Rekolankoski and other sawmills

Regulations restricting Finnish sawmill industry were lifted in 1861. In the same year, shopkeeper Arseni Terichoff set up a sawmill on the western shore of Yläkoski or Rekolankoski rapids. The sawmill was said to have been equipped with a wooden frame and wooden machinery. At the end of the 1870s, the sawmill employed around twenty people and the annual output was approx. 30,000 logs sawn. In the 1880s, the sawmill was let to property owner Severus Konkola. At the time of the upgrading work of Jämsänkoski sawmill, among the items he purchased from there for his leased sawmill were a log wagon and two saw frames. In 1889 Konkola bought the sawmill. The Rekolankoski sawmill was known in the locality as the Kitula sawmill. The sawmill remained operational until the turn of the century.

The Vitikkala sawmill and wood processing factory burned down in 1951.  Photo from Anna Salonen’s collection.The sawmills brought jobs for local peasant population and timber transportation provided additional income for horse owners. During open waterways, at best hundreds of men worked along the log-floating route. At the end of the 1870s, the Jämsänkoski sawmills employed about 170 people, among them women and children.

Other, smaller sawmills were also operating in the Jämsä area at the end of the 1800s and early 1900s. Of the sawmills outside the central cluster, the most important in the 1920s and 30s were the Jokelankoski sawmill in Partala and the Holisevankoski sawmill, which moved over from water-power to using steam. Of the village sawmills, Holisevankoski was the most successful. It was expanded by building a joinery factory and a planing mill. The sawmill employed 60 - 70 people at times, and generated a little industrial village in eastern Jämsä.

Riverside steam sawmills

The Jokivarsi dairy company in Jämsä, established in 1886, also operated a mill and sawmill. Their operations were continued by Jämsän Osuusmeijeri [Jämsä Co-operative Dairy], which from 1904 let the sawmill to various entrepreneurs. The sawmill was operational only a few weeks a year, and it was closed down as insolvent in 1927. The building was converted into a grain store. The sawmill was situated by Seppola bridge, on the site of the present old dairy house.

Severus Konkola also initiated the establishment of the Vitikkala sawmill by the riverside in Jämsä in 1888. A dairy and mill operated alongside the sawmill. The company was bought in 1918 by Joonas Vuolle-Apiala. The sawmill burned down the following year, but was immediately rebuilt. The Vitikkala sawmill produced e.g. school furniture and building materials, as well as various small items, such as shoe lasts. The sawmill was situated on the south side of the present Vitikkala bridge.

From 1928 the sawmill was run by Oy Jämsän Puunjalostustehdas, which went bankrupt in 1930. It was continued by Keravan Puuteollisuus Oy. The production plant burned down in 1951, but was rebuilt. In the fifties, the sawmill still provided jobs for 30 people at best. After the sawmill closed down, United Paper Mills Oy purchased the valuable site in 1961.

The Vitikkala sawmill in the early 1900s. Photo from Anna Salonen’s collection.
Rekolankoski sawmill and other sawmills
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