History of the Town
The first written note about Tanvald as a timber settlement located on the left bank of the river Kamenice is coming from the second half of the 16th century. At that time the settlement was probably maintained by the village of Smržovka. From the beginning of the 17th century Tanvald probably exists independently. People lived here a very poor life. The land provided just very modest harvest, and the serfs had to work for their nobles in the forests and in the agriculture. In the beginning of the 18th century local people started to grow flax and produce flax yarn that was sold to places with developed hand weaving. In the half of the 18th century peasants and cottage owners themselves started to weave the flax by hand. At that time all the houses were standing in the area of the town part Upper Tanvald (Horní Tanvald). The river Kamenice valley was made up by forests; there were only some small water mills.
In the beginning of the 19th century the main economic activity was still agriculture. There were two mills and two glass-cutting mills. The production of flax yarn and the weaving of flax linen was developing and nearby the confluence of the river Kamenice and the river Desná there were two bleaching grounds. Later, another kind of textile started to be processed in Tanvald - cotton. In the years 1827 - 1828 the first machine-spinning mill of cotton was built. It was driven by water. The development of cotton industry caused faster settlement of the Tanvald area. At the new spinning mill they built a repairing workshop which later became the fundament of the machinery production in the whole area and its surrounding. In 1845 the first machine-weavery was built. The overall economic boom was supported by the building of the state street between Liberec and Trutnov in the years 1847 - 1850.
The changes in the revolutionary year 1848, in which the constitutional monarchy was proclaimed by the Ceasar´s decree, had a big impact on Tanvald. Tanvald became a self-governing court district that was inferior to the higher district authority in Liberec. From 1868 Tanvald got under the newly created district authority in Jablonec. After the Prussia-Austrian War in 1866 economic growth brought further development of the textile, glass and machinery industry. The working hours were decreased from 15 to 12 to 13 working hours per day and there were less children working in the factories. In the year 1869 Tanvald´s population together with the village Žďár was approximately 2400 people. The economic growth overcame to stagnation and recession in the beginning of 1870s. The unemployment rate increased and workers were striking very often. The most famous strike was organized in the Liebig factory in Svárov in 1870.
In spite of unfavorable economic cycles the industries in the Tanvald area developed. With the industrial boom quality transportation got necessary. The street transportation got insufficient and that is why the train line Tanvald-Šumburk-Železný Brod began to operate in 1875. In the year 1894 Tanvald got connected to the train line Liberec-Jablonec-Tanvald.
In April 1895 Tanvald was promoted to a market town. At that time Tanvald´s population reached approximately 3500 people who were mostly of German nationality. In the summer 1902 the current train lines were extended to Kořenov, and a few months later the line was prolonged to Jelenia Gora (Hirschberg). In 1905 Tanvald got promoted to a town. In 1908 the town got a new building of the district court in the Krkonošská Street. One year later the construction of the secession-style building of the Town Hall finished.
Tanvald area got affected very much by the World War I. The war caused a very big shortage of cotton. Factories were not able to work on full capacity. The area got even poorer after the rip-up of the dam on the river Bílá Desná in 1916. There was a huge poverty and hunger among the population.
In the autumn 1918 the dream of all workers came true. Eight working hours per day were set up by the law. In the year 1928 the self-governing district was cancelled, only the district court stayed.
In 1930 the bath pool was opened. One year later the town´s cinema started its operation by the performance of the first sound film. In the beginning of 1930s the economic growth got over. The Great Depression in the years 1929 - 1933 brought a massive unemployment. Some factories in the Tanvald area stopped their production. The difficult economic situation enabled the boom of political extremism. The thinking of people was strongly influenced by the Henlein´s Sudetendeutsche Partei that successfully attracted more and more followers. The difficult political situation peaked in 1938 when the borderland called Sudety (Sudetenland) was torn off from the Czechoslovakia. In October 1938 Tanvald was occupied by the German Army. In November Germans occupied also surrounding villages and towns, such as Velké Hamry, Plavy, Haratice, Bohdalovice and Zlatá Olešnice. The education in Czech language was cancelled. Local textile companies were forced to change their production. They produced military material only. In 1942 Germans founded here a working camp for Russians, Polish, French, Italians and other foreign workers forced to military production. In 1942 Tanvald and Šumburk were administratively unified. Meanwhile, the town part Svárov was separated from Tanvald and became a part of Velké Hamry.
After the War German population was forced to leave the Sudetenland. Empty houses were settled by people from the Czech inland. A lot of people came to work in the Tanvald area. They were mostly employed by the newly nationalized companies, such as SEBA (textile industry), ELECTRO-PRAGA (electrotechnical industry), and TOTEX (machinery). In Tanvald there are also the roots of the Czech TV broadcasting. Already during the War were German researchers making trials in the factory of the company Palme-Stumpe. In 1948 the Czechoslovak Radio Broadcasting (Československý Rozhlas) together with the Military Technical Institute (Vojenský technický ústav) invited journalists to watch the first TV transmission. On a small screen they saw a speaker and also the first entertainment show in the Czechoslovakia. The first TV signal was caught in the year 1948 on the lookout tower Štěpánka. The transmission showed the last meeting of the sport organization Sokol (Všesokolský Slet) in Prague. The development of the TV broadcasting was then taken over by the company Tesla and other researching institutes.
The 1950s meant building of socialism and industrial boom. In 1960s the construction work began on the housing estate in Výšina. The last houses were built in the second half of 1980s. At that time the construction of another 144 flats began on the housing estate in Šumburk. Gradually, tourism was getting more important; new accommodation possibilities appeared; the services for tourists and skiers, that were coming to the Jizera Mountains from the whole Czechoslovakia, Germany, and Poland, were extensified.
After the 1989´s Velvet Revolution the situation changed rapidly. The majority of enterprises got privatized. Some of them substantially cut the number of their employees, but on the other hand a lot of new businesses were founded. Though Tanvald stayed an industrial town, the tourism started to gain on its importance in the town´s overall development. Thus, the town management has been emphasizing the improvement of the Tanvald´s appearance, and substantial extensification and improvement of services for the public.
The village of Šumburk
The first notes about the village of Šumburk are coming from the beginning of the 17th century. Šumburk was developing in a very similar way as Tanvald was - first growing of flax, production of flax yarn and later weaving. Meanwhile, the other parts, such as Český Šumburk (Czech Šumburk) and Hoření Šumburk (Upper Šumburk) were still agricultural. Till the year 1848 Šumburk had three spinning mills of cotton and one weavery. The next weavery was built by the entrepreneur Johann Liebig in the Šumburk´s part Svárov in 1857.
In 1896 one of the local weaveries burned out. After its restoration it was changed into a power plant that was driven by water and steam. One year later the Šumburk´s and Tanvald´s main street had already electric lighting. In August 1901 Šumburk got its own church building. In 1906 Šumburk was promoted to a market town. In 1925 Šumburk got the status of a town.
The village of Žďár
The small agricultural settlement was founded step by step in the 17th century. It is located on the foot of the hill Špičák, in the northern part of Tanvald. The village was alligned to Tanvald in 1848. In the second half of the 19th century industry started to develop in this village. There were built a machine-spinning mill of cotton and four glass-cutting mills. In the beginning of the 20th century Žďár had its own school, main station, and slaughterhouse.