Jämsä village Toholampi


Sepäntalo (the blacksmith´s house), once called “a grand house”, is still located at Karjapuro brook in the village of Jämsä. A birch alley led to the courtyard area which – in addition to the solid, high main building from 1877 – featured a sawmill, a smithy and other outbuildings. Even 600 timber trunks were needed to build the main building, which was then coated with wide, hand-planed vertical boards and painted yellow. The large multipurpose kitchen-living room was spacious and light and its walls were lined with smoothed boards, which was rare in those days. The walls of the other rooms were also lined. In the early days, the fireplace in the corner of the kitchen-living room was so big that several men could sleep on it.


Four brothers known as energetic professionals and entrepreneurs lived in the house. The second youngest of the brothers, Sakri Järvenoja (1835–1885), was a renowned blacksmith. The guns he made were sold throughout Finland. They were sought after especially among sealers. In addition, Sakri repaired guns and forged nails that were used in, for example, building the church of Toholampi.


Even the drying barn of Sepäntalo reflects the wealth of the house: it was unusually high with two beams on top of each other. The windmill was also high compared with the simple post mills typical of the region. The frame saw was powered by the windmill. In around 1870, the innovative brothers built a frame saw at the brook near their house, harnessing waterpower for this saw. At this time, the brothers were already actively involved in trade. Later on, they started to use wind-power again at the sawmill and finally purchased a locomobile to be used as a power unit. Juho Järvenoja was principally in charge of the sawmill operations. Boards and planks were transported with the brothers’ horses from the sawmill to Himanka and shipped from there further to world markets. It is said that the Järvenoja brothers kept precise – but not too strict – order in their house. Maids and farmhands enjoyed working there because the conditions were relatively good particularly for hard-working servants.