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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.
HOLMEN AND THE KØLLE FAMILY Holmen lies by the fjord, innermost in Ulvikpollen. Originally this was a small smallholding or coast dweller’s place belonging to the farm Håheim. Major Johan Henrik Palludan obtained leasehold for a part of Holmen in 1773, and erected a grand house, as he was the head of Nordre Hardangerske kompani. In 1806 Mrs Palludin sold Holmen to the somewhat eccentric theologian Kristian Kølle, and thus the Kølle family came to Ulvik. Today the Kølle house in Holmen is gone, today it is the residence of the principal of the State horticultural school that occupies the ground – a villa in the dragon style from the turn of the previous century.
When Anders Paulson Wallevik (1874-1965) took over the sloop “Haabet” after his father around 1900, he established a wide-ranging business, merchant, steamship agent, post manager, ship-owner, sloop skipper – and photographer. Without doubt it is as photographer he has left his mark.
Steatite is a type of stone that is abundant in Hardanger. There are large steatite deposits in the mountain below Folgefonna. These deposits are visible both in Krossdalen in Jondal, at Kveitno in Odda and at Måge in Ullensvang. There are many traces of steatite quarrying in Hardanger, and one of the largest fields is in the hillside above Måge.