Merchants in Oulu founded a shipyard in the village of Kello, Haukipudas, with the goal to build wooden warships for the Russian military. One wooden warship was finished at the shipyard, a corvette called “Varjag” (swe. a type of Viking). When the Russian military shifted to using metal warships, the shipyard started building merchant ships. The ownership of the shipyard was transferred to the trading house Bergbom and a steam-powered sawmill was founded in connection to the shipyard in 1873. The sale of timber supported shipbuilding better. The last sailing ship built in Pateniemi, “Felix”, was finished in the following year 1874. The sawmill required a lot of workforce and a tight-knit community was formed around the mill. The sawmill offered livelihoods and services to the community existing in the middle of the countryside.

The old sawmill turned out to be too small as the demand for sawn timber grew, and in 1908 a new sawmill was finished in Pateniemi which was active until 1990. The Pateniemi Sawmill has been owned by many famous companies. The sawmill was owned by companies such as Uleå, Oulu, Kajaani and Veitsiluoto.

The Pateniemi Sawmill and the timber yard used for drying sawn timber together with their railway network in the 1950s. Picture: Lusto – Finnish Forest Museum, Finnish Forest Industries’ Collection, V96022:4252.

Back in the day, almost all residents of Pateniemi gained their livelihood from the sawmill. In 1965, Pateniemi became a part of Oulu. At that time, the Pateniemi Sawmill still remained the centre of the region. The sawmill industry that lasted almost 120 years and the old, beautiful environment around the mill are still an essential part of Pateniemi.

Read Seija Satokangas’s blog entry about the Pateniemi Sawmill.