top of page
4 L.jpg

Kulturstigen 4

The electrical powerplant. Construction 1936

00:00 / 06:31

On the initiative of the cooperative manager Hedberg from Arvidsjaur and "rascal" Lindqvist* from Arvidsjaur, the decision was taken among the villagers in September 1936 and the construction began. (*rascal L. had received his nickname long before because of his many optimistic "ventures".)


The mill house, built in the early 1880s, was demolished and parts of its wood was used to build ramps below the power station house or gutters. The canal started below today’s old motorway bridge, the water was controlled by so-called quarries. The mill didn’t need much water, the power station however needed a lot more. The influx then was changed by rebuilding the "quarry weapons".


The railway bridge was the only overland connection between the north and south sides at that time. The course master from those days was very interested in this construction and he borrowed tools from SJ's warehouse. The horse owners of the village transported gravel, rods and wood from the sawmill in Laxviken across the railway bridge. Viktor Harr from Kåtaliden was the foreman, and the village carpenter knew how to build the house, the machine house in which the gutter descended. The youth of the village, including Bror Löfmark and Henning Burman, erected the masts over the river and over the north and south sides of the village.


The turbine and generator of the "rascal" were of inferior quality (they had been thrown away in a power station in Arvidsjaur!) and had to be replaced after only a few years - but they worked in the initial phase.


The village's tailor, Sigvard Sjödin was also the village's electrician, and by Christmas 1936 the whole village received electric light from its own power station - a success after just three months of work!




In the first few years the lights could not be switched off at night - there was "too much electricity left ...". The maid Ingrid Renström (day nurse), employed by J.E. Löfmark finally wanted to sleep in the dark. So she was covering the lamp with her cardigan, and the cardigan started burning.


Eventually the village borrowed a current regulator from Allmänningen in Arjeplog - they wanted more constant electricity - and it worked. When the Second World War broke out, Slagnäs was the only village in the entire region where electricity was available (versus reports on petroleum and carbide lamps).


During the war years, the machines were replaced with newer ones, including the sawmill, where more and more work was carried out. (Slagnäs was experiencing a building boom!) Edvin Renström and Bror Löfmark tried to connect everything to the power supply. But the lake, still unregulated, simply provided too little water to the power plant.


With the sawmill, 2 carpenters, 2 shops and all households, more and more electricity was needed. All the money paid for sockets in the village was invested in pipes and new machinery for the power station. The workers on the electricity project did not get paid - instead, they received a so-called shares of the power plant. The traders Sjöberg from Arvidsjaur and Israel Forssén borrowed most of the needed money during the build-up phase and thus owned most of the shares.


In order to raise money for the operation, the village power plant association bought small electrical plates which were then auctioned off to households. This was an important supplement to the association's finances, which otherwise consisted only of fees paid by the households.


The village bought a collective wood cutting machine as well as a plane for wood chips, a log splitter and a cement mixer (available at Bror Löfmark). When these tools were no longer usable, no more collective purchases were made any more.


In 1945-50, Norrbotten's power station took over the small village power station near the rapids. They paid a total of SEK 26,000 to the shareholders, a dividend on their stake. The 1936 masts were replaced and a new era began for the village's electricity history.


The last project for power generation continued in 1987-90


(Based on a story by Bror Löfmark)


The Mill, 1880’s-1935


Right aside there is one of the two millstones that belonged to the village mill. Barley and rye, grown in the village and in the neighboring villages, were ground in the mill. The grain first was threshed on the farms itselves in a shared threshing machine which was transported from barn to barn. The grain then was dried in a specially built "sauna". This was a timbered house with a "lava stone" on each side and a gray stone stove on the floor behind the door. A fire was made in this oven and all air circulation was shut off so that the grain spread on the lichen was both dried and smoked.


Afterwards, it was time for the drive to the mill. The grain was transportet to the lake, loaded into a boat, rowed directly over the rapids to the "Millbridges" (in the current Erik Forssén’s summer house) and then carried the rest of the way down to the mill. On this last stretch, a special hearthstone was often used by the porters. Once at the mill, the grain was carried into the mill wind and poured into a large wooden funnel fitted with a stick called a Kvarn-Brita. Then, the grain was poured down on the stones in small quantities and ground to so-called flour, which often was praised for its good taste. The flour was dark in color and was considered by some people to be "sticky" or "sticky gruel".


Then it haunted the mill! Often the story was narrated about how Karl-Fredrik Forssén could hear "O, you blessed, O, you saint ..." being sung under the mill floor one night. Another story tells how a dark voice threatened "The Prince of Darkness descends, menacing and angry".


It wasn't just the mill that was haunted. These times, people often and fondly believed in supernatural phenomena. How else could they cope with their tough everyday lives? But the mill ghosts were probably the reason why potential grain or flour thieves stayed away from the mill - an effective method.


With the offer of shops and better communication, the need for an own village mill diminished, and power plants were built on the mill site instead.

bottom of page