The first time Earl Alexander Wineck from Alaska came to Arpela village was in 1959. The English-speaking stranger caused confusion among the locals who did not understand his language. However, an elderly lady living in the village, Sofia Tallgren, had been working in the USA in the beginning of the 20th century and still knew some English. With her help Earl found a way to communicate with others. Sofia had not been speaking English for decades so younger generation was surprised of grandma’s language skills.

Sofia found out that Earl Alexander was the grandson of Kaisa Matilda Viinikka, née Halmkrona. Kaisa Matilda had moved to the USA from Arpela in the beginning of the century. Similarly, Earl´s father had been born in Arpela. The family name had been changed into Wineck as that was the immigration authorities way to spell Viinikka. The locals started to call Earl “Aleksanteri Viinikka”. Earl came back to Arpela in 1963. This time he stayed over winter and learned fluent Finnish. Later he visited the village almost every other year in the end of 60´s. The picture on the right was taken during his latest visit in Midsummer 2005.

During his travels Earl Alexander took pictures of local people and landscapes. He usually photographed ordinary life, people at work and playing children. The pictures have retained their colours extremely well.

On the following page are some of the pictures taken during Earl’s first two trips. Not all of the people have yet been recognized and the names may have mistakes. If you notice any misspelling or wish to comment please send e-mail to the following address: