This summer, Havremagasinet opens a new exhibition devoted to the unique history and use of the building. In doing so, we want to pay tribute to the building and acknowledge the ingenious system that was invented to store food for the most important friend of the military – the horse.
All historical flashbacks starts somewhere. For the then small society of Boden, it all started back in 1900. At that time, it was decided that the small city would become a military fortress to defend the country against enemy attacks in the north. Following this decision, Boden got a huge upswing, and in just a few years, the city saw its population increase threefold, with people pouring in from all over the country. The massive construction of military fortifications around the city began, and 600,000 t of stone was cut out of the mountains. One of the stone buildings was Havremagasinet. The warehouse was completed in 1913, and is still to this day one of the largest buildings in Boden.
However, it is not just any building; it is a temple for what was most important during the war: i.e., feeding the best friend and greatest support of the soldier. The horse. All units at this time were horse-drawn, and horses need fuel. Keeping the horses of the military in operation required large quantities of oats, which sparked the construction of four strategically located oat warehouses around the country, one of which was placed in Boden. The challenge was to provide the Upper Norrland Military Area with feed between 1913 and 1950, while the operation was running. After that, the military started replacing the horses with motor driven vehicles.
The system of Havremagasinet was operational and uniquely designed, and the machinery was delivered from Germany. The grain was transported by rail to Southern Boden, located just a few meters from the rear of the warehouse. On the ground floor were slots, through which the grain was inserted. It was then transferred to the middle section of the building with a simple, but ingenious screw device. From here, the grain reached the attic by elevators, using buckets attached to the elevator belts. In the attic, the grain was dried in special bins. Prior to transport back down to the ground floor, it automatically passed through a gin, to finally be ready for delivery. An automatic scale was used that could be set to either 50 or 100 kg. The grain was weighed and distributed in 100 kg bags, which were then delivered to the units across Upper Norrland. It was a simple, but carefully constructed design that kept the tremendous amount of oats from being destroyed by moisture and pests.
Havremagasinet was designed by architect Erik Josephson. The building is supported by a total of 288 wooden pillars, positioned across the seven floors, a total of 3,600 square meters. During the time as supply centre, the warehouse consisted of 48 bins with a total capacity of up to 2,000 t of oats. In times of crisis, such as during World War II, all the bins were always filled.
Today Havremagasinet is one of the landmark buildings in Boden, and since 2010, the warehouse has turned into one of the largest Art Galleries in Sweden.