Näytä kotkacity.fi suuremmalla kartalla
Totta vai tarua?
Norwegian Loft Houses
Beside the Kotka Mills factory area are Norwegian gallery access houses, better known here in Finnish as “pytinkis”, representing charming Norwegian wooden house architecture.
These two-storey loft houses are unique in Finland. Norwegian sawmill owner Hans Gutzeit (1836-1919) had the Church house and the Masters’ house built in 1872. The former is nearer to the factory gate, the latter nearer to Sapokka.
When Norway’s own timber resources started running short in the 1860s, Finland became attractive to sawmill owners there. One of the pioneers was Hans Gutzeit, whose father had the first sawmill in Norway built in Fredrikstad in 1860.
In early 1872 Hans Gutzeit coaxed the first Norwegian tradesmen to Kotka to build a steam mill and the loft houses, which were given to workers to live in.
No time was wasted. Application for the sawmill was filed to the proper authorities in March 1872, and the sawmill was already opened in October of the same year. By the end of the year there were 42 Norwegian workers, and three years later already 90 Norwegian families, or about 130-140 people, lived there. This actually represented one sixth of the whole population of Kotka, which was about 800 people!
Notable families have lived in the “pytinkis”. For example, there is a mention in the sawmill rosters in 1872 of Adolf Olaus Jacobsen (1829-1882) and his son Julius Marenius Adolfsen (1855-1914), whose great-grandson, President Martti Ahtisaari was awarded the Nobel Prize for peace in 2008.
Oscar Larsen, who moved to Kotka with the first Norwegians, lived also there. His son William Larsen (1885-1935) signed on a ship just before World War I. He got off the ship in New York and made his living as a popular accordion player and a teacher of the instrument. In October 1928 William Larsen recorded on Columbia Records the classic Finnish accordion tune “Säkkijärven polkka” for the first time.
The local football legend Arto Tolsa did also spend his childhood in the shadow of the “pytinkis”.