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Public services increase

The operation of the public school in the church town started as a private project in 1876, and four years later the municipal council decided to build a school building near the church, next to the courthouse. Several villages soon followed suit and the administrator’s comprehensive school network began to grow, although in the early decades it was supported by a circuit school maintained by the parish.

Kuusamo’s health care belonged at the beginning of the 19th century to the Oulu district doctor’s treatment area. The centre of the heath care area, formed in the middle of the century, became Pudasjärvi, under which a pharmaceutical warehouse was established in Kuusamo. The first health care post for a midwife was established in 1893. When the municipality of Kuusamo was formed into its own regional medical district, it was decided to build a hospital as a project of the municipality. It was completed in 1906, and then began its operation under the direction of a doctor hired for the position. Soon after this, Kuusamo’s pharmacy became independent, managed by its own pharmacist.

An important part of the development of the church town and Kuusamo as a whole, was the expansion of trade at the turn of the century. Several private shops were established along roads Kitkantie and Ouluntie, and Kuusamo Osuuskauppa co-op right at their intersection. The purchasing power of the officials, entrepreneurs and salary workers who settled in the municipality and its church town created even wider opportunities for the expansion of commerce, which was also supported by the improvement of transport connections to the neighbouring villages.

The First World War was relatively little visible in Kuusamo at first, weapons supplied to Russia by the surrounding powers were transported by horse loads from Murmansk through Kuusamo to Oulu, to be exported and from there by rail to St. Petersburg. Even more important for the town was the construction of the Murmansk railway from Petroskoi to the far end of Kola Bay. During the war, hundreds of people from Kuusamo worked in this major project carried out by international forces. Otherwise, during almost the entire period of Russian rule, the people of Kuusamo had close contact with Russia across the border, especially in the field of trade.