Managing the property

As well as running their business, several generations of the Engzelius family also managed farming activities with many animals in the stalls. The farm also owned large tracts of good land, ‘gardens’ or pastures, where winter feed for the animals was harvested.

Randi Borgos

Their summer accommodation and the summer dairy farms were situated just outside the town at Sundet and also in Malmagen in Funasdalen in Sweden. Half the cattle were herded to summer pasture at Vestre Malmagen. In the autumn the animals were herded back to Sundbakken where they were kept with the rest of herd until close to Christmas. Historical accounts tell us that people had something to talk about when they witnessed the Engzelius herds passing them on the way to summer pasture.

The census from 1865 gives us a good idea of the size and activity of the property. At that time the first Magnus Engzelius was still living in house no. 16, Leighgaarden, he was a 75 year old widower. His son, Johan Magnus Engzelius (1821-1893) was then 44 and was entered in documents as ‘Associate in his Father’s business’. He and his wife Anna up to that time had 4 children. In addition to the family the following people also lived on the property, a clerk, 3 shop assistants, 2 haberdashers, a housekeeper, a servant boy and no less than 4 maids. Livestock comprised 20 cows, 2 horses and 2 pigs.

In 1869 Johan Magnus Engzelius purchased Finnegaarden, house no. 13 at the bottom of Bergmannsgata, and converted it into his house and offices. Leighgaarden gradually became only used for the shop and the business. In 1879 Finnegaarden had the following inventory, main house, servants’ hall, outhouse with cattle sheds with 18 stalls, outhouse with 3 pens or stalls, 1 storehouse and 1 kitchen building.

It is recorded that Gustaf Engzelius (1859-1924), who took over the family business in 1897, was very interested in agriculture. He improved methods and made the farm much more efficient, and, during his time, the long cattle drive of animals up to Malmagen was discontinued. He, and his family, decided to use only Sundbakken as their summer residence and dairy. In a pamphlet about Norwegian trades and industries, published in 1949 there is an item about the Engzelius conglomerate, which states, ‘the business also owns Røros county’s largest farm.’ The properties on the Swedish side of the border, as well as the farm called, Hyddkroken, on the Norwegian side were operated by tenant farmers. The holding of livestock was discontinued during the years 1900 to 1910, but the family kept horses until the 1950s. The Engzelius family combined model farming and livestock husbandry at the same time as they were conducting varied business activities.