The current housing structure takes shape about the 1770s, date on which, by the order of Emperor Joseph II of Austria, logging centers were founded in Vişeu and Borşa. Along with the locals, forestry workers originating in the German county of Zips (now Slovakia), were settled in the area. They added to the dozens of Saxon families that settled in the area already since 1743 and were working in mining. Along with subsequent waves of German settlers (from Salzburg and Tyrol in 1775, the Salzkammergut in 1776, Gmunden in 1778 and Bavaria in 1784), German-speaking forest workers will constitute the core of the “ţipţer” community. The German settlers were overwhelmingly of Roman Catholic confession.
By 1780, settlers began to transform the locality and built the first mill in the eastern side of the town, the dam in Măcârlău, they establish the Vişeu de Sus treasury’s elementary school (1788) and in 1790 they build the dam of Făina. Also in 1790 the Roman Catholic Parish in town is established and in 1798 the first school opens. The first sawmill in Vişeu de Sus is built by the “ţipţer” in 1809.
The dams that were built in Macârlău and Făina were the starting points of the “ţipţer” rafts men, on Vaser and Tisa, into the Danube. Wood was gathered in the dams with water, where rafts were built, which were then lead downwards on water chutes. Large quantities of wood were transferred, equivalent to 100 rail freight cars, the money relating to such transactions being retrieved in the Royal Bank of Vişeu, just before the return of the “ţipţer” from their trip.
With the arrival of the German settlers forest logging intensifies, the occupations related to this activity become attractive also for residents of the surrounding or more distant areas of the county of Maramureş, so that, gradually, Romanians, Hungarians and Ruthenians, combining logging with animal breeding, settle in the locality. With the mid-nineteenth century also emigration of Jews from Galicia intensifies, which we find in all walks of life, from forestry workers, to craftsmen and traders.
That is how, in the interwar period, the town population was very diverse, both ethnically and in terms of the confessions. At the 1930 census, Vişeu de Sus had a population of 7.760 inhabitants: 2,500 Roman Catholics (German and Hungarian), 2500 Mosaic (Jewish) 2,500 Greek Catholics (Romanian), the rest were Ruthenians.
By the Vaser Valley, the “ţipţers” planted spruce, they cared for tree nurseries, cleared forests, sent rafts downriver to Sighet, Vişeu and Borşa, built rafts on water, roads and wooden bridges.
"Butinarii" (woodmen) and “ţapinarii” (lumberers), as local forest workers are called, were working in the woods during the week, in cabins called „finlandeze”, (Finnish), with the fire place in the middle of rooms and beds arranged radially, to warm up and to dry clothes, and having a „căimăniţă”, a woman cooking for the workers. They went down to the city only on Saturdays.
The wood was cut with axes, rolled by peaveys to the water chutes and then down water to be collected in the dams in Măcârlău și Făina and from here, built into rafts, they were sent on the Vaser waters and further on the Tisa. Many customs of the “ţipţer” colonist’s habits were taken on also by Romanians. Today wood from the Vaser valley is transported by the narrow gauge railway.
The town of Vișeu de SusK2_MORE_INFO
The evolution of Vişeu de Sus as an urban locality is directly linked to logging and the multicultural character of its inhabitants. A local legend tells that the town was founded by a woodcutter, whose son died struck by a tree in the forest. In memory of his son, he built a church on the site of the tragic accident, and around the church then a locality had grown, first called „Între Râuri”/"Between the Rivers" because it stretched between the rivers Vişeu and Vaser.