‘Gästis’ and Vägsjöfors iron works
For almost 150 years (1743-1892) the area around THE LODGE Torsby has been used for the Vägsjöfors Iron Works (‘Järnbruk’). Mainly iron (goods) production, but also forestry and agriculture, employed many people. Along the ‘Vågan’ creek, down from lake ‘Vägsjön’ to lake ‘Nedre Brocken’, there were smithies, sawmills, millstones and other production facilities. The 41 m height drop granted the construction of 8 dams. The water-wheels provided power for iron-hammers, saws, millstones and other machinery.
The works formed the regional centre of industrial activity; supplying nails, tools, sheet-iron, horse-shoes, wood, boards, and later on also schnapps to the local community and neighbouring regions. The old wooden main house of THE LODGE Torsby served as office to the iron works. This can still be seen from the old bookkeeping (from 1829) on the wall in our current dining room. In 1892 the works were shot down, thereby marking the end of the era as ‘Fryksdalens’ valley largest iron-works.
From THE LODGE you can experience the cultural and historical environment by a signposted round walk (4.3 km).
But actually, our house had a double function; it also served as a guest house (‘Gästgivaregård’) to passing travellers. The guests had their rooms on the second floor and the horses were changed or could rest in the stables. We try to complete the history about our historic inn. Who and when lived and worked here as innkeeper?
Just recently we got some old papers, contracts and bills from a neighbor. They dated back to the period that his grandfather Torsten Hagberg was innkeeper at our place (1908 – 1914). It turned out that Torsten took over from Hans Christiansen (1895 – 1908) as the new innkeeper of ‘Gästis’. On April 24, 1908 he signed a contract with ‘Aktiebolaget Edsvalla Bruk’, the company (mainly active in forestry) that owned the inn. The contract consists of regulations about how to manage the inn and the (post) carriage station; the number of required horses and the time within they should be available. Torsten had to pay kr. 956,25 as yearly rent according to a bill from 1909-03-17; quite a large sum of money for that time. In 1914 Gustaf Johansson, together with his wife Kerstin, took over as innkeepers. He was innkeeper until his death in 1930.
Magnus Rolökke Hansen and his wife Svea lived at Vägsjöfors Gästgivaregård during most of the 1940’s (1940-1947).
We know that Märta Crona (born Holmgren) became innkeeper around 1950 and stayed here at least a decade. Her mother (Maria Olivia Holmgren) also stayed and worked here for some years during this period.
From the more recent history we do have more names and dates, but still quite some gaps have to be filled!
It may now be clear that our B&B is a historic place where guests have stayed for more than 180 years. Hard to imagine how many that must have been. Guests, each with their own story, history, memories and experiences.