Gävle quickly recovered after the great fire in 1869 and evolved from being one of Sweden's leading maritime cities to becoming a major industrial and commercial city. The city was Norrland's largest and the port experienced a golden age. It quickly became an important commercial centre. Shipping companies and trading houses celebrated great successes and the favourable economic climate attracted people to come and live here. During 1850-1900 the population increased threefold and Gävle became Sweden's fifth largest city. A banking system was built up for trade and shipping.
The railway expansion was of great importance not only for the development of Gävle, but also for neighbouring areas such as Sandviken, Hofors and Bergslagen. Newcoming entrepreneurs accelerated the development with large investments on new buildings and infrastructure. Private donations contributed to the development of health facilities, schooling and recreational facilities. Social movements also started to grow during this period.
The building development during the era of industrialization stage was clearly present in Gävle. New types of buildings lined the city streets, such as large apartment buildings, factories, municipal engineering works, cultural institutions, schools and independent churches. One of the country's first villa cities was also built here. Prior to the nineteenth General Agriculture meeting and the major industrial and handicraft exhibition in the summer of 1901 several buildings were added and Grand Hotel started to welcome summer guests. The hotel, designed by architect Ture Stenberg, was one of the largest and most elegant at the time.
Text: Birgitta Lundblad
Photo: City archive