When the first sawmill of the region was built on Laitakari 1862, the city of Kemi (1869) did not even exist yet. For decades to come, wood economy was the driving force behind northern Finlands development. Timber floating, cutting and export brought bread to table of many for over hundred years, and although other steam operated sawmills sprung up along all over Finland and especially along its northwestern coastline, Laitakari sawmill operated until 1939. At its peak in the 1920’s, more than 300 people worked as well as lived on the island. Apart from housing, the infrastructure included a general store and the islander’s very own school on adjacent Juurakko. Even after the sawmill was shut down, Laitakari continued to serve as a storage area for raw and cut timber and kept playing a role in the timber floating process. Only when the last inhabitants left the island in 1966, 104 years after the sawmill started working, did mother nature reclaim her territory. What is left today, is a number of remains including the sawmill foundations, a fragment of the power house chimney and even the partial wall of the sawmill company’s safe in the former headquarter building. Apart from that, Laitakari will capture you with its tranquility, its abundant nature and in the midst of all of it the captivating sight of remains of times long gone by. If you’re lucky, you might even come across a few of the island’s present day inhabitants: sheep.