The Upturn of Material and Spiritual Culture

At the end of the 19th century, Tuusula began to stand out amidst other rural municipalities of the Uusimaa region. When the Russian Empire strengthened its defenses on the southern Finnish shores, Hyrylä Garrison was built near the village center. The garrison provided builders with numerous jobs, increased trade in the area, and prompted migration into Tuusula from as far as Russia, once the Helsinki – St. Petersburg railway was completed in 1870.

The Finnish use of land and business were liberated in 1879. The landowners of Tuusula began not only selling farm product and timber, but also plots of land, which were especially popular among the Helsinki-based officials and businessmen who built their villas on these properties. Some even moved to them permanently.

At the end of the 19th century, many Finnish-minded artist groups began feeling a longing for the Finnish countryside. Tuusula was the nearest Finnish-speaking municipality to Helsinki. Due to its beautiful scenery and easy access to the shore of Lake Tuusula, the writer Juhani Aho and his artist-wife Venny Soldan-Brofeldt moved into the Vårbacka house in 1897, located in the lands of the Järvenpää Manor and owned by the Westermarck family. They were followed by painters Eero Järnefelt and Pekka Halonen, and soon even the composer Jean Sibelius and his family. Around the same time, the poet J.H. Erkko settled to live on the southern side of the lake. The artist residences of Pekka Halonen, Eero Järnefelt and J.H. Erkko – Halosenniemi, Suviranta and Erkkola, respectively – were built in 1901-1902, and Sibelius’ Ainola followed their completion in 1904.

In the progression of the 19th century, especially with the pressures of the era of Russification of Finland, Finnish intellectuals came up with an idea of bringing the people together to create a national Finnish identity. In that spirit, the land was to be developed financially and spiritually. The end of the century saw the rise of many national movements, such as public education work, societies for young people, sobriety, and sports, as well as the labor- and women’s rights movements.

The Estate of Kallio-Kuninkala

Vuorineuvos K.A. Paloheimo bought the estate of Kallio-Kuninkala in the transition of the 19th and 20th century. Following the example of his agriculturalist brother, Senator H.G. Paloheimo, he began modernizing the manners of farming and animal husbandry at the estate. He had Ayrshire-livestock brought in from Scotland, bought horses and sheep, and even attempted growing wild rice. The conservation of the estate’s fields was improved with the region’s first brushwood-based method of underground draining.

A large orchard of over two thousand apple trees was planted around the house and in the nearby fields, and many of the unique species are still, to this day, found in the Kuninkala garden. K.A. Paloheimo nurtured the fish stock of Lake Tuusula in numerous ways, for example by planting in zander and tench.

In 1935, ownership of the Kallio-Kuninkala estate was given to K.A. Paloheimo’s youngest son, Yrjö A. Paloheimo, who was an American citizen at the time. After the war, in 1946 Yrjö Paloheimo founded the Kerttu Paloheimo Orphanage Foundation, which he named after his mother. Its purpose was to cooperate with the Save the Children -organization to provide an agricultural boarding school education for orphans of the war. The boys’ school of agriculture and gardening began its operations at Kallio-Kuninkala in 1947, and in the beginning K.A. Paloheimo served as its principal. The year-long vocational education was mainly for boys between the ages 14-18 and involved both theoretical and practical studies. Yrjö A. Paloheimo supported the school’s operations financially and delivered machinery and sports equipment for its use from the United States. In addition to that, the school received some amount of funding from the state. The school’s teaching positions were filled by experienced teachers from the nearby Normal School of Agriculture, which had been founded in the lands of the Järvenpää estate that was transferred to state ownership in 1925.

The school of agriculture and gardening operated in Kallio-Kuninkala until 1965, teaching a total of 360 students in its time of activity. A memorial plaque for the school stands in the courtyard, attached to a natural stone that was lifted from the middle of Ristinummentie. Later, the premises of Kallio-Kuninkala were rented for the Congregation Institution as spaces of education and housing, and afterwards a catering restaurant operated in the main building. On several summers at the end of the 1970s, the Art-Tuusulanjärvi society organized an art event, displaying the works of tens of artists in the park and the barn. Music performances were held at the event as well. In 1987 the buildings of Kallio-Kuninkala underwent a complete renovation, turning them into the Sibelius Academy Musical Centre. After the founding of the University of the Arts, as well as the unification of three universities of arts, Kallio-Kuninkala now functions as the Järvenpää campus of the University of the Arts Helsinki, providing education- and practice spaces for all of the University’s units.

Ala-Kuninkala, a red villa relocated from Syväranta in Tuusula (now known as the Lotta museum) to the proximity of Järvenpääntie in 1918, was in the Paloheimo family’s private use until the year 2000.

The Paloheimo Family

Around the time he gained ownership of the estate of Kallio-Kuninkala, K.A. Paloheimo (1862-1949) became the first chief executive director of the fire insurance company Pohjola. The name Brander was changed to Paloheimo on 12.5.1906, the 100th birthday of J.W. Snellman, a date when many personal names were changed from other languages to a Finnish form in the process of Finnicization. Aside from the insurance company Pohjola, he was also involved in establishing other Finnish-minded insurance companies, banks and factories.

A committee was created to achieve business education in Finland, and as a result of its work a support association was created. K.A. Paloheimo took an active part in its work and the project led, in 1898, to the establishment of the Finnish Businessmen’s College, which later became Business College Helsinki.

K.A. Paloheimo was the father-figure of the Tuusula Folk High School, and a supporter of the Tuusula worker’s association. In many ways, he became a central person within Finnish national financial efforts, and a sort of national awakener in economic life. He was also a member of the administrative council of the Finnish National Theatre.

Photographed on the left; Arvi, Veli, Olli, Paavo, Yrjö and Kerttu Paloheimo (Brander) in 1902.

The family’s five sons, Arvi, Veli, Paavo, Olli and Yrjö were born between the years 1888-1899. Their familial relations to the artist community were created through three marriages. The oldest of the sons, Arvi Paloheimo, married Eva Sibelius, the youngest daughter of Jean Sibelius, in 1913. Meanwhile, Olli Paloheimo married Leena Järnefelt, the daughter of Eero Järnefelt, and Paavo Paloheimo married Anni Halonen, the daughter of Pekka Halonen. The sons each worked in leading positions in the banks, factories, and economic life their father had established. Alongside their work, music was an important hobby to them all, especially to Veli and Paavo Paloheimo. The oldest son, Arvi, also worked in government positions, for example in the Tartu peace talks, and in Berlin creating commerce relationships after the war.

Paavo, Olli, Kerttu, Veli, Eva (née Sibelius, wife of Arvi), Arvi, K.A. and Yrjö Paloheimo in 1914.

Olli Paloheimo was Jaeger Colonel in the army, and at the end of the war served as the Commander of Eastern Karelia’s military government. After the war, he acted as the CEO of H.G. Paloheimo Oy and its subsidiaries, later gaining the Finnish honorary title of Vuorineuvos (Mining councelor).

Yrjö A. Paloheimo, the youngest son of Kerttu and K.A. Paloheimo, was master of the Kallio-Kuninkala estate after his father in 1935 until his death in 1986. After completing a university degree in agriculture, he travelled to the United States in 1926. He visited Finland on a few occasions and settled permanently in the United States in 1933 to work at the Consulate-General of Finland in New York. In 1939–1940, Yrjö Paloheimo was commissioner of the Finnish Department of the New York World’s Fair, among other duties.

After the Second World War, Yrjö Paloheimo was Field Secretary of the Help Finland organization. He married Leonora Curtin in 1946 and moved to Pasadena, California, where he served for several decades as the Honorary Vice-Consul of Finland and as president of the Finlandia Foundation.

Yrjö and Leonora Paloheimo devoted themselves to nurturing Finnish culture, the Spanish-based migrant culture in the USA, and Native American traditions. Their home in Pasadena later became an art museum. Its courtyard garden was named the “Finlandia Gardens” and the sauna building the “Finnish Folk Art Museum”. In their farm in Santa Fé, New Mexico, they established a large village museum and a marketplace where the native people could sell their handmade crafts.

The Neighbors of an Artist Community

The Paloheimo family took part in the social life of the artist community of Lake Tuusula from the start. Together they held charity events, musical evenings, masquerades, and sledding expeditions. They also acted on stage, especially to support the Tuusula Folk High School, as its finances were in trouble without state aid. Kerttu Paloheimo wrote the stage play “King Salomon”, and it was performed by the young people of the town. Summertime was the active season of play for youngsters in the area. In Midsummer, they gathered in the cliffs of the shore to burn Midsummer pyres and dance.

Source: Kallio-Kuninkala’s history as produced by Marja Kekäläinen

Yrjö Paloheimo and child relatives in Kallio-Kuninkala in 1928.