The biggest residential building north of Trondheim.

Vesterålsmuseet

Melbu • Vesterålen

Melbu was transformed in less than 30 years from a large farm to a modern industrial town. From 1890 to 1920 the population grew from less than 100 to nearly 1000.

Eric Coldevin from Dønnesgodset in Helgeland purchased the Melbo farm in 1832 and sat up the biggest residence north of Trondheim at the time. However, it was the son of his daughter, Christian Frederiksen, who took over the farm in 1893 who brought Melbu to its feet.

The farm and farmlands were huge for their time. Christian also invested in industrial production based on raw materials produced at the farm (dairy, wools and a butter factory) and from the fisheries (herring meal and herring oil), also producing consumer goods like soap, a coffee substitute, mineral water, tin goods, oilskins etc. Frederiksen was innovative in the use of the technical discoveries of his time like the telegraph, telephone and electric power. Frederiksen was at the forefront of advanced communication for the region (Vesterålens Dampskipsselskab, Hurtigruten, Risøyrenna).

The main farmhouse of Melbu Farm remains as a powerful symbol of the wealth and power of Northern Norway’s tycoons. Besides a visit to the farm and the English garden and park, you can also learn about the history of Melbu as told in imagery based on the family’s many old photo albums.

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