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Telegram from 1913 says Big Louie, a UP legend, was very big

Graham Jaehnig
Daily Mining Gazette

HANCOCK, MI (AP)--   Big Louie was, indeed, a big man.

The archive at Finlandia University in Hancock has been given a document that appears to settle the height of a legendary man, Louis Moilanen.

Moilanen, known as "Big Louie," died in 1913. The grandson of the founder of Crawford Funeral Home discovered a telegram that says Moilanen's casket was 8 feet 3 inches long.

Don Crawford tells The Mining Gazette it was the measurement of the inside of the casket. He says it means that Moilanen was 8 feet 3 inches tall. Moilanen's height led to a job with a circus.

Dana Richter says some people reported Big Louie to be as tall as 8 feet 8 inches. Richter led the campaign to create the Big Louie monument at the Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock.