Main road 13 is about 500 kilometres long, ranging from Kokkola on Finland’s west coast to Nuijamaa at the eastern border. Here we call the section of road from Veteli to Perho “Anders Road”. Tuohi-Antti – literally “Birch-bark Anders” – is the nickname people gave to the influential Central Ostrobothnian vicar, Anders Chydenius (1729–1803), because he had written his master’s thesis on North American Indians’ canoes. Later, in his role as vicar, he even encouraged the peasants of Alaveteli to use these canoes on the Perhonjoki river. The people in Central Ostrobothnia were used to wooden boats and were mainly amused by the vicar’s attempts. His road initiative, however, generated interest and respect in all of the local people, irrespective of estate.


Prior to the 1700s, there had been a rough cart road from Kokkola to Veteli. From here, the road to Perho and further east continued as a sort of a horse path. Anders Chydenius and the burghers of Kokkola considered it economically important to improve road connections eastward from the coast because it would facilitate the transport of tar, timber, corn, butter and slaughtered animals.


At the time, topics of public discussion included both road maintenance and the clearing of the Perhonjoki river. Chydenius supported road maintenance rather than developing the waterway. He thought that it would have been too expensive to make the rocky river, with its sections of low water, navigable. Thanks to Chydenius’ influence, the road from Veteli via Perho to Lintulahti (in Kyyjärvi), nearly four metres wide, was finished in 1796. The road between Kokkola and Veteli had already been repaired in the early 1780s. In addition to the bourgeoisie, ordinary travellers appreciated road building and repair, particularly if they were used to difficult inland terrains. The troops of Sweden-Finland and Russia also marched along the repaired Anders Road in the Finnish War (1808–1809).


Samuli Paulaharju (1930, 112), in his book Suomenselän vieriltä, describes Chydenius’ participation in the laborious road project as follows:


 “Decade after decade, people living in the wilderness had to travel on paths or row along long waterways. But we finally received real human roads here, and a road was built through Veteli even as far as Perho. The husky man from Kokkola, the big and famous Vicar Antti Chydenius, climbed on his horse and left to mark the road alignment from Kokkola to Lintulahti. In every village, local men helped and guided him as he travelled along the Perhonjoki river, exploring the terrain, cutting marks on trees and stating that this is the terrain where the road must be built. When encountering a rough bog, the horse was left on the shore and the saddle was carried over the bog, leaving the rotund vicar to somehow help himself to the other side, where another horse was waiting.”