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On the Edge of Town
January 31, 2007 3:29 PM   Subscribe

Kiruna: The Town that Moved
posted by Falconetti (12 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
See also.
posted by ColdChef at 3:32 PM on January 31, 2007


That's so weird...

Well now I know the location of the famous ice hotel!
posted by jake3456 at 3:39 PM on January 31, 2007


It's happened in the U.S., too - in the late 19th and early 20th centuries the construction of NYC's several water supply systems resulted in the relocation of many villages.

One interesting example was the hamlet of Katonah, whose former site was flooded out in the construction of the Croton system - the company selling the relocation land put covenants in the deeds prohibiting, among other things, the sale of alcohol. For years (and maybe it's still the case) the only place downtown you could buy liquor was the old railroad station, which housed a liquor store and bar - because the railroad already owned the property before the relocation it wasn't subject to the restriction.

Further north, the Catskill and Delaware systems resulted in even more "lost villages." There are signs along NYS Route 28 west of Kingston pointing out the former locations of a few.

See this and this for more info.
posted by Opposite George at 3:55 PM on January 31, 2007


Cool.
posted by matthewr at 4:22 PM on January 31, 2007


I spent a few days in Kiruna, a long time ago. I remember a town bracketed by two mountains, one of which had a giant gouge in it, as if an angry giant had taken a swipe out of it.

We hiked up the other mountain, with all of its abandoned machinery and stones, making "site-specific art" along the way.

Being a pianist, pianoless, I learned how to play blues harp on the train tracks of Kiruna.

I wondered what life must be like for the miners...in the winter, especially, when the sun is up for only an hour or two...and they miss it.

A depressing and charming town. And now it's moving.

BTW, it's not too far from the more tourist friendly Trondheim, Norway, on the coast, also just above the Arctic circle, as I remember.
posted by kozad at 4:29 PM on January 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is fantastic.
posted by tellurian at 4:35 PM on January 31, 2007


The story of Kiruna's moving fills me with a touch of sadness. I visited Kiruna more than a few times in the early 90s. I was always touched by the warmth of its people - such a contrast with the glacial remoteness of this town, about 160 miles north of the Arctic Circle - and even more of a contrast to the general coolness of swedes living well below the arctic circle.

Three cultures live there - the miners, the scientists who work at Esrange and the related companies nearby, and of course the Lapps with their beautiful herds of reindeer.

I wonder whether the too-large Reso Hotel will be moved as part of the initiative, or whether it will be simply rebuilt a few km away. I always found staying at that hotel a bit of a kubrikian Shining experience - it was a little older, much too large in my estimation for the numbers of people visiting (I was once the sole room occupant on an otherwise empty floor), and oy veh was it ever rowdy on that one day of the month when everyone (the miners, the scientists and everyone else) got paid - and spent much of it at the hotel bar.

Kozad calls the town depressing and yet charming - and it is an observation I made as well when I was there. The landscape offers so many riches, yet undulates sullenly with sparse tufts of dwarf trees yearning to become forests some day.

The people, however, always impressed me with their friendliness, their sense of community and delightful hospitality.
posted by seawallrunner at 5:00 PM on January 31, 2007


Detroit Oregon was moved because of the Detroit dam on the Santiam River. The old site had to be completely cleared so that wreckage from it didn't float to the surface and potentially foul the lake.

I've heard that the Chinese have moved or will move hundreds of villages because of the Three Gorges Dam project.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 6:52 PM on January 31, 2007


Shaka when the walls fell.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:49 PM on January 31, 2007


What a monumental project! Thanks for the post,I will enjoy learning.

In a similar


vein


locally.


A fun bunch of scuba dives!
posted by plumberonkarst at 7:50 PM on January 31, 2007


yes, seawallrunner, I neglected to mention the openness and friendliness of the town's people...how hard it must be for them!
posted by kozad at 7:50 PM on January 31, 2007


Kiruna may move, but that won't necessarily erase the local culture and so on. It's possible though that people would take the opportunity to just move out, when they're already being forced to move anyway, but they'll make it through. It's an interesting way of dealing with the problem, I think, and I don't necessarily see it as sad and depressing.
posted by taursir at 3:03 PM on February 1, 2007


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