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26.07.2020

The House of the Fire Chief, Helsinki

The House of the Fire Chief is a wooden building in Kruununhaka, built no later than 1818, which is the oldest wooden house in the centre of Helsinki. Alexander Wickholm, who worked as a spraying master, bought it as an apartment for his family in 1859. The house is one of the locations of the Helsinki City Museum and was restored to show the family life of a family of 1860s civil servants. The property includes a one-storey main building and a building in the yard, but at one time there was also a stable, a barn, a carriage and a wooden barn. These buildings were demolished in 1905 and replaced by a three-storey stone house. The courtyard building was used as a sauna, bakery and living room. Originally the main building was painted red, but by the time Wickholm bought the house it was already painted yellow. 

The fire commander's house was originally built by the widow of a sailor, Christina Vertin.  The work started at a time when Helsinki was being built with energy. Among other things it was decided to build the Finnish Imperial Senate in Kruununhaka at that time. Helsinki became the capital of Finland six years earlier in 1812.  Alexander Wickholm bought the building from Kristina Wurtin in 1859. The plot with its buildings remained in the Wickholm family until 1974, when Martta Breuer's granddaughter sold it to the city of Helsinki. The museum was opened to the public in 1980. Before that, it was reconstructed in 1978-1980. The renovation was planned by the Helsinki City Building Agency, architect Aino Tandefelt-Laurila.

The courtyard building of the house was closed due to air problems in the room, as repairs in the 1970s and maples, which grew next to the stone leg, damaged the moisture in the house. In spring 2016, the frame of the house will be renovated according to traditional construction methods. During the renovation of the 1970s, the ventilated pink bottom was demolished, but in the new renovation it will be restored. The museum will be opened in 2017. 

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