Virginia Coop Credit Union was established on July 21, 1937 to promote thrift among its members and to create a source of credit for them at legitimate rates of interest. Eight original members each purchased a $5.00 share in the Credit Union, which is still our share price today. Membership is composed of those who are members and employees of cooperatives located in Virginia, MN, and employees of the Credit Union.
The Credit Union moved into its current building in the mid 1980's. VCCU changed its bylaws in 1997 to include members of Lake Country Power, a member owned utility. Our original building was located where our drive-up is now. VCCU incorporated Vermillion Financial Services in 1999 to provide our members with financial and insurance services.
The Credit Union is member owned and holds a membership meeting every spring. The members nominate and vote on for the board of directors, which help direct the credit union in its decision making processes.
The goal of VCCU is to keep our money local. We are one of the few financial institutions in town where loan decisions are made locally. The money deposited by our members goes to help other members finance cars, trucks, motorcycles, home repairs, and other purchases which primarily occur at area businesses.
Virginia Coop Credit Union is located in a very historic building. We decided to use the rich history of the building as a cornerstone of developing our new website. Our home page is a view from the stage looking out towards the auditorium. Many other historic pictures are also featured on our site.
The Virginia Finnish Socialist Opera House was completed in 1913 by an organization calling itself the Finnish Men’s Working Association. The 800 seat opera house was completed for more than $40,000, quite a sum in its time.
The first performance was held Saturday, April 5, 1913, a vocal concert with Choir Director Jukka Makirinne conducting. Box seats for the event sold for $25, where general admission in the future was typically $0.25. The second dedication evening was the first play performed - Goethe’s “Clavigo" - translated from German to Finnish.
The opera house was once a Iron Range entertainment and social center. It housed operas, plays, gymnastic performances, labor rallies, and an occasional school graduation. The asbestos stage curtain contained a vivid painting of nine men on a raft battling an angry sea. The stage had a built-in water tank to simulate rivers and lakes that often appeared in Finnish productions. Live horses occasionally appeared on stage. The original building contained a dining area, kitchen, auditorium, stage, library, band hall, dressing room, and janitor’s apartment. During the miner’s strike of 1916, the opera hall served as central headquarters for the International Workers Union of the World.
The building was sold to the Coop Federation in 1938 as the auditorium was expensive to heat and maintain. The building was remodeled and offices were made on the first floor. A creamery, cheese, and sausage factory were in operation in the basement from 1942 to 1947.
In 1955 the building was sold to the Carpenter’s Union, its current owner. The second floor currently holds the union offices, on the third floor is the Union Hall, and the fourth floor still has a janitor’s apartment.
Special Thanks to the Virginia Historical Society for the pictures appearing on the website, and to the Mesabi Daily news for the articles used to produce this history of our building.