Sunday, February 03, 2008

Sunnemo - a place in Värmland

Sunnemo is a charming small place in the deep forests of Värmland. To get there, you drive E18 from Vinterbro, south of Oslo, towards Karlstad located by the large lake Vänern. At Karlstad take R63 north towards Molkom, then take R240 direction Hagfors. Värmland is serious wilderness, where both wolves and lynx roam the deep forests for prey. I was so lucky to stay there - very different from Copenhagen.

Sunnemo - past and present

Sunnemo has a long history. As far back as 1428, there was at least one settlement here. From 1640 to 1887, this was a small industrial community centered around a small iron work founded by Johan Börjesson, the mayor of Karlstad. There are still a few very interesting sights left from this distant part of its past.

During the 19th century a large part of the population in the Sunnemo area emigrated to the United States. In 1869 around 14 of them followed the priest Olaf Olsson to the prairies of Kansas where they founded the city of Lindsborg.

Today Sunnemo has a population of a few hundred souls. Still you have a primary school, a small supermarket, and a lovely church.

Terjes father gave us a small view of the history of Sunnemo during our Sunday walk along the the small river that once powered the old iron works.

Along the river

As we left the house of the Sletner family, we walked down a steep hill, and came down on the river bank. It was a cold morning, lightened by a cool winter sun.

Along the bank of the river there used to be several buildings processing iron as well as wood products using the power of the river waters. You could see the foundations of these buildings, and some had been rebuilt to tell the story of an old industrial community.


The small open building on the right used to be a "Spånhyvel", a place that processed "spån", small wooden chips to cover roofs and walls. Originally it was located further down the river, was then moved and operated on a sawmill on a second location.

As the old sawmill was torn down, it was presented as a gift to the locals and rebuilt on its present location in 1984.

Hyttruinen (1640)

Further up the river we found this massive building - called Hyttruinen. This is the remains of the original iron works going as far back as 1640. From here they processed iron from the miners at Nordmark. Up to 170 people worked here.

Today this is the only part of the iron works still standing.

Gubbkroken (1732)

Gubbkroken is built in 1732, in the middle of Sunnemos industrial era. In the beginning this building was used to house the workers, and was later used as a resting place for the people transporting iron ore from the mines to the processing plant at Sunnemo.

The building is today owned and run by a local foundation, Sunnemo Hembygdsförening. It house many old artifacts from the Sunnemo history. There are also a storage building, and a home bakery where you can buy good local bread.

Sunnemo Kyrka - Memorial plaque (1965)

This beautiful memorial plaque commemorating the old Sunnemo church, is molded at nearby Hagfors Iron works in 1965.

It tells the story of the iron work, founded by Johan Börjesson and the families of Schröder and Kolthoff.

Sunnemo Church (1653)

If you come to Sunnemo, you have to visit Sunnemo old church. It was built during the period when Johan Börjesson built up the iron works at Sunnemo.

The tower was built in 1677 and an addition was built in 1776, and removed during a restoration in 1934.

Two beautiful iron gates were molded at Sunnemo in 1853 and 1864.

No comments: