Strömsund in 1919
Times in Strömsund in the Year of 1919
of the first settlers in New Stockholm, Saskatchevan, Canada, Mrs Gunilla
Zakrisson recently passed away in her home. She was born in Ström,
Sweden in 1847, and she is one of those persons who left Sweden for
a more tolerable life in the West. By the time of her death, the large
emigration westward has slowed down due to a better situation in Sweden.
After a long time of suffering, when the effects of the first World
War such as starvation, the Spanish flu, typhoid and diphtheria have
been part of everyday life, things are getting better also in the small
town of Strömsund, despite some small outbreaks here and there
of the Spanish flu.
This is a steamship from 1900 - 1919, in Strömsund
In this year, the total population is about 6 500 individuals, of which
188 are newborn citizens and 350 have moved into the town. 250 people
moved out from the town during this year, and about 100 people died
here. This means that the population has increased by approximately
Possibly, the peace treaty will be signed in a few months and it seems
that prospects for entrepreneurs are getting brighter. On February 11,
the fair in Ström was well attended and sales were good. Plans
about setting up a bank in the city are being discussed. The new railway
truck is constructed right through the sports field. Among others, the
successful soccer team in Strömsund demand that a new sports field
be constructed. People are of the opinion that it is especially important
for the young people because the district needs a healthy and strong
Yet another sign of better times for the inhabitants of Strömsund
is the fact that food restrictions are relieved. As from February 24,
you get two lumps of sugar with your coffee instead of just one in cafés
and restaurants. At this time, the Government has also abolished the
prohibition of sifting rye; that is, you can sell sifted rye because
times are now better. You are even allowed to by 50 grams more butter
Trade and Industry
professional category which is still considered the most important of
all are the strong and healthy lumberjacks, who are the "backbone"
of the industry of Northern Jämtland. Another important category
is the farmers, who provide families with all the necessary staple food
they can ever think of. The hard struggle in the charcoal stacks is
continued as need for home produced charcoal is high.
The rapid development of the Sulphite Factory has awakened the local
people's interest in the opportunities of the home district and they
are willing to help with financial support and labour, which will be
the corner stone in the industry of Northern Jämtland. Now, material
as well as spiritual life is pulsating in a faster pace, outlooks are
broadened due to the construction of the inland railway line which also
creates more vacant jobs.
The eight-hour working day is introduced, but a few companies apply
for exemption, among them the Sulphite Factory, because they are of
the opinion that they cannot carry out reorganisations that rapidly.
Their apply is responded to and they are granted exemption to July 1,
Not only is the municipal nurse granted rent-free living and free firewood
but also 1000 SKr. more a year in wages. The other local government
employees also receive their share - maybe not as much as a thousand
krona but at least some hundred krona more a year.
Help to Poor People
Poor Relief Committee in the municipality proposes that additional pension
benefits should be paid to those who are less well off. On November
27, a proposition is put forward that those who have lived in the municipality
for the last 10 years should get 100 SKr. (men) and 85 SKr. (women)
The local government committee and the local councillor's committee
propose a change that people who have been living in the municipality
for 5 years should be entitled to 125 SKr (men) and 110 Skr. (women)
respectively. The proposal is accepted, as are other proposals, which
support the poorest people in the municipality.
On Children's Day, on July 27, 1.662 Skr. has been collected and the
children's holiday camp are allotted 1.000 Skr., lay worker's organisation
gets 400 Skr, and the rest, 262 SKr. is used for buying clothes for
The Election on April 24, 1919
'The farmers' party' ( Lantmannalistan) received 724 votes, workers'
party (arbetarepartiet) 517 and the liberals (frisinnade) 293. Among
the 14 elected councillors, there are 2 women. The youth is advancing
and are founding a youth association in the beginning of May. The association
covers Strömsund and its surroundings. Their goal is to create
an open, national spirit and a growing sense of responsibility towards
the country and the society. When the youth convention was held on July
15 at the church of Ström, one thousand people from Östersund
attended the meeting. The subject for discussion was 'women and society'
and the youth's attitude to the new times.
Women's role in the temperance movement is significant and meetings
are held where it is discussed whether we should allow liquor at all,
at the same time as the farmers in Skåne (Scania) propose that
it should be allowed to make aquavit out of remaining potatoes. However,
for moral reasons, the temperance movement does not accept the proposal
as long as people are starving in the European countries suffering from
On the whole, the position of women has strengthened also in such a
small town as Strömsund. It is possible that the Government's benevolence
towards women's right to vote has increased her self-confidence and
engagement. However, two more years will pass before she will be allowed
at the ballot box.
are two steamboats frequenting lake Vattudal. One of them is the "Turisten"
(Tourist), owned by Mrs. Hedvig Bylund. Besides, it gets licence to
serve wine, spirits and beer. The other steamer 'Virgo' is nice and
spacious after a reconstruction which was lead by captain Åström.
The steamer "Viking" is a passenger steamer, frequenting lake
Flåsjön, with its timetable adjusted to the departing and
arriving trains in Lövberga.
The somewhat more primitive cable-ferry is frequenting the short distance
over the sound of Stamsele (Stamselesundet). It can take one automobile,
two horses and 20-25 people. It is not quite safe to take that ferry,
especially not in the autumn and there have been some accidents, since
security is not always the best.
The contrast between the new and the old gets significant when you think
about the farmer, who, as so many generations before him, drives his
loaded cart on the ice-covered lake, at the same time as the 'aeronaut'
captain Saunders is flying over the same lake Vattudal at the speed
of 108 kilometres per hour.
Some houses in Ulriksfors and close to them we can see the railwaytracks
and the station.
After the aeroplane, the fastest vehicle is the automobile, but there
is still not that many in the streets of the town. Automobiles are considered
luxury articles and it is only the rich people who can afford them.
There is still some excitement when an automobile is seen, and especially
the children are curious. A power main is developed at high speed and
every household will have electricity within a few years time. The railway
system is developed in all parts of Sweden and the inland railway line
reaches every small place in Northern Jämtland.
The telephone has made its appearance but just like the automobile,
it is not yet the property of everyone.
Night Life is Harmful!
as in our days, there are protests about the unhealthy night life of
the youth. Therefore, it was decided that a parents and teacher's meeting
should be held on Sunday, November 20, 1919. The person who summoned
the meeting was Rev. Löfvenmark who emphasises the need of a stronger
co-operation between school and home. At the same time, it was pointed
out emphatically that the youth should be thought to show greater love
and reverence to their home and parents, as well as to obey them and
A general prohibition of school children to stay outside after eight
in the evening is issued and shopkeepers are forbidden to sell tobacco
and cigarettes to under juveniles.
The Most Fashionable Street in Town
the fact that Strömsund is a small town, it can boast of city-like
buildings at Storgatan (Main Street). A century of development has given
Storgatan a quiet dignity - a dignity that is the result of the hard
struggle of making Northern Jämtland what it is. The street is
an important meeting point, especially when something important happens,
such as for instance when people walked in procession and celebrated
the Peace of Versailles on June 30, 1919. People were riding and carrying
banners and flags, and those who did not walk, stood by the side, watching
the procession and smiling happily.
On Sundays, you walk up and down this street, window-shopping. Centrally,
close to the church is the jeweller's shop owned by R and S Sunding
- a shop which ladies might like to visit. The men are looking at the
modern suits in O. Ohlsson's tailor's shop and men's outfitter's, which
by the way is the largest tailor's shop in Northern Jämtland.
Storgatan has many shops to offer - booksellers, shoe shop, garment's
shop and a butcher's. The most modern building in the town is the Grand
Hotell, which has heating, water closets and even telephones in the
rooms. The hotel is much frequented especially during winter, because
the area can offer a wide range of winter sport activities.
new times involve a lot of change and, above all, improvements for the
population in Strömsund. In conclusion, it can be argued that the
foundation of a democratic society is laid during this year, as well
as the foundation of the secure and safe Swedish Welfare State.
Written by Maud Holmberg and Tina Fagerstöm
b. Arne Rosenberg.
with and old man who lives and was raised in Strömsund