The story of Tampere House

Early years

Not much is known about the older buildings located on plot no. 59 in the city of Tartu. It is known that Pastor Pegius built a new house on the site after the great fire of 1667. However, in the Great Northern War, the house was destroyed, and until the revision of the 1730s, the plot had nothing but the ruins of a stone house built by Pegius. The next owner, Carl Joachim Reisenstein, built a small wooden house with two rooms and an attic on the south-eastern edge of the plot. The house built by Reisenstein is the narrower and lower part of the current Tampere House exhibition hall. After Reisenstein, the house changed hands several times, until in 1764 it was bought by the widow Anna Margaretha Hannemann.

Time of widow Anna Margarethe, tavern in the basement

The lady had a room and a chamber in the house, and there was also a stable in the yard. A servant and a maid also lived in the house with the hostess. In the great fire of 1775, most of the city burned down, but the buildings on plot no. 59 remained. Anna Margaretha’s new husband Nicolai Christian Franzius began to expand her house during the city’s rebuilding. Franzius built a wider and higher part of the house. In this way, the building retained its present dimensions. The house had a total of ten rooms and two fireplaces. After her husband’s death, widow Anna Margaretha began to have an inn in the basement of her large house. The inn was located in two basement rooms in the older part of the house, under the current gallery. The widow sold the entire property in 1807, and it eventually became the property of the Kraack merchant family.

Time of widow Anna Margarethe, tavern in the basement

There was also a tavern in the basement during the Kraacks. According to the 1851 census, widow Kraack lived in the house with her 33- and 26-year-old daughter. The house had 7 fireplaces. There were two partly stone, partly wooden outbuildings in the yard, a wooden barn and a stable with a carriage shed. There was a well in the northern corner of the plot. In 1869, Kraack’s heirs sold the land and facilities to Baron Ernst von Nolcken. After the baron’s death, the widow built a dairy shop in the basement of the newer part of the house in 1903. The basement club of Tampere House currently operates in these premises. In 1911, a magnificent Art Nouveau stable with a shed was built at the back of the plot.

From Baron Nolked to Soviet times

The last private owner of the property was Eleonore von Ungern-Sternberg. During the Soviet era, the house was nationalized. The building was divided into 12 small apartments.
At the end of the Soviet era, in 1988, one of Tartu’s first private shops – the leather goods store “Maie” – opened in the basement of the house.