A Grand Piece of Sawdusty History Part I

In the early 20th century a local railway station manager founded a sawmill in an island in front of a village called Martinniemi some 30 kilometers from the city of Oulu. After years of financial problems, a bancrupcy and several ownership changes, the sawmill got new owners, a fresh start and an expansion. In the early 1920’s a groundwood mill and a power plant with a towering 72 meter chimney were built on another adjacent island a bit away. The huge chimney became the symbol of the village, which quickly grew and developed. A people’s house, stores and blocks of flats were built, Martinniemi thrived.

Several ownership changes took place again. The groundwood mill was closed down in the 60’s. It was converted to a planing mill and the power plant was modernized in the 70’s. In the late 80’s after yet another ownership change, everything was closed down. The village became a quiet suburb with high unemployment, cheap apartments and social problems. The sawmill and most of the buildings in the area got a new lease of life with small entrepreneurs, the power plant and the planing mill were left on their own. Years of court battles between protectionists and the huge forest giant owning the property followed.

Early in 2011 the planing mill caught fire. And a few months later, when I asked my friends, if there was anything to photograph nearby, they took me there.

This was the mess that greeted us, when entering the building, which had stood vacant for almost 25 years. The machinery has been removed, and all that is left are wood splinters.

There were no intact windows, which really didn’t even surprise us. What did surprise us was, what a plastic garden chair was doing in a place like this and why it had decided to hang itself on a pipe.

The roof had really nice and safe looking hatches upstairs. Despite the softish wood splinters on the floor, I really wouldn’t like to fall through that one.

The sign tells to watch out for moving machinery…

…but I really doubt they would pose any danger to me even if they still moved.

Once again we really didn’t have difficulties entering the building as it was all open doors.

Some of the doors were surprisingly modern, though.

This, I take, is the main production space. There’s water on the floor, but the grey, slushy thing between it and the yellow wall is plain ice.

There was a path higher up like the floor was lava. For some reason they wanted their office blocks (or whatever they were) canary yellow.

A view outside through one of the garage doors. Someone had lost their sofa, which had clearly suffered a bad burn out.

There was also some broken machinery outside the planing mill.

Another look inside. There was surprisingly little graffiti around despite the years of neglect.

This one was the only large piece downstairs. But perhaps if we went up, we found some more.

Published by desertedfinland

A Finnish Urban explorer & Photographer

4 thoughts on “A Grand Piece of Sawdusty History Part I

  1. Awesome spot you’ve found! Thanks for sharing it here. I don’t know if you also make videos from your URBEX sessions, but I’d like to contribute my voice (I’m a full-time VO guy) to narrate your stories.

      1. No worries. Reach out if you ever need me to narrate something. Opportunities often come knocking unexpectedly!

      2. No worries… sometimes an exciting new opportunity comes when we least expect it. I’m here if you need my voice!

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