings River. Mr. Hauli settled down to plant grapes and turn them into raisins under the warm California sun.

This is how he got his nick name of Rusina-Jussi or Raisin-John.

What drew Mr. Hauli to Reedley? In the early 1900’s the lush San Joaquin Valley in Central California was heavily settled by Finns, so many that by the 1930s the area was known as New Finland. As he settled down and built his farm, he provided a stage to bring together the local Finnish community where sing-alongs, theatrical performances, and events that promoted worker rights could be held.

John Hauli

John Hauli

In 1956, John Hauli died at the age of 73. He had offered his place to Los Angeles Finns, however they felt it was too far away (over 300 miles), since at the time there were no interstate highways for easy access. Instead The Berkeley Finns took on the property and built a club house and a two-story building. They continued the tradition of using the property as a community for film screenings, political and entertainment events.

New Community Owners

Through the years things spiraled out of control and the property was not being properly cared for, so in the early 1990s, it was time for a change. A new generation of Finns from Los Angeles and San Francisco, a non-profit community Finnish organization, purchased Hauli Huvila for $25,000 dollars and they currently run the camp.

The new owners took the effort to improve the property and get the finances in order, they started to make it a better Finnish community for all Finns to visit and enjoy. The old original cabins were renovated new cabins that include basic amenities such as small kitchen space, toilets, and air conditioning.

All done through volunteer work by Finns who love to visit Hauli Huvila.

Mr. Hauli's letter

Mr. Hauli’s letter

The rest of the property has been maintained and improved including the campgrounds, sauna, and facilities. Today Hauli Huvila is an active campground that attracts and accommodates hundreds of Finns throughout the big Summer event and holiday weekends. It is managed and maintained by a team of volunteers to work to ensure the property stays true to Mr. Hauli’s original vision. In addition to the main team, many other members and guest volunteer their time to help keep Hauli Huvila the best Finnish camp in California.

Mr. Hauli’s Guidelines

Mr. Hauli left behind a letter of guidance and general rules for those who look over and care for the property. We do our best to honor the wishes of the late Mr. Hauli, here is the transcription of the original letter he left behind.

Note: the Finnish transcription is copied exactly from the letter, including any grammatical errors.  

  • Finnish

    Tahan yhteiseen lomailu ja Kulttuuri kotimme

    Mr. Hauli, lahjoittaessaen taman maapalan, toivoi tasta tulevan pysyvan muistomerkin, ei vain Mr. Haulille, mutta Suomalaista alkuperaa omaaville nuorille, seka heidan sukulaisilleen, yksityisina ja perheina. Tamanlisaksi heidan mukana saapuville kutsuvieraille.

    Tama paikka on rakennettu ja yllapidetaan yksityisilla seka joukkolahjoituksilla lansirannikon suomalaista alkuperaan omaavien jarjestyneitten tyolaisten toimesta ja paa asiallisesti VAPAALLA TYOLLA.

    Luonnollisesti suurin ja tarkein osa tuosta vapaasta tyosta jaa Reedleyn Tyomuurahaisille, mutta ei sovi myoskaan vaheksya sita uhrautuvaisuutta mita on tullut San Franciscon Lahtipiirin pojilta ja tytoilta yhteisten juhlien seka isompien rhennustouhujen yhteydessa. Luonnellisesti Los Angeles, kuten monet toisistakin ovat tehneet voitavansa matkojen pituudesta huolimatta.

    Yllasanotun perusteella toivomme etta jokainen kohdaltaan noudattaa allaolevia yhteisesti laadittuja turvallisuus ja siisteys ohjeita.

    1. Joen kaytto uintiin taytyy tapahtua asianomaisen omalla vastuulla.
    2. Lasten leikkiessa jokiranasa, niiden peraankatsojana tulee olla edesvastuullinen henkilo.
    3. Yleisen siisteyden turvaamiseksi kayttakaa sitavarten varattuja valineita roskapapereille, sailykekannuille, pulloille ja ruanjatteille.
    4. Autoilijoita pyydamme noudattamaan heita varten lasadittuja ohjeita.
    5. Valtettava tarpeetonta melua ja kova aanista ratioeden seka autojen torvien kayttoa, siienluettuna sopimaton kielenkaytto varsinkin lasten kuullen.
    6. Haalista ei pida vieda ulos tuolia ja kalustoa silla ne ie ole semmoista kaytoa varten tehty.

    Huomatkaa! Taloudenhoitaja toimii virallisesti valitun Toimeenpanevan komitean ja sen jasenista valitun paikallisen komitean johdolla. Valitukset ja asialliset esitykset mahdollisten puutteellisuuksien korjaamiseksi tehtava osotteella: Mieluumim Kiryeelisesti.

    Hauli Huvila Komitea
    17878 E. Manning Ave.

  • English

    To our mutual vacation and cultural home

    Mr. Hauli, with his donation of this land, wanted this to become a permanent memorial, not only to Mr. Hauli, but to the youth of Finnish origin, as well as their relatives, as individuals and families. In addition to invited guests coming with them.

    This place has been built and maintained with private and group donations, by workers belonging to Finnish organizations on the west coast and mostly by VOLUNTEER LABOR.

    Naturally, the largest and most important part of that volunteer work is left to the worker ants of Reedley, but the generosity of the San Francisco Bay area boys and girls in the context of mutual events and bigger construction projects should not be overlooked. Naturally, Los Angeles, like many others have done what they can despite the distance.

    According to the above, we hope that everyone adheres to the following jointly established safety and cleanliness instructions.

    1. Swimming in the river must take place at one’s own risk.
    2. Children playing by the river must be supervised by a responsible person.
    3. To ensure general cleanliness dispose of waste paper, cans, bottles and food scraps in the appropriate containers.
    4. We ask motorists to comply with the rules established for them.
    5. Avoid unnecessary noise and loud radios and car horns, including inappropriate language, especially when children are present.
    6. Chairs and equipment should not be taken outside from the meeting hall as they are not intended for such use.

    Notice! The caretaker operates under the authority of the Executive Committee and the local committee chosen by them. Complaints and appropriate suggestions to fix any deficiencies should be made to the following address: Preferably in writing.

    Hauli Huvila Committee
    17878 E. Manning Ave.

Learn more about John Hauli and the history of his lasting legacy of Hauli Huvila from Tomi Hinkkanen’s blog article at Finn Times.