Oulu 1870 - 1900

population about 6,900

The biggest ever Oulu-built sailing ship, Toivo (Hope), was completed. Oulu exported mainly lumber and tar. The cargo was unloaded at a port in England or some other country, after which goods were transported between foreign ports. Freighting to the United States began in the 1870s, at a time when steam ships were yet to pose a threat to sailing ships. Goods exported from America to Europe included farming products. It took three to four years for a ship to return to its home port.

population about 6,980

The Oulu elementary school was established. It was divided into lower and upper schools. In the autumn, 189 pupils were registered and four teachers hired. The new school building, Heinätori School, was completed in the autumn of 1876. It was one of the most magnificent elementary school buildings of its time.

population about 6,950

The first city council under the new Local Government Act was elected. A total of 24 councillors were chosen. Suffrage was based on the ability to pay taxes. A financial chamber (which later become the city board) and six committees/boards also started at the beginning of the year – disabled and elderly care board, port, fire and lodging boards, and elementary school and factory boards. The first conflicts between Finnish- and Swedish-speaking parties started in Oulu directly after the first election. The pro-Finnish movement had been operating in Finland since the 1850s, while the pro-Swedish one was established in the 1870s.

population about 9,540

The railway reached Oulu. The inauguration ceremony was held in the brand new festival hall of the Seurahuone Restaurant and Hotel. It was not until much later that Seurahuone became the city hall.

population about 10,260

The registered population exceeded 10,000 for the first time. (Population counts used in this presentation are mainly based on the files of the registrar.) By 1883, the population in the church register had already reached 10,557.

population about 13,040

A rule change turned the Oulun työväenseura (Oulu Worker's Society) into the Oulun työväenyhdistys (Oulu Worker's Association). The mission of the new association was "to act as the link between workers and professionals in Oulu to enhance their mental, moral and material wellbeing." Workers gained more and more ground in the association, leading to the withdrawal of the educated people from the association. This signalled the beginning of workers' parties and associations. By the end of the century, the Worker's Association had subdivisions for women and local trade unions.