The Raphaelsons’ sawmill
The Raphaelsons’ sawmill, on one hand, is a reminder of a time when the industry had been developing rapidly in the city. On the other hand – it is a chance to combine the old with the new and to revitalise the buliding thanks to the “Musem of Modernity”.
The sawmill is located at Knosały street, in the former industrial district of Olsztyn – the area located between the present Niepodległości and Pieniężnego streets and a bend of the Łyna River. For instance here also functioned other sawmills, a gas plant, a machinery factory, breweries and a factory producing vinegar and mustard.
The building was erected in 1884. Its owners were the brothers Louis and Rudolf Raphaelsohn, who were ranked back then as among the elite of Olsztyn's entrepreneurs. The family also owned a brickyard, which was founded by their father, Moritz Hirsch Raphaelsonhn.
To this day, the main building with its bolted construction has survived. Once from the side of the Łyna River there was a swimming pool connected to the river, which served to unload the floating timber. From the south side, there was a boiler-house with a steam machine adjacent to the building, and from the north – a chimney. The latter, however, has not been preserved, likewise a shed, storing raw materials. In time, the complex expanded to include new buildings – the administrative part and a one-storey extension.
In 1930 the factory moved to Lubelska street, and the sawmill buildings were taken over by the City’s Utilities. After World War II, the City’s Transport Services were located in here, which placed rest and refreshment room for employees. The changes made to the buildings obliterated most traces of their original purpose. In 1987, the former sawmill was abandoned and fell into disrepair from that time. This situation lasted until 2011, when its revitalization was launched for the purpose of the Centre of Technology and Development of the Region's “Museum of Modernity”. The idea behind the project is not only to save the building, but giving it a new function. Thanks to this, the memory of a time when this district was teeming with life will survive. The museum is scheduled to open in 2014.