A Raahelainen's 1800s closed yard

Swanljung's house is occupied by three families: Pertti with his brother on the left, Inga-sister on the right and the tenants in the middle

When the busy traffic from the street drives into the Swanljung yard, you can forget about the bustling town and let your imagination go back in time to the 19th century.

Pertti Swanljung has lived his whole life in Brahenkatu. The original and genuine occupiers have preserved the environment and courtyard for a trip back in time.

The history of the Swanljung courtyard begins after the Raahe Fire (1810). The town plan before the fire extended to Reiponkatu. After the fire, a new market was opened in the centre of the town and was the present day Pekka Tori. The town was extended to the east and south.

Merchant Daniel Jurvelius moved from Oulu to Raahe. He built the house around 1815 in a new area designed by Gusfaf Odenwall for Stora gatan. The logs were imported from Salvador.

In addition to the main building, the playground and yard buildings, which formed a typical closed yard, were built on the plot. The shop was at the end of the house. The outer door position can still be seen from the outside hatch. Rooms were built between the main building and the depot in the early 20th century. The house now has three apartments, a total of 15 rooms.

A handsome magazine with basement was filled with merchandise during the summer when sailing boats brought salt and coffee, for example. Now it conceals the heating system.

In 1830, the house changed ownership. It was purchased by Skellefteå of Raahe for the Tanner, Karl Stenman. In the backyard you can still see the tanning vats.

Stenman's daughter, Matilda inherited the house. She married Albert Luoma. Luoma had moved to Raahe after taking the mayor's office. The house came up for sale when Luoma became an assistant judge of the Turku Court of Appeal and the family moved away from Raahe.

The story of the Swanljung family in Raahe begins in 1828, when Carl Gustav (1797-1855) came here as a notary and bought a house in Kirkkokatu. He married Catharina Frieman. They had seven children, the fourth being Carl August. The baby became a sea captain. He married Sofia Montini. There were nine boys born to the couple.

One of the boys, Pertti's grandfather, John Swanljung (1872-1951) bought this house on May 10, 1909. "In the spring, the store will mark hundred years", said Pertti.

Pertti tells that Grandpa studied as a veterinarian in Denmark. The boy's godfather, wealthy bachelor, Ivar Frieman funded the studies. Initially, Grandpa acted as a district veterinary surgeon in Ylivieska, but then, at his own request, transferred to Raahe.

The childless couple took Gertrud (1918-2004) an orphan Munsala. The girl's mother had died in Spain 14 days after her birth. That was how Pertti's future mother came to Raahe and this plot.

Guy Swanljung (1911-1983) was hired by ship brokers O. Swanljung (Ossi's grandfather) which operated from the neighbouring plot. The gentle flag and the young men went to the priest in the morning. Four children were born into the family. As timber exports stalled, the export industry and ship brokers came to difficulties in the 1950s.

Guy founded a Photographers. Many Raahelainens remember him for his school photos. Aimo Vuola, a school rector once ordered class pictures from a photographer in Turku. - He praised how good the pictures were to Guy. - That's a picture that I took, father commented. - He got to take class pictures again, laughs Pertti, who often helped his father with the cameras.

Pertti retired after 25 years in the service of Raahe Oy and Kone Oy and 11 years as the Ollinsaari school caretaker. A large house with courtyards requires constant care, so there are no problem with what to do in one's free time.

- The house has been refurbished a little by little. I've done a lot, he explains. Father taught him the skills of nicknames. He is sorry that a cheap loan from Arava loan was not available for repairing the old house.

The room layout of the Swanljung House has been preserved as original. Many of the furniture are the grandfather's bequest. Iin the entrance hall  tands a clock from 1846. Her grandfather bought it from Pyhäjoki's Elo's house. - He was supposed to donate a clock to the museum, but he never did, Pertti told.

The clock in the living room is a clock made by the clockmaster Ekin. Samuli Paulaharju writes that Saloisten village in Hiitola that is included in the "Hiitola champion," the old Matti Ek, who took care of the Raahe timetables.

Pertti has restored the Gustavian and many other pieces of furniture. Those chairs have belonged to the circuit physician Ehrstöm.

Old nurturing is Pertti's way of life. At the so-called Pattijoki Customs he puts a speed limit and a sign saying, "You have arrived in the Old Town!" - Heavy traffic rumbles along Brahenkatu so much that the house shakes, she complains.

Brahenkatu 21, the facts:

  • 1815, merchant Daniel Jurvelius built the house
  • 1830, leather tanner master Karl Stenman bought the house
  • 1909 John Swanljung (Pertti's grandfather) bought the house
  • 1935 Guy Swanljung moved to Raahe
  • 1956 Water pipes installed
  • 1967 Central heating installed
  • 1979 Metal roof fitted
  • 1999 Swanljungs received from Oulu district a medal for preserving the property and its closed yard.

A work in Progress

This website is a real-time and living project. These pages are being actively translated into English and you will find many missing texts and possibly even a few mistakes. We have decided to make all the current information available as and when.