In the midst of mills a factory rises

Johan Knutson’s painting of Rekolankoski from 1869. Finnish National Gallery, Central Art Archives. Photo by Janne Mäkinen.Johan Knutson's painting of Rekolankoski from 1869. Finnish National Gallery, Central Art Archives. Photo by Janne Mäkinen. For centuries, grey log-built mills adorned the banks of Jämsänkoski rapids central water system. The village scene was made up of low wooden buildings and a few larger farmsteads. The mills by the rapids were mostly on the banks of Hovilanhaara, formerly Jämsänkoski. In the mid-1800s there were two mills on the banks of the eastern branch, Patalankoski.

The main course of the rapids, in its natural state before the building of the sawmill, was shallow and rocky. The building of the sawmill in the 1790s was the first time the flow of the rapids was interfered with. Some of the water was diverted into the sawmill waterwheel through a wooden chute. The sawmill building was made of wood like the mills, but its size distinguished it from the other buildings. Conveyancing structures and storage areas typical of an industrial plant were also part of the sawmill. The sawmill manager's and workers' dwellings rose on the banks of the rapids.

The old pulp mill, Löllö mill and Isoratas mill around the middle of the 1890sAlong with the pulp mill, the number and size of the buildings in the rapids area increased. The buildings were still made of wood, only the factory boiler house and chimney were made of brick. The factory itself and its sections differed distinctly from the rustic style of building in the region. The factory’s various activities needed their own buildings: a smithy, a drying room, stores, and plants associated with the manufacture of cooking acid. The mills at the rapids also operated alongside the factory. Rural and industrial cultures shook hands for several decades; people lived and ground grain in the factory area until the beginning of the 1900s.

The log channel in the Raikko branch of Patalankoski rapids was probably there even in the days of the sawmill. A larger chute was built at Hovilanhaara for water diverted into the water turbine. Verstas pond, for dammed water, was formed above the factory. This dam then occasionally prevented the water flow to Lunkkuhaara mills as well. The industrial area with its transport routes started to take shape. Public traffic also went through the factory site. To the south were the Sahajauhomäki and Rautasilta bridges. To the north above the Hovilanhaara falls was the Lunkkusilta bridge.