The history of Hancock is so thoroughly meshed with copper, that without it, there would be no Hancock. Prior to 1840, Hancock was a sleepy village of perhaps 100 residents. However, explorations into the outlying hills revealed incredibly vast and pure copper deposits. Thousands of copper hungry prospectors swarmed into the area, many as far away as Italy, Sweden, Cornwall and most notably, from Finland. By the 1890's the copper rush was at a peak and Hancock truly was alive with activity. Into this colorful new era the Kaleva Cafe was born. However, the establishment at 234 Quincy then, was not quite as we know it today.
In 1891, Daniel T. Pearce opened a small saloon. The latest offered a warm retreat for hard working miners to gather over a welcomed spot of ale and to exchange tales. Eventually the business exchanged hands, becoming known as John's Saloon. The new owner proudly promised his guest the "best brands of wine and liquor always on hand".
Unfortunately, after the turn of the century, the copper began to diminish. As the mines closed, many of the miners moved to the new frontiers. John's Saloon felt the pinch. The sweeping Temperance movement dealt the final blow to the formerly bustling saloon activity.
In 1918, Henry Moilanen took over at 234 Quincy with the idea of opening a restaurant. However, he needed a name. A contest was held and the name "Kaleva" was chosen, a direct take-off from the "Kalevala" national Finnish epic poem. The newly named Kaleva Cafe quickly established a reputation for home-cooked meals. An ad in the local newspaper featured "All Home-Baking", "Fresh, Hot Pasties" and "The Finest Coffee in Hancock."
In May 2006, Frank and Sandra Beauchamp reopened the Kaleva Cafe after an extensive renovation. They strive to carry on the Kaleva tradition of good home-cooked food in a friendly atmosphere.