In 1702 law speaker Christian Braunmann took over with an intention of reopening the sawmill, as it was the most profitable business. The administration in Copenhagen had closed many of the sawmills in the region, and the sawmills were thus conditioned by privilege in order to keep running. Boen and Braunmann were amongst those who were granted privilege. Braunmann passed away in 1729, but his descendants owned the property until 1753, when the Irishman Edvard Smith, a successful merchant, bought Boen along with the fishing rights. Many of the buildings on the property were dilapidated, but Smith intended to restore the estate to its former glory, and moved from Kristiansand to Boen.
Smith returned to Ireland as early as in 1765, and left the property to his daughter Margaretha and her husband Just Arctander for 14 000 rix-dollars. When Margaretha died in 1801, the heirs put the estate out for auction. The highest bid was 26 000 rix-dollar and the new owner was a man named Daniel Isaachsen, the owner of Kristiansand’s largest business and amongst the wealthiest men in Norway.
It would seem that Boen would disappear from Margaretha Smith Arctander’s powerful family. However, Margretha’s granddaughter Hanne Nideros married the new owner, Daniel Isaachsen, and through her the family continued to live on the estate until 1940.
Powerfull owners at Boen
Daniel Isaachsen bought the property in 1801 when Margaretha and Just Arctander’s heirs put it out for auction. Isaachsen’s first wife had died in 1789, and in 1805 he married Hanne Susanne Nidaros, Margaretha Arctander’s granddaughter. She was 24 years old, he was 61, and he wanted to build a new estate for his young wife. When Isaachsen passed away in 1813, Hanne was left as a young widower. She received a generous inheritance, including the large residence in Kristiansand and Boen with its sawmill, fishing rights and cultivated land. On a visit to Christiania in 1815 she met her future hus- band, the 51-year old Eidsvoll-hero, Diderich Hegermann. The year before Diderich had been appointed minister in the Department of the Army, and he was later appointed major general. When the couple got married in 1816, Diderich left his post and settled down at Boen.
His son Didrik took over in 1850. The Hegermann-family enjoyed entertaining friends and acquaintances. Occasionally they received visitors from abroad, for instance when Admiral Lesovsky and his men were invited to Boen. Amongst them was the young Nikolay Rimsky Korsakov, who would later become a world-famous composer. In 1891 king Oscar II also visited the estate. Didrik handed over the property to his son Cay in 1902, but the depression of the late 1920s took a toll on the owner. The debts were high when Cay’s son Ditlef took over in 1927, and during the 1930s the family eventually closed down the business.
Shipbroker Johan G. Olsen bought the estate in 1940. After World War II, the industry activity by the river became modernised. A new parquet factory was established in 1955.
Timber for Europe
Timber was a profitable industry. In the late 1500s considerable amounts of timber from the woodlands in Tveit and Birkenes were floated down the Tovdal River.
The logs were floated from the river mouth to the seaports in Grovika, Lyngholmen, and Kuholmen outer- most in the Topdal Fjord where Dutch ships would wait, ready to transport timber to the continent. While the forests of Western Europe were largely deforested, the Norwegian woodlands lay more or less pristine.
In The Middle Ages the processing of timber was carried out by axe. It was time-consuming and hard labour.
Thus it was a big step forward when the water-powered head saws came to Norway in the late 1500s. Now far bigger volumes of processed timber could be delivered more rapidly.
In 1639, feudal overlord Palle Rosenkrantz was granted permission by the king to build a sawmill in the waterfall at Boen, and it was ready for use to years later. However, it was no coincidence that the sawmill was erected simultaneously as Kristiansand was founded. The exportation of timber in the Kristiansand Fjord before the founding of the town was superior to rest of the county. Trade with the Netherlands, Scotland, and Denmark was thus among the premises for the creation and growth of the town. The Tovdal River was thus a contributory factor in the founding and growth of Kristiansand.
Lords and salmon
In the 16th century the salmon swam in schools upriver and stood under the waterfall, before it headed to its spawning sites further up the river. This so-called splendour, was King Christian the second’s property. On behalf of the state, the king conferred the rights of the salmon fishery and the estate on fixed terms to some of his most prominent officials and received produce in return. In other words, the annual fee was roughly 10 tons of salmon and 100 cured salmons.
During the mid 19th century, Norway became a sought-after destination for wealthy Britons. Some sought the Norwegian mountains while others were passionate anglers, and the rivers of Southern Norway and the Tovdal River were naturally desirable. Here they were lodged in luxurious accommodation at Hegermanns’s estate. The British anglers were popularly called “salmon lords” due to their noble birth. Among these noble visitors were Lord Cunlife, the director of the Bank of England, Mr. Kenley, the Scottish land- owner Harold C. Wilson, and his cousin Mr. William Radcliffe. In 1924 Wilson and Radcliffe hauled in 1352 salmon during the course of two months.
For a long time, the Tovdal River was among the best salmon rivers in the country. However, due to acid rain the river began to suffer in the early 1900s, and the salmon stocks were eventually lost by 1970.