Haapajärvi is a city in Finland located in the province of
Northern Ostrobothnia. The city has a population of 6,992 and covers
an area of 789.12 km², of which 22.93 km² are water bodies. The
population density is 9.13 inhabitants / km².
The neighboring municipalities of Haapajärvi are Haapavesi, Kärsämäki, Nivala, Pihtipudas, Pyhäjärvi, Reisjärvi and Sievi. Lake Haapajärvi is part of Oulu South.
Haapajärvi city center is located at the intersection of highway 27 (Kalajoki – Iisalmi) and main road 58 (Kangasala – Kärsämäki). The Iisalmi – Ylivieska and Jyväskylä – Haapajärvi railways run through Haapajärvi, the latter of which has only freight traffic. Haapajärvi train station is located one kilometer from the city center.
Haapajärvi has been inhabited since the early Stone
Age, as the area was located along a large watercourse during the
Litorina period. The waters of Päijänne flowed through the
Hinkuanjoki River into the Gulf of Bothnia until about 4100 BC, when
they broke a new stream south of the Kymijoki River. Stone Age
settlements have been found e.g. from the area of dried
Settijärvi, Haapajärvi, Hinkuanjoki and Nuottijärvi.
In the Middle Ages, wilderness people from Häme and Upper Saxony arrived in the area. The area was permanently inhabited in the 1540s, when settlers arrived from Savo. The village of Haapajärvi was first mentioned in documents in 1547. At that time, the village was part of the parish of Kalajoki, which covered the entire Kalajoki Valley. In 1560, Haapajärvi had 4 houses inhabited by Juho Rautia, Lauri Ronkainen and Peter and Paavo Herrainen. The number of houses grew quite rapidly and at the beginning of the 17th century there were about twenty houses. After that, however, population development slowed down and after the Great Hate in 1730, the number of houses was only 17. At that time, the population began to grow rapidly. In 1750 there were 604 inhabitants and a hundred years later there were already 3,100.
The first inhabitants of Haapajärvi earned their living from birch burning, hunting and fishing. Tar burning was an important industry from the 17th century to the mid-19th century. Especially in the 18th century, a lot of tar was burned in Haapajärvi, although the transport connections to the coast were long and difficult. The tar was transported by horses along frozen bogs and waterways to the mouth of the Kalajoki River, where it was sold.
The first church in Haapajärvi was completed in 1650. Haapajärvi was founded as a prayer room in Kalajoki in 1647 and received the rights of a chapel congregation in 1698. When the extensive parish of Kalajoki was divided in 1838, Haapajärvi became an independent congregation. Reisjärvi and Nivala remained Haapajärvi chapels until 1868. The current church in Haapajärvi was completed in 1802 next to the former church. The church was thoroughly renovated in 1880.
The opening of the Ylivieska – Iisalmi line in 1925 marked a revival for the local business community. In 1924–1956, Haapajärvi was a densely populated community. The traffic significance of Haapajärvi continued to grow when the railway between Haapajärvi and Suolahti was opened to traffic in 1960. Thanks to its good traffic location, Haapajärvi developed rapidly. Kauppala Haapajärvi became in 1967 and it received city rights in 1977.