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In 1550s, there were 219 farms in what we now know as the City of Tampere. Most of them belonged to the rural municipality and parish of Pirkkala, which was further divided to Proper Pirkkala, Keijärvi, Messukylä and Takahuhti. Aitolahti was later separated from Messukylä. The villages and backwoods in the northernmost part, called Teisko, were divided between the four, the bishop, and the municipalities of Lempäälä and Kuru.

Villages in the Tampere area were as follows: Messukylä: Haihara, Hallila, Hatanpää, Härmälä, Juva, Järvensivu, Kyttälä, Laiskola aka. Nalkala, Messukylä, Otavala, Pyynikkilä, Siukola and Tammerkoski. Keijärvi: Hyhky, Jurvala, Kaarila, Kukkola, Lielahti, Niemi, Pispala, Pohtola, Possila, Rahola, Tohloppila, Vaakkola and Villilä. Takahuhti: Hyllilä, Juvola, Leinola, Rasula, Sarvanta, Takahuhti and Vehmainen. Aitolahti: Aitoniemi, Hirvenniemi, Keso, Laalahti, Nurmi, Palo, Partola, Ruokonen and Sorila. Teisko: Ahoinkylä, Asuntila, Jutila, Kiimajoki, Kovero, Kulkkila, Kuoranta, Kuusiniemi, Kämmenniemi, Likaniemi, Löytänä, Mustaniemi, Padustaival, Pihka, Pohtola, Polso, Puudenniemi aka. Paavola, Pöllölä, Rikala, Saarlahti, Salo, Sääksniemi, Tauloniemi, Teiskola, Tervalahti, Terälahti, Tuhria, Vattula and Värmälä.


Tammerkoski Village

The village of Tammerkoski was located around the Tammerkoski Rapids. Through the village ran a common highway, a significant route travelled by peasants and princes. The road crossed the rapids some thirty metres upstream from the modern-day Hämeensilta bridge. The medieval wooden bridge was first mentioned in 1556 when the farmers of the village were fined because the bridge had fallen into a state of disrepair.

The earliest individual known by name was Matts aff Koskis from Tammerkoski, who was a lay judge in 1405. Pedher Kurinen from Tammerkoski was a layman in 1512. Peder Kurinen was mentioned in three different documents as early as in the 1450s and 1460s.

In 1540, there were nine houses (taxpayers) around the Tammerkoski Rapids. The proper Tammerkoski Village was located on the west side and had five farms:

  • Olef Vaininen, a yeoman farmer serving as the parish constable of Pirkkala
  • Mårten Vaininen
  • Henrik Kurinen
  • Laurens Kurinen
  • Henrik Kuotti

On the east side of the rapids there were

  • Henrik Skyttä of Kyttälä
  • Eskil Skyttä of Kyttälä
  • Laurens Erkkilä
  • Staffan Siukola

Additionally, further away there were

  • Olef Laiska of Laiskola aka. Nalkala
  • Bertil Laiska of Laiskola aka. Nalkala
  • Jacob Hietala of Laiskola aka. Nalkala
  • Pol Pyynikkilä of Pyynikkilä
  • Kadrin Pyynikkilä of Pyynikkilä
  • Madz Seppä of Hatanpää
  • Ragvald Pukki of Hatanpää
  • Lasse Pehkiö of Hatanpää

Olef Vaininen's son Jons Vaininen became the parish constable of Pirkkala after his father. In 1556, Duke Johan III of Finland visited Jons Vaininen before crossing the bridge on his way to Viborg.

In 1550s, Ragvald Pukki's house was owned by his son Bertil Pukki.

In 1556, Jons from Pyynikkilä met Olavi, the rector of the neighbouring parish of Kangasala, on the road. Jons somehow gained possession of the rector's hat. Jons was later fined forty marks, a sum levied only for the most serious crimes. Why the hat was so important we shall never know.

In 1571, the master of Bertil Laiska's house was called Thomas Nalka.

Tammerkoski Manor

Tammerkoski became a marketplace in 1637 on the initiative of Per Brahe the Younger, governor general of Finland.

Due to unpaid taxes, several houses reverted to the crown which distributed them to the nobility. Baron Ernst Creutz bought the Tammerkoski house and combined it with other surrounding estates, making Tammerkoski a manor in 1649. The manor house was located in the present Keskustori square.

Major Hans Henrik Boije got possession of the manor in 1754.

A Free Town is Born

After the proposal of Erik Edner, the vicar of Lempäälä, at the diet of 1771–72, the project of founding a new city near the Tammerkoski rapids started to move forward.

Tampere was founded as a market place on the banks of the Tammerkoski rapids in 1775 by King Gustav III of Sweden and four years later, 1 October 1779, Tampere was granted full city rights. At this time, it was a small town with about 400 inhabitants, consisting of only a few square kilometres of land around the Tammerkoski.

Tampere was made a free town. Anyone could move to Tampere and practice whatever trade he liked. Only farming was forbidden. The first official residents moved in during the autumn of 1780, when eighty plots of land were parcelled out. Most of the people moved in from elsewhere. Entrepreneurs were even expected to arrive from abroad.

Industrial Centre under Russian Rule

Tampere grew as a major market town and industrial centre in the 19th century. Emperor Alexander I was impressed by the potential of the rapids and confirmed free-town rights for Tampere in 1821.

The first significant industry in the city was a state distillery upstream of the rapids. The first leaseholder of the distillery was Colonel Johan Hästesko, who ended up executed in 1790.

The first paper mill was established by Abraham Häggman midway along the Tammerkoski rapids. It started operating in 1783 and continued until 1929 by the Frenckell family. In 1865 Fredrik Idestam founded a groundwood mill on the lower course of the rapids, later known as Tako Ltd, that is still running. J.W. Enqvist began producing paper in Santalahti, outside the city centre, in 1884.

Scottish machine builder James Finlayson founded an engineering workshop along the upper course of the rapids. After early difficulties the factory soon switched to cotton milling. It had ten workers in 1830. Finlayson sold his factory to Carl Samuel Nottbeck and Georg Adolf Rauch, two businessmen from Sankt-Peterburg in 1836. Cotton was imported from the United States and products sold mainly to Russia. By 1856, Tampere had four thousand inhabitants, half of which were working for the extended Finlayson factory.

Towards Municipal Waterworks

Since water pipes and a fire-extinguishing system had already been built at the Finlayson factories, the City Administrative Court requested an offer for the construction of a municipal water-pipe from industrialist Wilhelm von Nottbeck in 1865. Von Nottbeck offered to build the pipe at his own expense, but it would also remain his private property.

The City Administrative Court could not accept von Nottbeck's offer. At tradesman Carl Hildén's proposal, the City decided to build a water pipe of its own, The project was however postponed until 1880, when civil engineer August Ahlberg drafted a very modern plan.

The governor of Häme province, von Ammondt, ordered Tampere to find a temporary solution to address the reoccurring fires and the poor quality of well water in 1881. Robert Huber, who had led the construction of Helsinki's water pipe system, was contracted for the job. On this occasion, Wilhelm von Nottbeck donated 7000 marks for the construction of a fountain, which still stands at its original place in Keskustori square.

New water pipe plans were commissioned from the engineer Carl Hausen in 1890. The waterworks were finally realised in 1898 and followed Ahlberg's proposal for the most part.

August Ahlberg was appointed as the first sanitary officer in 1855. In 1900, engineer Carl von Nottbeck pointed out an open muck heap by Pirkkala highway, which was a health nuisance for the entire city. Further, water closets brought with them a new threat of water pollution. In 1890, the Tampere Health Board considered the toilet in F.W. Gustaffons townhouse to be unauthorised and demanded it to be removed.

Local Tradesmen and Craftsmen

Juhana and Maria Tirkkonen, who started out as pedlars, were among the most successful Tampere tradesmen. Rafael Haarla and Isak Julin worked their way up from shop assistants. Josef Konsén ran a shop at Läntinen pitkäkatu (Näsilinnankatu) 47.

Tampere was a city of dyers, tanners, tailors, and shoemakers. Johan Ilman was the first brazier in Tampere and Gustaf Wickström (1824–1920) was his apprentice.

Verner Palander had his house in the Keskustori square constructed for his family in 1901. It was designed by Birger Federley. Windows by Bruno Willy Baer were removed in the 1950s due to ther poor condition.

International Factory City

The Baltic-German Nottbeck family and Scotsman Finlayson weren't the only foreign influence in the city. German Ferdinand Uhde was chosen as the director of the Finlayson factory. Their English masters included James Reddyhough, William Lomax, and Lucas Cooke. The director of the weaving department was John Sharples, whose eldest daughter Lucia married local tradesman Lars Johan Hammarén.

GermanNikolai Bauer was influential in the tricot industry. Hermann Kauffmann and Carl Zuhr were both connected with heavy industry manufacturer Tampella.

Tatars started to arrive to Tampere in late 19th century. Amongst the first were the Ismail brothers, Imad Samaletdin, Bavautdin Kafiatulla, Sadik Ainetdin, Ymär Alautdin, Ahmedshan Hudaibirdi, the Baibulat brothers, the Salavas, and Z. I. Ahsen Böre.

City Officials

The first coat of arms for Tampere was designed by Arvid von Cederwald and finished by Magnus von Wright.

City marshal (1801–1829)

  • Lieutenant Tihlman (1801–)

Mayor (1830–1903)

  • Fredrik Procopé (1860s–1903)

Municipal mayor and legal mayor (1904–1928)

City manager (1929–2007)

  • Kaarle Nordlund (1929–1943)
  • Sulo Typpö (1943–1957)
  • Erkki Lindfors (1957–1969)
  • Pekka Paavola (1969–1985)
  • Jarmo Rantanen (1985–2007)

Mayor (2007–)

  • Timo P. Nieminen (2007–2012)
  • Anna-Kaisa Ikonen (2013–)


Antila, Kimmo. 2014. Light to Tammerford! How Did Electricity arrive in Tampere? In: Tampere – City of the Rapids.

Haapala, Pertti. 2014. Tampere in Global History. In: Tampere – City of the Rapids.

Juuti, Petri. 2014. Waters of Tampere. Tampere – City of the Rapids.

Lönnroth, Harry. 2014. The Languages of the Factory City. The Language Community of Tampere, 1890–2010. In: Tampere – City of the Rapids.

Salminen, Tapio. 2014. Tammerkoski in the Middle Ages. Farms and People in the Stream of Time.

Suvanto, Seppo. 1988. Talonpoikainen Tampere keskiajalta 1600-luvun puoliväliin. In: Alhonen, Salo, Suvanto & Rasila. Tampereen historia I. Vaiheet ennen 1840-lukua, pp.161–315.

Tampere – City of the Rapids. 2014. Tampere Museums' Publications 122.

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Categories: Tampere