In the 1620’s, there was a tilthammer by the stream between the lakes Åmänningen and Virsbosjön. A few years later, the grounds and the hammer were bought by Christoffer Boije, who set up Virsbo ironworks. Approximately 250 tonnes of bar iron were produced annually until the end of the 19th century, when production increased.
Herman Lagercrantz developed and modernised the works in the 19th century. The new manor was built and extended in national romantic style and completed in 1918. The village grew with both privately owned houses and rented accommodation. The main street and the Art Nouveau factory plant by the water were added in 1943.
The Strömsholm Canal runs through Virsbo’s old works area, with industries on both sides. Downstream by the lock, closest to Virsbosjön, was an administrative office and a shop. The harbour was located a few hundred meters to the south-east, where timber from the saw mill was shipped via the canal. The ironworks relied on the canal boats for transport and owned several of them until the end of the 19th century. Today’s modern industrial area is located in Nordanö, two kilometres to the east.
A stroll through the area, past the locks and industrial buildings, offers a good insight into what it once was like. The well-preserved manor in national romantic style was designed by architect Lars Johan Lehming and today offers conference and dining facilities. The whitewashed warehouse houses historic archives and has a memorial room dedicated to Herman Lagercranz. Virsbo art gallery in the Art Nouveau building by the water is open for exhibitions on Saturdays and Sundays in the summer.