Lahti History, Finland
The first time Lahti was mentioned in documents dates back to 1445 when it was still a village that was part of the Hollola parish. Lahti developed into a village by the Middle Ages partly because of its location at the joining of roads and waterways. The town center roads were so narrow that a horse carriage could hardly turn around. Also, the buildings were placed so close together that people were pretty squeezed in.
Nearly the whole village burned down in June of 1877, but the accident actually turned out to be positive for Lahti's development, as this led to the authorities resuming their deliberations again on making Lahti a town. In 1878, Lahti was given market town rights, along with a grid, empire-style town, which included wider roads and a big market square. This plan is still used in the basis of Lahti’s center, and most of its buildings were also designed as low wooden homes that border the streets.
During the time that Lahti was established, there was a severe economic recession going on. The Russian Empire had been burdened by the war with Turkey. The boat traffic on the Vesijärvi and Päijänne lakes fell significantly, starting from the early part of the 1870s. The town's building plans were also slowed down by the recession. Lahti's land wasn't selling and there weren't any buildings constructed on plots for a while.
The Township Board of Lahti increased its effort to turn the village into a town by the 1890s. These efforts finally paid off during the spring of 1904 when the Senate gave their approval. At the end of the next year, Lahti comprised of about 8,200, where just short of 3,000 lived right in town. In only 10 years, all of the town's essential municipal institutions were constructed, along with a town hall and a hospital.
World War I cut the town's period of dynamic growth short, and Lahti found that it was facing a totally new issue. The town's industry was made to be re-orientated as its trade with Russia was no more. The town continued to grow despite this, and in the beginning of the 20s, Lahti gained possession over the Lahti Manor grounds, which made the town's population increase to 8,500. During the 1930s, industrial operations grew on a large scale rather quickly, making Lahti one of the quickest growing towns in the country.
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