History of Neitsytniemi
The history of the Neitsytniemi manor goes back to the 1600s, when Queen Christina of Sweden donated lands in the village of Siitola to the Latvian Baron Reinhold von Ungern-Sternberg. The estate was later turned into a manor, and, in the course of history, its owners would experience both the Swedish and Russian reigns as well as the birth of travel and industry in Finland and along the Vuoksi river. The history of the Neitsytniemi manor is a significant part of the history of Imatra. The stories related to the manor tell a lot about life on the border of the Western and Eastern cultural spheres. The manor is a notable landmark in the nationally significant cultural landscape by the Vuoksi river, which is rich in fish.
This manor was inhabited by people such as surveyor Henrik B. Zilliacus (1797-1829), registrar Henrik J. Zilliacus (1797-1858), and senator Wilhelm Zilliacus (1823-1887). Perhaps recalling the Neitsytniemi of their home town of Vyborg, the Zilliacus family decided to call their estate Neitsytniemi, which was both occupied permanently and used as a summer house. The most famous member of the Zilliacus family may well be Konrad (“Konni”) Viktor Zilliacus, the lawyer, author, riding horse breeder and independence advocate who spent the free time of his youth at Neitsytniemi. Harking back to these days, Konni Zilliacus wrote: “There was nothing that could compare to the loveliness of the summer in that remote corner of Karelia. The healthy outdoor life at Neitsytniemi offered everything a young man could hope for. One could roam the meadows, hunt for game in the thickets, and above all fish for salmon in the Tainionkoski rapids, which is unique in its beauty.
The name of von Nottbeck is associated with a long chapter in the period of strong economic growth in our country. William von Nottbeck, the owner of the Finlayson cotton mill, was a driver of the entire national economy in his day, whose mill saw for example the city of Tampere grow and develop in giant leaps during the years 1860-1890. The Neitsytniemi manor was bought in 1889 by William von Nottbeck’s son Edvard Aleksander, born 1853, who was one of the owners and directors of Finlayson. Nottbeck estate manager Juho Helminen relates the following about the life and social circles of the von Nottbeck family:
The Nottbecks led a handsome life. No-one in the area was good enough to be invited to their parties, although many who considered themselves gentlemen would have liked to have sat down at the Nottbeck table. The guests who visited the manor in the summer when the host family happened to be present were of the high nobility, including princes and princesses, barons and baronesses from Helsinki, St. Petersburg, or foreign lands. Handsome women side by side with noble men. The richness of salmon in the Vuoksi river was astounding. The Nottbeck fish traps could catch 100 kilograms of salmon on a bad day.
Tornator and later Enso-Gutzeit used the main house as a residency for their upper management. The first to live there was executive director Eugen Wolff, who was followed in 1919 by his successor and later mining councillor Aleks Lampén, who lived there until 1932. More recent inhabitants have been upper managers of the owning corporation.
No information concerning the earlier buildings at Neitsytniemi remains, only guesses as to where the old structures may have stood. The most recent drawing of the Tainionkoski rapids, the end of the main house, and the boat sheds by the river is dated to 1884. In 1895, as the old main building began to deteriorate, the Nottbecks commissioned drawings for a villa from architect Karl August Wrede, which were used to build a new main house for the manor. It was completed around the year 1900 and stands to this day. It has undergone several modifications, but its appearance is largely unchanged. It is said that the floor plan for the building was made according to the summer residence of the President of the United States, as wished by Nottbeck’s spouse Eugenie. Eugenie, née von Nottbeck, had fallen in love with the American lifestyle when living in New York with her father, the consul general at the Russian embassy. - One might add that the lady in question must have fallen sufficiently deeply in love with England, presumably thanks to her English-born mother, to have her teeth fixed in London.
HISTORY OF THE NEITSYTNIEMI MANOR
- 1743-1887 the Zilliacus family
- 1887-1889 Baron Langenskiöld
- 1889-1914 Esquire Edvard von Nottbeck
- 1914-1932 Tornator
- 1932-1984 Enso-Gutzeit limited company
- 1985-2019 the City of Imatra