“Herresalen” was built by Pastor Niels Griis Alstrup Dahl (1778-1852). Dahl came as a curate to Eivindvik parish in 1804, became the parish pastor in 1807, and later the senior pastor for the whole of Outer Sogn, as well as mayor of Gulen and member of parliament for the old county Nordre Bergenhus Amt. Pastor Dahl was the only member of parliament from the rural areas who voted against the union with Sweden.
Dahl was educated in Copenhagen, and was influenced by the ideas of liberty, enlightenment and public education that were coursing through Europe after the French Revolution. When he came to Eivindvik, times were hard. Eivindvik parish was large and poor and difficult to run, and the parsonage was in a bad state of repair. In less than 50 years, however, Dahl had organised the redistribution of farming land within the entire parish, many years before the destructive practice of strip farming had been eradicated from agriculture in Norway. The farmers learned to practise rotation of crops, and to fertilise and look after the soil. Dahl had everyone in the parish vaccinated and also appointed a midwife. It was said that Dahl bought up several drinking establishments in the parish, including Skjerjehamn, and closed them down, in order to rid the area of drunkenness.
Dahl built “Herresalen” as his residence in 1819. The timber-built house is in Neoclassical (Empire) style and served as the parsonage until 1902. The council chamber on the first floor was where the municipal council met right until the mid-1980s. The Prestekaia (Pastor’s quay) and stone steps up to the church are also Dahl’s work. In older times, transport was mainly by boat, and on the Sundays when Dahl was due to deliver his sermon the boats lay cheek by jowl at the Prestekaia quay in Eivindvik. Herresalen is now used as a public library.
Parsonage wall and the path to the waterworks
Behind the municipal council building is the starting point for a large network of walking trails around Eivindvik. You can walk around the impressive parsonage wall, which formerly went round all the cultivated fields in the parsonage. It is about 1.5 kilometres long and was intended to separate the arable land from outlying pasture. The wall was built in stone in order to spare the trees (and perhaps also to avoid the fire risk). Built by local farmers, working for what was said to be 1 Norwegian krone a day, the wall was finished in around 1825.
You can also walk to the waterworks and then continue to Rimmane or Høgefjellet and Kjerringnova, or take to the right and make the climb up to the Mikkelfjellet mountain. There are many cleared and marked walking trails in the Eivindvik area which will take you up to vantage points offering some fantastic views. Enjoy your walk!
Memorial to Pastor Dahl
In 2002, in connection with the 150th anniversary of the death of Niels Griis Alstrup Dahl in 1852, a memorial stone was unveiled commemorating Dahl’s life and work, made by the sculptor Elisabeth Steen. The memorial stone is placed in the park area below the council building.
This little white house stands by the churchyard in the middle of the old assembly site in Eivindvik. It dates from the 16th century and was used to provide accommodation and facilities for travelling churchgoers. It is the oldest building in Eivindvik and as such is automatically preserved.