After independence Finland fought a bloody civil war, which left the nation extremely divided. The whites and the reds couldn’t co-operate in almost anything and this led to an interesting dual society.
One visible thing were sports clubs. In every major town there was at least one for the right wing people and one for the left wing people, the latter usually bearing the name workers’ sports club. In bigger cities there were specialized clubs for several sports and of course these were divided too. There were yacht clubs and workers’ yacht clubs, football clubs and workers’ football clubs etc.
There were savings banks and workers’ savings banks, and most importantly there were co-operatives and workers’ co-operatives. Nearly every single municipality, even some villages had their own co-operatives, but by the 1980’s they were starting to run into financial trouble, as the network was too inefficient. Since the 1960’s the small, local co-operatives had started merging to form bigger, regional ones.
What happened with the two co-operative camps then? The whites’ co-operatives eventually became a group of regional co-operatives known as the S-group, which dominates the grocery store, hotel and restaurant business in every regional town. The reds’ co-operatives merged in the early 1980’s to form a large co-operative and went out of business in the mid 1990’s.
This is how we come to a beautiful old house in a small rural town.
I had spotted this building earlier that summer when passing it, and while researching its history I learned about its past as the local hub of a workers’ co-operative.
Originally the ground floor housed the stores selling groceries and other stuff, the first floor was a restaurant, one of the best in town. Upstairs were apartments.
In the early 2010’s the two first floors formed a large bar while one corner was occupied by a dressmaker’s. Upstairs were apartments.
Soon afterwards the place was abandoned for unknown reasons. There was a fire in one of the apartments in 2014, another one in the restaurant a few years later. The owner can’t be reached.
The town is left helpless trying to find a way for someone to cope with the building. I am left looking for a way in.