church builder

Jaakko Klemetinpoika Leppänen was the first well-known church builder from Central Finland. Leppänen is assumed to have been born approximately during the period of the Great Hate (1714-1721). He already worked in and around churches when he lived in Saarijärvi in the 1750s. Leppänen took part in the renovation and construction of several churches and bell towers in Central Finland. Leppänen's most important works date back to the 1760s. Leppänen's masterpiece, the building of the small cruciform log church of Petäjävesi, was completed in 1763-65. The church has been preserved until this day in its original form, being the best kept wooden cruciform church and purest in style in Finland. Petäjävesi Old Church, which Leppänen built, was accepted onto UNESCO's World Heritage list in 1994.

Leppänen's last project was probably the bell tower erected next to Jämsä church in 1768. Soon after he passed away. His profession of church builder was inherited by his son Jaakko Jaakonpoika Leppänen, builder of the chapel-of-ease in Jyväskylä, and by his grandson Eerik Jaakonpoika Leppänen, erector of the bell tower of Petäjävesi Old Church.

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