The Seafarers, a sailing club established in 1922, signed a lease on the island for 50 years. The Finnish government had gained control of the island after the end of Russian rule in Finland. The island had become a base for smugglers, and The Seafarers were expected to evict them from the island. One of the requirements of the lease agreement was that a dockmaster with an angry dog should live on the island in the summer. Story has it that this angry dog would herd the sheep on the island so intensely that a sheep once jumped through a window and landed in the middle of a dinner table in the Piper Room.
The restaurant was designed by architect Oiva Kallio. He is known for his functionalist style, and thanks to him, the island is also the home of Finland’s first functionalist sauna, dating from 1932. The relief of a ship on a wall in his summer house, Villa Oivala, is similar to that at Särkänlinna. Oiva Kallio was one of the founding members of The Seafarers, which is often called a “sailing club for architects”. Its long-time members also included designer Paavo Tynell, who designed unique lighting pieces for the dining room in the 1940s. The founding members also included other prominent figures, such as Senator Paasikivi, who later became the seventh president of Finland (1946–1956), and Lauri Kristian Relander, who became the second president of Finland (1925–1931).
During the Helsinki Summer Olympics in 1952, Särkkä served as the sailing event centre. A total of 93 boats from 29 countries participated in the events. The award ceremonies were held on Särkkä, and the original podium is still there.
In 1991, Särkkä became a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of Suomenlinna. The World Heritage Sites are buildings, structures or natural sites that are important in terms of their natural environments or cultural heritage.