As early as 1906 the Matre and Haugsdal waterway was bought up by the businessman Blauuw from Bergen; the first “waterfall speculator” in the Matre area. He immediately resold it to Fr. Hiorth, who transferred all the rights to the company Matrefaldene in 1908. Behind A/S Matrefaldene were German interests, Badische Anilin und Sodafabrik, which wanted to start production of saltpetre fertilizer with nitrogen and electricity.
The large mountain area between Modalen, the Voss communities and Sogn is one of the finest mountain pasture areas in West Norway. In older times this area was called Steinslandsheimen, in our times it has acquired the name Stølsheimen. Power development and protection interests have been opposed here. The core area of Stølsheimen has now been protected as a landscape protection area, while some of the oldest mountain farms have been flooded. A register in the 1970s comprised almost 40 mountain farm settlements in the central area of Stølsheimen, belonging to Modalen, Høyanger and Vik municipalities.
The old hostelry centres were strategically placed with good harbours and anchoring conditions where people travelled. GODØYSUND, or Gøysundet, as it was called, was in the middle of Tysnes Parish, with easy access from the sea, also for the local population. Gøysundet is amongst the oldest hostelries in Sunnhordland.
Stalheim is situated between Stalheimsfossen and Sivlefossen, in a community with the farms Sivle and Brekke. The most likely explanation of the name is “the farm by Stadall”, from “standa” (stand), probably with background in the steep Stalheimskleivi. The farm has for a long time been divided into several units. At Stalheim there has been a transport exchange from the Middle Ages and the farm has been a postal farm since 1647.
The pioneering tourists in the 1830s-40s brought a momentum in the tourist traffic to the fjord and mountain country Norway. At the time Odda was a hidden Shangri-La at the bottom of Sørfjorden; the farm and the church on the green headland at the fjord. But when the steamship traffic opened the fjord landscape for tourism, in a few years Odda parish in Søndre Bergenhus County became the focal point for travellers in West Norway.
Today Tyssedal appears like a classical industrial community, a picture of modern Norway from the turn of the former century until today. A/S Tyssefaldene was established in 1906, and on 1 May 1908 Tyssedal power station was put into operation. The work on the first stage of the facility was completed in a short time, with a work force of 500 men. They built water tunnels, regulation reservoirs, power station, penstocks, harbour, cableways, office buildings, houses and 6 km of power lines in the wild mountains above Odda to provide the new melting plant with power.
When sergeant Peder Larsen Børsem from Strandebarm was “demobilised” in 1721, following the large Nordic War, he married the Bergen lady Elisabeth Schrøder and settled as innkeeper at Utne with a letter of privilege from the county governor dated 29 October 1722.
The 28th November 1914 was a day to remember for the Os inhabitants. This was the day they could turn the switch on the wall and have electric light in their houses. It was like opening the door on the future when the power station at Gåssand was put into operation.
The Bondhus area in Maruanger has been a magnet for tourists ever since the stream of tourists to Norway's west coast began in the middle of the 1800s. The magnificent landscape with the "ice trail" up to Bondhusvatnet Lake, the ice falls from Bondhusbreen glacier and Keisarstigen trail up to Folgefonna are still popular tourist attractions.