Itäniemi crown croft

Itäniementie Lestijärvi


The Itäniemi crown croft was established in the 1840s. Kaarlo (Kalle) Itäniemi bought the area from the state and made the farm independent in the 1930s. He extended the farm after having earned money as a blacksmith in America working on mines and railways. In addition to the main building, the farm had several outbuildings: two drying barns, a windmill, a cattle house, a separate stall, a granary, several hay barns, a smoke sauna, and a smithy. Besides agricultural products, tar and wood charcoal were also produced. In the late 1940s, Kalle sold the farm and moved to Reisjärvi. In Itäniemi – which has become a summer cottage area – the long-unoccupied main building still existed in autumn 2018. You can also find the relics of a tar kiln and coal pit near the farm.




There had been several blacksmiths in Kalle Itäniemi’s family, and Kalle himself was also known as a skilled smith. One high summer before World War II, a teenage boy was sent by bike from Himanka to Kalle’s smithy in order to bring scythes for repair. The distance on rough roads was no less than a hundred kilometres. After the difficult journey, the boy arrived at the smithy, where farmers from Lestijärvi were waiting for their turns. Kalle advised the exhausted boy to enter the house and ask for food. The farmwife Elsa served him food and kept him company. Then Kalle and the boy went to collect the scythes, which had been carefully tied to the bike. In the smithy, Kalle instructed the boy to use the bellows to keep the coals at the right temperature. The farmers waiting for their turns did not like the queue-jumping, to which Kalle noted: “You have had all the winter to come and have your scythes sharpened!” (Rekonen 2018).




Itäniemi crown croft in autumn 2018


The relics of a tar kiln and coal pit


The relics of a tar-burning pit


The croft a long time ago (photo archive of Aimo Itäniemi)


Aerial view of the croft (photo archive of Aimo Itäniemi)


The croft on the map of 1938 (photo archive of Aimo Itäniemi)