Cultural History of Freyjulundur
Ađalheiđur S. Eysteinsdóttir and Jón Laxdal Halldórsson bought Freyjulundur
early in 2004. By then, the house had gained a long history as an
administration, a school and a community center of Arnarneshreppur.
In 1914, the youth association of Möđruvellir and the district Arnarneshreppur
joined forces and built a local administration on the land of Grund.
The first part of the house was a single hall with three large windows facing
south. The first meeting took place in the 1st of November 1914, and a proud
secretary wrote, “Meeting held in the new facilities”. The youth association’s
minutes state that a carpenter in Akureyri, Sigtryggur Jónsson, drafted a
blueprint for the house. Another slightly different blueprint was handled
however and although no records exist of which one was used, Sigtryggur was
asked to oversee the construction.
Most records indicate that in 1927 a floor and basement were added to the east
side of the house. The women’s association Freyja had been founded and paid a
quarter of the expenses. The youth association paid another quarter, and the
district of Arnarneshreppur funded the rest. Estimated costs were 4000 kr.
A lot of people have approached Jón and Ađalheiđur to tell them various things
about the house. For example that the basement was originally a staple with a
low ceiling, and later when Grund (Freyjulundur) housed a school, the floor was
lowered and the space turned into two rooms. This seems to add up, as the walls
in the basement did not reach the floor level.
No accurate information was found on the beginning of school in Grund, but
teachers traveled between Möđruvellir, Hjalteyri and Grund since 1916. Regular
school is likely to have started in 1930 in Grund, which was also called
Reistará, and ended in 1948 when a school in Hjalteyri was established.
In autumn, 1956, Freyjulundur´s third part was finished. It was a kitchen,
restroom, dining room and a reception, built to the west side of the hall.
Together, these three buildings were a grand community center. Six tall windows
decorated a 22 meters long south side. The community center hosted balls,
gatherings, family reunions, theater plays and concerts, as well as meetings of
all kinds, bingo- and game nights and any other activity regarding the districts
Alongside the construction, ladies of the women’s association Freyja nurtured a
tree grove northwest of the house, namely Freyjulundur (Grove of Freyja). Older
residents of Arnarneshreppur have vivid memories of joyful times spent in
Freyjulundur, where they could educate themselves, enjoy culture and many found
love on romantic summer nights.
This joyful spirit floats in the air of Freyjulundur today, which got its forth
extension and overall facelift in 2004.
Ađalheiđur S. Eysteinsdóttir and Jón Laxdal Halldórsson started renovations of
Freyjulundur in July 1st 2004. Proper consents had been acquired to change the
community center into a resident and artists studio. The building had been
declared inhabitable, which meant repair and renewal of everything concerning a
single house. Logi Einarsson architect drafted, with input from Ađalheiđur, the
renovations and a 50-m2 addition to the north side of the house. Ólafur
Svanlaugsson oversaw the construction.
The addition consisted of two bedrooms for, as Jón pointed out, there are no
bedrooms in community centers, storage room, balcony and a small storage
beneath. The house is now 305 m2. Changes made to older parts of the house were
Closing a roofed arch outside the existing front doors and adding double doors
facing south made a new entryway. The kitchen and dining room were kept as they
were, but the lobby was converted into a large bedroom. The two bathrooms,
ladies and gents, were combined to make a single one. A wall was taken down
between the stage and stairway to the lower floor and a door was made to access
the balcony. One of the windows in the ballroom was changed into a double door,
to ease transport of larger pieces in and out of the house. Rooms on the lower
floor stayed as they were, two rooms, a storage, hallway and bathroom.
The summer in 2004 was exceptional for constructing houses. It hardly rained in
July, August and September, but then fall took over. Construction workers were
hired, but Ađalheiđur, her son Arnar, and Jón worked every day alongside them. A
lot of friends and family helped out, but special thanks are due to Logi
Einarsson, Ólafur Svanlaugsson, Sölvi Ingólfsson,Elli, Stefán Pálsson, Jósteinn,
Kristján Jósteinsson, Snorri Eyfjörđ Arnaldsson and Joris Rademaker.
In good weather, delightful atmosphere would emerge over grilled hotdogs or
coffee. Jón called Bjarni, an old worker in Akureyri, to get a recipe for
concrete. (Two buckets sand - one bucket cement - one bucket water.) The
philosophers and friends Jón and Sigurđur Ólafsson made concrete together and
poured into the foundation, which son-in-law Snorri had prepared with assistance
Walls were raised, floors and roof poured, and the housewife always ready for
the concrete in her pink sneakers. All jobs were done and if they didn’t know
how to, they asked for help. This always got them desired results, whether it
was operating heavy machinery or isolating the outside of the house. All pipes
to and from the house needed replacing. After looking into drilling for cold
water, which would have been very expensive, they started working on getting
water for the house from a nearby river, Reistará. Hot water had already been
led to the house from Hjalteyri.
The autumn was getting cold and goal was set on finishing before Christmas.
Construction workers worked hard on preparing and putting in windows and doors,
laying tiles and getting electricity and water up and running, while the family
painted walls and polished floors.
Ađalheiđur, Jón, Arnar and Brák moved into Freyjulundur December 16th 2004.
Lára Ágústa Ólafsdóttir, file clerk at the local administration, gathered
information about Freyjulundur from last century.