HISTORY – IN GENERAL
According to an old rural legend, a German ship once sunk off the Solf coast. Solf was then mostly comprised of archipelago. One of the sailors, who survived was named Solf or Sylf and from him the village got its’ name.
The rise of landmasses (isostatic rebound) has made the former bays useful to crops and buildings. Söderfjärden laid long under water but was through drainage made a farming area from 1919 to 1927.
East and west Solf and Rimal belonged to Mustasaari parish in 1600, but then became a part of Maalahti parish. The townfolk of Solf built their own church in 1626 and became independent in 1647. Munsmo and Sundom villages belonged to Mustasaari parish in 1857, then the villages were joined with the Solf congregation.
Already in the late 1600s the church began to require knowledge of the Christian doctrine, and it was the priests’ mission to promote literacy in the parish. The development of the school system from small village schools to elementary schools, has given the townfolk of Solf access to general knowledge. In olden times, life was full of things that people did not understand, and people out in villages were very superstitious. Spirits were everywhere and people believed in gnomes and trolls.
The mite box is mentioned in stories already in 1708. It was once customary for parishes to care for the poor people, so even in Solf. The poor were contracted out to the peasants and had to work for food and lodging. Those who did not own agricultural land had to make their living as day laborers and craftsmen. The wars and the famine hit the Solf population hard. Life in Solf parish was not always so easy.
Previously, trading was not permitted in the villages and the townfolk had to go to the cities if they wanted to trade their goods. So called “peasant sailing” to Sweden and also trips to Vaasa were common.
The book “Solf sockens historia” is a cultural treasure, also the books “Kyrkoby folkskola i Solf,” and “Solf kyrka och dess minnen” are worth getting acquainted with. The books are in swedish and written by the teacher Gunnar Rosenholm. He went out into the villages in the 1930s, 40, 50 and 60’s to collect folk art and folklore. Rosenholm’s descriptions of the peasantry culture in Solf and Munsmo, is collected in the villages history.
Rosenholm even initiated the Stundars local history museum in 1937, which today is one of the largest in Finland. At Stundars, there is a farmhouse surrounded by barns, sheds, lofts, a bakery and several simple shacks and workshops. The houses are decorated to depict the turn of 1900.
The books “Barnens sekel i Solfbygden” written by Bjarne Berg and the book “Söderfjärden; ett Nybyggarsamhälle “by Holger Wester should also be mentioned in this context. Solf has a group of folklore researchers.