Move to Liljendal
By the early 19th century the mill at Gravendal was in decline because of a lack of access to firewood, which was a crucial ingredient in ironmaking. Many members of the Elg family moved westwards, to another mill at Liljendal (just on the other side of the county limit). At the height of business around 1850 about 700 persons lived here - at least 30 named Elg. Today it has 13 permanent residents, most of them retired..
Liljendal was part of a mining district of about 1500 sq. miles which, between 1650 and 1750 accounted for ten per cent of the world output of iron (heighboring districts accounted for a fair share of the rest..). An 1870 survey counted 5-600 known/named abandoned mines.
As I started to search for more information about Liljendal I discovered a wonderful book about the remarkable transportation system connecting Liljendal to the far north and other mills in the area with a deep water port on Lake Vanern in the 1860's, before the national railroad system reached the area.
From Liljendal to the deep water port at Filipstad is abt 50 miles, the transport required 17 reloads and used horse powered portage railroads, rowboats (!), a homebuilt paddle steamer, Swedens first railroad ferry (a barge pushed by another early steamboat), and an early steam powered narrow gauge railway.
It is said that the draft of the paddle steamer was so shallow she only need morning dew to float.. In her 70 years lifespan she travelled more than 150.000 miles, carrying 500.000 (metric) tons of freight!
After the iron mill closed in 1890, most of the buildings were abandoned and torn down over the years. The old foundry was rebuilt into a small, waterpowered sawmill. The photos shows the sad remains of this building today.
If you examine the old photo closely, you can see a one story annex between the foundry and the edge of the mill pond. Apparently this was later extended with a wooden second story. Compare the fancy gable window on this addition with the storage building behind the foundry in the 1860's photo.
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