The history of Kiviranta goes back as far as the history of Huittinen itself. Indicative of this is the discovery of an axe made of stone on one of the Kiviranta fields, which experts say is around 2800 - 3000 years old.

The first owner of Kiviranta to appear in official records was a man named Jussi, in the year 1540. Following this, the records show names that translate as Matti 'son of' Jussi, Nuutti 'son of' Matti and so on, up to the end of the 17th century. Around this time Kiviranta moved into the ownership of Swedish military families, becoming a base where soldiers and their horses were kept in readiness for war. It remained as such until 1861, when a Carl Duvald sold it to a 20 year old from Urjala named Oskar Kivi.

Despite its size, when Oskar Kivi became the owner of Kiviranta it was in bad condition. Only the main building, built in 1793, was in good condition, with nearly all the other buildings being rebuilt under his orders. The stone cowshed (now known as Kivenkolo) was completed already in 1862, only a year after Kivi's arrival at Kiviranta. Next to the cowshed Kivi built a dairy using the same massive stones. Completed in 1876, it became the first so-called 'manor dairy' in Huittinen. The dairy was run first by a Dane called Jensen, who was succeeded by a Swiss man named Gerber. The nicely finished stables were Kivi's last building project.

At the beginning of the 1890s, talk of an agricultural school in Satakunta ignited discussion. In the hope of Huittinen being chosen as the location for the school, Oskar Kivi built a large two storey building, complete with two towers and a grand hall, next to the main house. It was finally completed in 1899, and it came as a crushing disappointment when the school was eventually built in nearby Kokemäki. This building is still known as the Schoolhouse, despite never being actually used as such. It has, instead, served in a number of humble roles through the years; accommodation for the head groundsman and guests, weddings and celebrations within the family, as a wartime hospital and even as a grain store.

Oskar Kivi was also responsible for building the required barns, stores, workers' housing and other buildings at Kiviranta. When speaking of Kiviranta and Huittinen, one has to give much credit to this energetic and passionate man. In addition to his own affairs, Kivi was involved in much of the town's business, including public building projects and road maintenance.

In those days, Kiviranta was very large, with over 2000 ha of land. In 1921, the estate was downsized to around 800 ha, of which 158 ha was fields. Land needed for quick housing after Finland suffered war defeats reduced the size further, to a total of 355 ha. Of this, now only 70.26 ha was fields.

When Oskar Kivi died in 1901, the estate was inherited by his son, Väinö Kivi. The subsequent owners were officials who lived in other parts of the country, but the estate was still run profitably. Kiviranta was well-known as an agricultural training centre, where many would-be cattle farmers and agricultural students have had the privilege of learning their trade.

Upon the death of Väinö Kivi in 1954, his son Paavo Kivi became the owner of Kiviranta, and he had some of his grandfather about him. Like Oskar, he was interested in successfully running the estate, and devoted much of his spare time to his inheritance. He supported and encouraged the head groundsman, and did all he could to assist in and further the work at Kiviranta, particularly the growing of crops.

When Paavo Kivi died in 1975, the estate was unable to find anyone to continue in his footsteps, so the selling of Kiviranta began piece by piece. Eventually the whole estate was sold. Kiviranta has, however, secured its place in the history of Huittinen and Satakunta. Its various stages chronicle Finnish farming and the changes in thinking through the ages and generations.

 

This text has been translated from a short history written by the last head groundsman, Heikki Mattelmäki. He looked after Kiviranta, implementing many new ideas and methods, for around thiry years.

In 1984, Kiviranta was divided into land, equipment and buildings and sold at auction. The buildings were sold to three businessmen, who turned it into a popular venue for functions and weddings.

The current owners have only been at Kiviranta since 2005. By coincidence, having already bought the estate they discovered they had a connection with the last groundsman - their daughter-in-law is the oldest granddaughter of Heikki and Hilkka Mattelmäki.

 
Content © Kivikasvi Oy, pictures © or used with permission.