Thursday, October 18, 2012

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 61

Skotfoss Kyrkje, Skien, Telemark, Norway near Løveid locks, ca early 1900s

Deceptively plain looking postcards like this one showing a village and a church can have interesting background stories.  I thought I would find out something about the church and the community but instead I discovered the important thing was the water.

I.C. Lee was born at Holla in Ulefoss near Skien, Telemark, Norway in 1876.  He left in 1880 at age 4 to come to America with his grandmother and her new husband.  Haldor Larsen Børve designed the church shown on the postcard above and it was dedicated in 1900, therefore, it was not yet built when Lee left Norway.  It is called the Skotfoss church and is located within the greater Skien area.  A family member who remained in Norway sent this card to him at a later date.  It is a wooden church and still stands today.  I found the Flickr image shown below of what the exterior of the church looks like now.

Skotfoss church
[photo:  originally posted on Flickr; Sebastian Bergmann]

It is situated on a knoll overlooking a part of the Telemark Canal called the Norsjø-Skien Canal that has a series of locks.  The locks in Skien and Løveid were built between 1854-1861.  Of the two Løveid is the oldest canal.  The canal allowed goods and passengers to be transported and logs to be floated between a series of connected lakes essentially opening Telemark from the ocean to the interior.  After the paper factory closed logs were no longer floated down the canal.  The locks also provide a way to regulate the flow of water for flood protection and control.  Today the canal remains a major tourist attraction.

The total length of the Telemark Canal is 105 kilometers or a little over 65 US miles with 18 locks.  The water level changes 72 meters (236 feet) in elevation as it travels through the locks.  Some of the locks are quite close together and form a staircase as the boats are lowered or raised to the next section.  The lock at Skien takes 20 minutes to pass the 5 meter (16 feet) water difference; there are 3 chambers at Løveid taking a total of 35 minutes to pass through a 10.3 meter (almost 34 feet) difference, 3 more chambers at nearby Ulefoss for a 40 minute passage of 10.7 m (35 feet).  Additional locks are located at Eidsfoss, Vrangfoss, Lunde, Kjeldal, and Hogga.  The Norwegian word “foss” means cascade or waterfall in English.  Not counting the travel time between the locks I estimated that it would take about 4 hours to go through all eighteen.  The biggest elevation change occurs at Vrangfoss, with 5 chambers and a 23 meter (75.45 feet) difference.  The drop at Vrangfoss is so impressive and steep I include the photo showing the ship Henrik Ibsen as it moves down the staircase. A little more information can be found here:

The ship Henrik Ibsen in the Vrangfoss locks
[photo source: ]

Additional links:

No comments:

Post a Comment