The Verla Mill Museum Groundwood and Board Mill
Verla’s Groundwood and Board Mill became Finland’s first factory museum in 1972. The buildings making up the mill’s industrial milieu were designed by architect Eduard Dippell. The museum is owned and managed by UPM.
Visitors may enter the mill only with a museum guide. Tours in various languages are offered to international guests. Tickets for museum tours may be purchased from the museum’s webstore or from the info desk in the museum area.
The Owner’s Residence
The Owner’s Residence was constructed in 1885 according to plans drawn up by architect Eduard Dippell. In 1898, a tower-like face was added to the residence. Around the same time, a colourful garden was laid out and a bowling pavilion was constructed. The Owner’s Residence was constructed as the home of Gottlieb Kreidl, the director of the mill. After Kreidl, the building also served as an office and residence for the mill’s superintendents.
The Owner’s Park and Garden
Many traditional perennials bloom in the Owner’s Garden, including fall phlox, monkshood and daylilies. The park is home to trees that were planted at the beginning of the 20th century, including walnuts, blue spruce, northern white cedar, the lindens along the banks of the rapids and the creepers growing on the walls of the Owner’s Residence. The Mill Museum’s gardener leads guided tours of the garden.
The Drying Loft
The old board drying loft burned to the ground in 1893, and it was decided that the new building should be more durable. The new drying loft, designed by Eduard Dippell, was constructed out of brick that same year. Dippell had an eye for detail, and he situated the new drying loft so that its church-like spire would dominate the landscape when the factory was approached from the road or from the water.
Prehistoric Rock Paintings
At the head of the Verlankoski Rapids is a series of rock paintings estimated to be 7000 years old. This ancient relic was discovered in 1974. Red marks can be seen on the vertical surface of the rocks about a metre above the surface of the water. Eight elk and three people can be clearly made out in the image. The paintings represent the earliest phase of Finnish rock paintings, predominantly of the Pit-Comb Ware culture.
The History Trail
A trail marked with informative placards meanders through the area around the mill, describing the history of the World Heritage site, beginning with the prehistoric rock paintings, and making its way through the entire mill area. The history trail passes along the walking bridge constructed in 2015 between the end wall of the groundwood mill and the embankment on the edge of the canal, partially beneath the surface of the water. The new dam protects the entire mill site against flooding.
The Forestry Trail
Along the two-kilometre forestry trail, constructed by UPM Forestry, you can observe the different growth phases of Finnish forests as well as important forest habitats. Hikers can enjoy the lush spruces and rocky forests, as well as beautiful views of the lake.
Workers recreation room: Info Desk and Museum Shop
The canteen was originally built as a place to eat packed lunch for the millworkers. After that, it served as a recreation space for the workers, and later, as a café for the holiday village. Today, the room houses the Mill Museum’s information desk, where visitors can reserve and purchase tickets for museum tours. The museum shop and info desk have the same opening hours as the museum.
The Warehouse: Lunch Café and Wine Shop
Architect Eduard Dippell’s decorative warehouse was constructed in the park in 1902. The building’s rare feldspar bricks, produced by the Rakkolanjoki tile factory, brighten up the red-brick mill area. The warehouse originally served as storage space and a carpenter’s workshop. At the other end, a flour mill operated from 1952 to 1985.
A café serving lunch and local baked goods operates in the Verla warehouse during the summer. The Viiniverla wine shop operates in the former mill at the other end.
The Stables: Handicraft Shops
In the summer, small handicraft shops operate in the old stables. Alongside the Pikku Kippo ceramics shop, Vintage Frilla sells clothing from days gone by. Jaalan kädentaitajat sells handicrafts produced by local artisans, while Torkel Design sells wooden goods. There are toilet facilities for visitors in the stables.
The Clubhouse was constructed in 1919 as a gathering place for the millworkers. The Clubhouse served its original purpose for only a few years. When the mill started to grow, the need for employee accommodation prompted the company to convert the Clubhouse into housing in 1923. The building reverted to social use in 1947 when the company constructed two new apartment houses beside it.
Until the beginning of the 2000s, when it was left empty, the Clubhouse was used as a recreational space by visitors to the holiday village. From 2009 to 2012, volunteers worked to return the Clubhouse to its former state and renovate it into a meeting and event space. The space can be hired for private events.
The Permanent Exhibition
The lower level once served as a garage for the company leadership. Currently, a small permanent exhibition occupies the space.
The Bale Warehouse
The bale warehouse, where bales of board were stored, currently serves as an exhibition space for temporary exhibitions.
The Bowling Pavilion
The mill owner Gottlieb Kreidl constructed a bowling alley in the park. At the far end stood a second octagonal pavilion, matching the pavilion that is still present. Between the pavilions was an ornate covered bowling facility. Visitors can now enjoy a cup of coffee in the pavilion, and a small photo exhibition hangs on its walls.
The Fire Equipment Shed
The fire equipment shed, built around 1890, is a small, windowless, hexagonal structure. The mill had its own fire-fighting team, and its operations are described in the exhibition in the fire equipment shed.
The Frame Saw
Verla’s frame saw was used to cut lumber for the needs of the mill and the village. Currently, the frame saw building is used as an exhibition space.
The Log Track and Rails
The log track’s engine room was used until the beginning of the 1960s when the Verla Mill transitioned from driving individual logs to floating bundles of logs. The log bundles were pulled in carts along rails from the upper stream to Vähä-Kamponen Lake, beneath the mill. Currently, the building houses the Verla – Part of the Mäntyharju Waterway Log Drive exhibition.
The Lippu Cottage
The so-called Lippu Cottage is one of the oldest buildings in the area. It was named after the first settlers in Verla, the Lippu family. According to tradition, the cottage was a border guard’s hut from the mid-18th century. From 1743 to 1809 the border between Swedish Finland and Russia followed the Mäntyharju waterway branch of the Kymi River that flows through Verla. However, it is not known for certain when or from where the building was transferred to Verla. An exhibition about workers’ housing can be found in the cottage during the summer.
The Log Driver’s Hut
Verla’s log driver’s hut was constructed at the beginning of the 20th century. The hut once offered shelter for transient log drivers after a hard day’s work. Now, the hut is available for rent.
Valkeala Bostad Cottages
The cottages on the Valkeala side of the mill were built on mill property and purchased by the mill starting in the 1910s. The cottages originally housed workers but have more recently been used by holidaymakers: starting in 1967, they were used by the Kymi Corporation holiday village, and today they are available for anyone to rent. The larger, light-coloured buildings, VB1 and VB3, were occupied by officials, while the smaller red buildings were occupied by millworkers. The letters VB come from the words Valkeala Bostad.
- VB1 Official’s house
- VB2 Tenhonen’s store was located in the building at the beginning of the 20th century, at the end facing the road. Later, the building served as workers’ housing.
- VB3 Official’s house
- VB4 Worker’s house
- VB5 Worker’s house, where one of the mill’s foremen lived with his family.
Leivo VB6 is a former worker’s house, built in 1880. The cottage got its nickname from the Leivo family, who were the cottage’s last residents. The head of the family, Aarne, worked at the mill as a horseman. A horse mill was used to lift the spruce logs from the water to be used in the mill. Aarne’s wife, Eeli, started working at the mill as a receptionist in 1946.
In the 1920s and 1930s, the cottage was known as Setä-Tassu’s Cottage, after the nickname of log driver Taavi Pukkila. In the 1950s it was known as Vainio’s Cottage. Only later did the cottage begin to be referred to as Leivo’s Cottage.
A worker’s house, known as Seppälä’s House, a nickname arising from the Seppälä family, who were among the last residents of the house.
Seppä-Mäki, Valkeala Bostad 10, is a former workers’ residence that was built in 1890 on a lovely outcrop, giving it a great view of the museum area. The cottage has a large, grassy garden and its own somewhat rocky and deep shoreline. The cottage presumably got its nickname from Anselm Mäki, a smith who worked in the mill’s repair shop.
Pukkila, Valkeala Bostad 13, is a former workers’ residence that was built in 1895 and got its nickname from the Pukkila family. The cottage features an open kitchen and two rooms and has a large, grassy garden as well as its own shore.
From the 1920s to 1945 the house was occupied by Lydia (née Lippu) and Daniel Pukkila, who worked as a stoker and a greaser, along with their children. During the Pukkilas’ time, the cottage had a vegetable and potato garden. During the war they also grew wild tobacco. On the shore, there was a diving board installed on a large rock and a small play house. The family kept various animals including a pig, chickens and a rooster.
Arkko, Valkeala Bostad 14, is a former workers’ residence that was built in 1898 and has been fully renovated as a rental cottage. The cottage features a kitchen and spacious living room. It has been insulated for year-round use, and there is a free-standing sauna with an extra bedroom on the shore.
Arkko’s nickname derives from its last residents. Väinö and Hilda Arkko were warm-hearted residents of Verla who moved into the cottage in the mid-1950s. Väinö worked in the mill as a greaser and had many stories to tell about Verla. Hilda was a cook for whom hospitality came before all else. Into her old age, Hilda could often be found at the Clubhouse, acting as hostess and preparing coffee.
The Raili-Kaarina Cottages: Tuomi, Haapa, Pihlaja, Paju
The wooden Raili-Kaarina cottages were built for the Kymiyhtiö holiday village in the 1960s. They are located about half a kilometre from the Mill Museum on the shore of Vähä-Kamponen Lake, downstream of the Verlakoski rapids. At the heart of these nostalgic cottages are their living rooms, featuring large windows and a fireplace.
These cottages are named after tree species: bird cherry, aspen, rowan tree and willow.
The Hirsniemi Cabins: Saukko, Orava, Mäyrä, Jänis and their sauna
The four Hirsniemi cabins were built for the Kymi Corporation holiday village in the 1960s. They are located on a peaceful peninsula about half a kilometre from the Mill Museum. The cabins, which are built from round logs, have been freshly remodelled. The cabins measure 25 square metres and can sleep 3–4 people. The cabins are named after the animals of the Hirsniemi peninsula – Otter, Squirrel, Badger and Hare – and guests will enjoy a sandy lake beach in the midst of true forest life. The Hirsniemi sauna is reserved for the use of guests of the Hirsniemi cabins only.
The Power Plant Area
The power plant area is controlled by the energy company KSS Energia Oy. For safety reasons, access to the area is not allowed. There are three power plants in the area, from the years 1923, 1954 (Verla 1) and 1995 (Verla 2), as well as a sauna, a flour mill and the mill’s ironworks.
The 1954 Power Plant
The Power Plant Constructed in 1954
Completion date 1954
Average flow rate 40 m3/s
Drop 6.2 m
Capacity 1.5 MW
Annual generation 9 GWh
The 1995 Power Plant
The Power Plant Constructed in 1995
Completion date 1994
Average flow rate 40 m3/s
Drop 6.2 m
Capacity 1.6 MW
Annual generation 10 GWh
The Power Plant Area Sauna
The Flour Mill and the Mill’s Ironworks