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Historical Raahe

History of Trade House of Lang

Trade House of Lang is situated in the lower Mansion of the property. Johan Lang has a long history of trade dating back to 1811 and going on untill 1934. The lower Mansion has remained as a part of the famous Pekka Square and has now been renovated into a Trade House offering interesting stories from the tall ships era of the town in the 1860s as well as stories of four different characters and their history during different periods in the 1800s. Trade House of Lang consists of a café, shop, B&B, restaurant, meeting and party facilites. The new owners bought the property in 2015 and have since then been busy renovating it to its former glory. The Trade House of Johan Lang had a long influence in the town of Raahe. Traders and the ladies of the Trade House, especially during the ”Franzen era”, left a remarkable legacy in the Raahe area. In 1811 after Raahe was burnt down, trademan Johan Lang had the Trade House built for trading and commerce. The lower Mansion consisted of two shops, the apartments for the trademan and the Maid, a brewery and accomodation for the peasants and stables for their horses. After the fire of Raahe on the 6th of October in 1810, trademan Johan Lang bought two properties in the north-western corner of the new Square. His house was situated on this spot had been destroyed in the fire, only the cellar was left. First Johan Lang built the lower Mansion in 1811 followed by the magnificent main building in the year to come.These buildings dominate the north western corner of the Square showing off the status and wealth of the propietor.

Pekka Square is the most important buildingcomplex of the town plan designed by Gustaf Odenwall (1811) after the fire. It was supposed to become the center of commerce and administration. The Square is surrounded by seven properties, all inhabited due to the fact that many of the mighty families built their houses around the Square. The new builders were the most considerable trademen, aldermen, merchants and shipowners. All the buildings surrounding the Square represent the wood classicism of the 1800s. This Square complex, built according to Italian Renaissance, is exceptionally well preserved and has international value as one of the best example of squares in Finnish wooden towns. Trade House of Lang was a typical coastal tradehouse where property deals were made and overseas trade was essential along with ship building. According to the wealth tax in 1800 the estate of Johan Lang was among the four largest in the country. The business was the biggest trade house in Northern Finland. It consisted of tall ships, sawmills and ironworks. In the 1820s and 1830s the biggest iron manufacturer was the Trade House of Lang.

The Trade House was inherited not once, but twice from father-in-law to son-in-law. First the merchant and shipowner Johan Lang was inherited by Zacharias Franzén and after his death the management was taken over by Fredrik Sovelius Jr, one of the many sons-in-laws. Johan Lang’s daughters Johanna Gustava and Charlotta both married into the Franzén family; Zacharias and Johan, and as a result two of the main merchant families in North of Finland were tied together. All three of the mighty merchant families of Raahe – Lang, Franzén and Sovelius, have been a part of the Trade House. In the beginning of 1930s only one of the old Trade Houses was working, J.Lang & Co. The Trade House had survived the war of Krim and all the difficulties that came along.The Trade House had a remarkable role as an investor when the shipyard of Raahe began to flourish after the war of Krim. The merchant marine of this small town of Raahe was the biggest in Finland for a number of years.The business of Johan Lang Ltd. came to an end in 1934 due to bankruptcy, but the enormous impact Johan Lang Ltd. had on Raahe and its development cannot be denied.

Eero Sovelius-Sovio: Ihmisiä laivojen kaupungista
Eero Sovelius-Sovio: Sovio-Sovelius-suku
Samuli Paulaharju: Wanha Raahe
Raahen kaupungin 300-vuotismuistojulkaisu
Jari Ojala, Patriarkan kuolema, teoksessa Arjen Valta, toim. Piia Einonen et. Museonjohtaja
Eija Turunen

 

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