HS Espoo | “I am not from Espoo,” says Markku Salmi, who has lived in Leppävaara for more than 70 years

The Salpe couple from Leppävaara has, among other things, established a residents’ association in Leppävaara, collected several histories from the district and influenced the zoning of the area. Their home is also full of works and objects related to Leppävaara.

Couple has barely had time to step from the stairwell into the yard when it is already starting – namely, a talk about the history of Leppävaara.

“Rocks have been quarried for Helsinki’s Mannerheimintie”, Markku Salmi announces and points his hand at the edge of the courtyard in the direction of the rising Nupukivenkallio.

Right! That’s why we’re on Kivenhakkaajanuja, I conclude. Well almost, but not quite, Arja Salmi fix.

“Streets are named here according to professions. There is Konstaapelinkatu and Leipurinkuja and so on. ”

The reporter has trouble keeping up with his pen and notebook as Salmet agilely climbs up moss-covered slopes and drops anecdotes from his surroundings.

“These roses and lilacs come from three old villas that have already been demolished. They are Viapori lilacs because they were imported from Viapori. ”

“It shows the ramparts of the First World War. The roof of that bunker has collapsed. It has been a terrible thing when those are all built by hand. ”

“Leppävaara has been an ancient seabed. This has been an elevated credit from the sea. ”

Superlatives should be used judiciously, but Arja and Markku Salmi are very likely to be the most risky couple in the world. That is how thoroughly they know Leppävaara and its history. A Leppävaara-themed calendar hangs in the couple’s kitchen, and paintings related to Leppävaara are hung on the walls.

“I’m Finnish, European and leppävaara kind, but I do Espoo”, such as Markku Salmi puts it.

Arja and Markku Salmi were photographed in the old quarry of Nupukivenkallio. There have been several quarries in the Leppävaara area.­

Markku Salmi is, in fact, an almost native ladybug. Her parents bought a plot of land in Rastaala, a neighbor of Leppävaara, in the same year that Markku was born. A front man’s house was built on the plot, where Salmi’s son now lives. Another boy and his family live in a newer detached house built on the same plot.

Markku’s first memory of Leppävaara dates back to 1954, more precisely on October 26, 1954. At that time, 5-year-old Markku went to Leppävaara with his mother to pay part of the electricity bill. The date is well known, as Mark has a receipt for the electricity bill, of course.

Another recollection is of a potato field being plowed in the yard of a front man’s house. In Markku’s childhood, Leppävaara was practically rural. Frontline houses with a lot of workers had risen to the bird’s danger. You could borrow a horse or get milk from Leppävaara Manor.

Leppävaara has changed a lot since then, but certain basics have remained the same.

“There have always been good transport links and good services from here. Leppävaara is not a suburb. There are suitably urban features here, ”Markku Salmi sums up.

Arja Salmi ended up in Leppävaara with Mark. He spent his childhood in a small apartment building in Punavuori. When Arja moved with Marku to his parents’ detached house in Rastaala in the early 1970s, it was as if he had moved to the country.

“It was a big yard and out. It was really wonderful, ”Arja recalls.

The couple had met through a joint classmate on a train on their way to Pori Jazz in the summer of 1970. Both studied surveying at the Helsinki University of Technology and were both interested in issues related to urban planning, among other things.

Salmi has benefited from his field of study and career – Arja worked for a long time in the Helsinki Region Environmental Services (HSY), for example in land use, and Markku spent his career at the State Technical Research Institute (VTT) and Rakennustiedo, among others.

Arja and Markku Salmea think about how traffic is organized in Leppävaara. In Leppävaara, only half of the households have a car and neither of Salmi has a driving license. They hope that the district is not overdeveloped in terms of motoring.­

Vallikallio. From there, Salmi resident activism began in the mid-1970s. They had just moved into an apartment building on Harakankuja, which was surrounded mainly by detached houses.

The city wanted to roll out detached houses and build sturdy apartment buildings in its place. The straits considered the city’s plans grandiose. In the end, the detached houses were demolished, but the rocky slopes remained.

The zoning of Vallikallio aroused interest in the history of the area.

Another impetus for rummaging through the history of Leppävaara came in the 1980s, when the city of Helsinki planned to demolish the Alberga manor it owned.

Salmi’s other son attended a school of fine arts at the manor, and Arja Salmi was actively involved in demanding the preservation of the manor. The manor was renovated for the use of the city of Espoo in the late 1990s.

At the turn of the 1980s and 1990s, Salmet, for their part, took a stand on the zoning of Lintuvaara, and ten years later they were involved in driving Ring Road I into a tunnel in Leppävaara.

However, Salmet does not have time for everything. Leppävaara is now growing rapidly, and Arja Salmi has calculated that more than ten formulas were approved in Leppävaara last year.

“Going through them all would have been like working full time.”

The Leppävaara Society has published four works on the history of Leppävaara. Markku and Arja Salmi have been actively involved in making all the books.­

Over the years In the process, rummaging through the history of Leppävaara has also been a common project for the whole family, almost literally.

One of the sons of Salmi was eight when he announced that he was playing with his friend archaeologists. The boys carried out their excavations at the ring of Ring Road I and found a plotted, large copper coin under Swedish rule. The money ended up in the collections of the Espoo City Museum, and the discovery fee paid for it was used to buy a bicycle.

“If you don’t know the local history, you can’t understand why Leppävaara is as it is today. It is not possible to understand the developments that have led us to this, ”says Markku Salmi.

One way to understand the past is to listen to people’s memories. To collect the history of Leppävaara, Arja Salmi founded a civic memory district in the early 2000s.

The discussions in the Civic Memory District were recorded and photographs were collected from the participants, which were digitized in the archives of the Leppävaara Society. The intention was to compile a book on the history of Leppävaara from the material of civic memory districts.

At first, the book project progressed slowly, and the belief in the civic memory circle began to run out that no book would ever be published. In 2011, the book was finally completed and its first edition sold out quickly.

At the beginning of the 2010s, Markku Salmi retired and really began to delve into the history of Leppävaara. A total of four books on the history of Leppävaara have now been published. The books and covers thus contain a total of 1,500 pages of text and 2,000 photographs of Leppävaara’s stages.

Arja and Markku Salmi also talk a lot about Leppävaara. According to the couple, books published on the history of Leppävaara have reduced the bickering of historical details, as the information can now be easily checked from the books.­

Through history projects and resident activities, Salmet has become familiar not only to people from Leppävaara but also to city officials. Over the years, the City Museum, nimistöpuolen and urban planning officials have changed, but the straits have remained. Some officials have been better off than others, but overall, co-operation has gone well.

Salmet believes that cooperation and interaction are the best ways to advance the cause of the district.

“Sometimes people wonder about the city’s suspicion. It seems to be really deep. It is not always understood that things are really long-lasting and time-consuming. There is usually no point in simply resisting, ”says Arja Salmi.

He has been the chairman of the Leppävaara Society almost continuously for more than 30 years. During that time, the population of Leppävaara has tripled. In a neighborhood of nearly 35,000 residents, not everyone can agree on what a neighborhood should be like.

Although The straits are interested in history and love Leppävaara, they are not the kind of nostalgics who thought everything was better before – rather the opposite.

“Many long for Leppävaara from old photographs, but if you take a closer look at those images, you will notice that the lives of ordinary people have been pretty miserable in them. After the war, children suffered from malnutrition and there was also a lot of poverty, ”says Arja Salmi.

The straits consider Leppävaara’s growth to be primarily a good thing. They believe the district has a great future ahead of it. After all, it already has a fascinating past behind it.

And although Markku Salmi has lived in and around Leppävaara for more than 70 years and Arja Salmik for more than 40 years, they are ultimately just a small link in Leppävaara’s long history.


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