Alta 1845 -1850

Alta 1845– 1850 – the time of the surveyors

During the mid-1800s, the entire Alten-Talvik area saw a population of 3000 people. The present municipality consisted of several small population centres: Talvik, Bossekop, Elvebakken and Kåfjord. In 1844, Bossekop was made the venue of the autumn and spring markets. The location was ideal in view of the routes between the coast and the inland areas. Talvik, situated on the western side of the Alta fjord, was a thing site from 1679, and it was also an important venue for Pomor trade.  The Copper Mine was established in Kåfjord in 1826. The English works / mine owner John Rice Crowe and the director Henry Dick Woodfall were the driving forces in establishing the mining town. Kåfjord became a Company Town – a town where the copper works also managed important community functions like hospital, the church and school. The mines were modelled after the Cornwall mines. Stephen Henry Thomas managed the mines during the period in which the surveyors were in Alta. He rationalised the mining operations, which meant that some of the workers had to leave and look for work elsewhere. Many of them moved to Hammerfest. In 1835, Kåfjord had a population of 655 – Norwegians, Swedes, Kvens (of Finnish decent), Englishmen and Germans.

Gruvesjakt 1901

A mine shaft, from the Copper Mine in Alta 1901. Alta Museum

The surveyors had communications with the director Thomas. They were given access to the copper mineˈ barometer measurements from 1839. When they had an accident with their own instrument in 1846, they were offered to borrow an instrument from the works.

Lille Raipas, point E in the triangulation network, is one of the important selected points of the Struve Arc. When the surveyors arrived, there was mining activity in the area. The Raipas mines were part of the Alta copper works in Kåfjord. They were registered in 1834. In 1835, Raipasmoen and Øvre Raipas had a population of 105. The population was stable for 10 years. Most of those who lived there were Norwegian immigrants, but some were Kvens from the northern part of Sweden and Finland. At Raipas, ambulating school was held for the children. In 1850, the surveyors spent much time in the/ this area. / The surveyors spent much time in this area in 1850. The mountains Store Raipas and Pæska are also important station points in the triangulation network.

Bossekop 1924

Bossekop 1923. Alta Museum

The District Governor residence, Altagård,  was situated at Elvebakken. Many Kvens had settled in this area. The shortest of the 10 base lines of the Struve Arc was measured there in 1850.  The District Governor position was moved to Tromsø in 1814, and the residence was made into a hospital for five years. M. Klerck bought the farm in 1847, and it was probably rented to Dr. Klingenberg in 1850. This is where Lindhagen, Klouman and Lysander took lodgings while the base measurements were carried out, but most of the time they stayed in Bossekop when they were in Alta. 

ElvebakkenSKM 98.2.0018 copy

Elvebakken (1896). The Norwegian Mapping Authority