More Information on the History of Korteniemi Heritage Farm

Construction of the forest ranger estate at the secluded location in Korteniemi began during the 1880's, when the Finnish government bought the lands and built an additional room to the main house, where district forest surveyors could lodge during their inspection trips.

Photo: Hannu Ormio.

Metsähallitus took part in construction expenses of forest ranger estates and monitored the quality of craftsmanship and the amount of timber used in the building process. There was no one blueprint in use for forest ranger estates, rather each represented local building styles.

In addition to the main house other protected buildings at Korteniemi dating from the change of the century 1800 - 1900 are the shed, the livestock barn, the equipment room, the stable, the smoke sauna, the woodshed and the drying barn. Metsähallitus has restored these buildings under the supervision of the National Board of Antiquities and the forest ranger estate is now a wonderful destination for experiencing what life was like one hundred years ago: The forest ranger's family lived in the main room; the adjacent guest quarters still have the same rose wallpaper they did when forest surveyors stayed there during their inspection trips. The grounds also include protected buildings which were constructed later on.

A Forest Ranger's Tasks

The duties of the forest ranger included observation and monitoring of crown-owned forests in order to prevent forest fires, illegal logging and poaching, as well as, assisting foresters and termination of predators, meaning, when needed, he had to arrange large carnivore hunts. In order to be appointed a forest ranger one had to know how to count, read and write, and he was provided a gun with which to protect himself.

At first, being a forest ranger was a part time job in addition to farming the estates small fields and caring for the livestock, but from the beginning of the 1900s being a forest ranger was seen as full time employment and his duties expanded to include all forest management and care. The men from the Lönngren family held the forest ranger's position at Korteniemi for over a hundred years.

A Childhood at Korteniemi

For the forest ranger's children life at Korteniemi at the beginning of the 1900s was much the same as it was for children on other small farms: as the family themselves farmed the estates small fields and took care of the few cows, chickens and sheep, the family's children were needed as helpers even before they reached school-age. Attending school was itself a chore as the school was many kilometres away and the road did not reach the farm, rather children had to row a boat across the lake or during winter ski across its ice and then continue by foot.

There was however time to play and fun even then and occasionally visitors, with curious objects in their baggage, would stop by at the farm. The fanciest toys the forest ranger's daughters had were cardboard cigarette cases used by forest workers, the tops of which were decorated with elegant pictures. Girls collected feathers, pretty stones and other beautiful objects in these cases and stored them in the attic.

About 1930. Photo: Esko Aaltonen/National Board of Antiquities