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Alvøen is one of the oldest industrial places in Norway. As early as the 1620s a gunpowder mill was built here. The place itself was well situated for industrial activity, lying only 100 m from the waterfall, which provided power for the mill, and a good harbour wherefrom the products were shipped. The success of the gun-powder mill varied in the 1600s and 1700s, but what made Alvøen best known was its paper production.
On the east side of Lake Skjelbreidvatnet, clearly visible along the road from Eikelandsosen, we notice a farm on a terrace above a grassy hill. The hill has the form of a broad shield; Skjelbreid (" Broad Shield") is the name of the farm.