The buildings and yard of Little Aurora have an intriguing history. The building that is currently known as the Art House served as a dairy school established by Aurora Karamzin in the last century. The same plot holds the old dairy and the estate steward’s home, whose renovation was completed in August 2013.
Early years of Little Aurora
The name of Little Aurora was derived from Aurora Karamzin (born Stjernvall), a former owner of the estate. In 1821, Baron Carl Johan Walleen, the stepfather of Aurora Karamzin, bought all four Träskända estates. Aurora Stjernvall married Russia’s richest man, Paul Demidoff, in 1836. Aurora and Paul had a child, but six months after the birth of his son Paul Demidoff died making Aurora, along with her young son, an heiress to the enormous fortune. Aurora’s stepfather Carl Johan Walleen sold the Träskända area to Aurora Demidoff in 1840. In 1846, Aurora married Captain André Karamzin and, soon, major construction work was launched in Träskända. The Dalsvik estate was also bought and linked to the Träskända entity. The work, however, was discontinued when André Karamzin was killed in the Crimean War in 1854.
Completion of the dairy complex
The dairy was completed in 1863. The architect was Axel Hampus Dahlström. He also designed the dairy school building where a Swedish-language dairy school operated at least in 1871–1875. After that, a Swedish-language primary school operated in the building for a while. When the main building of Träskända burnt down in 1888, the estate steward’s home, which was transferred to the plot in 1860, was renovated to serve as Aurora Karamzin’s summer residence. Aurora Karamzin sold the Träskända estate to her niece Marie and her husband Adolf Törngren in 1895, but kept the dairy school complex at her own use until her death in 1902. After the death of Marie Törngren, the ownership of the Träskända estate was transferred to Adolf Törngren, who sold the dairy school complex “Karamzin villas” to Helsingfors svenska folkskolors lärare- och lärarinneföreningen in 1923. This association established a summer colony in the buildings for the children of the Swedish-speaking proletariat of Helsinki. It was called Aurorasommarhemmet and it operated for over 50 years as a summer colony. The summer colony activities began in 1924 and continued up to 1982. A colony school also operated in the facilities of Aurorasommarhemmet during the Winter War, when children were sent away from Helsinki to escape the war.
Ownership by the City of Espoo
The City Board of Espoo decided to purchase “Järvenperä village estate Aurorasommarhemmet with registration number 1:9 for the City of Espoo with the purchase price of FIM 470,000 […]”¹ in the meeting held on 12 October 1982. Espoo’s first plan for the use of the dairy school plot was an industrial art village and Aurorasommarhemmet as a joint project of the Cultural Department, City Museum and Youth Department. This plan was approved by the City Council in 1984. The next plan envisaged Aurora’s multi-purpose centre as a joint project of the Cultural Department, City Museum and Environmental Protection Office in 1990. The third plans were a joint project of the Cultural Department and Education Unit. The City Board approved Little Aurora’s school and arts centre project in 1996, and planning permission was granted the following year. The working drawings were completed in 1997–98. The Education Unit, however, withdrew from the finalised project².
¹ City of Espoo’s letter, Elkala, dated 14 October 1982, number 678/7712/82 3527/7701/82, “Purchase of Järvenperä village estate Aurorasommarhemmet with registration number 1:9”
² Archives of Curator Hannele Krohn from 2000–2004.
The protected complex of buildings stood cold and unused for a long time until the project plan of Little Aurora was put into action in 2000. The renovation work began in November 2001 and the first employees of the Cultural Department of the City of Espoo moved to the new work facilities of Art House Little Aurora in the first week of August 2003. Among the first to arrive was a representative of the Cultural Department of Espoo and the future first curator of Art House Little Aurora Hannele Krohn, who actively drove the project forward.³
³ Archives of Curator Hannele Krohn from 2000–2004.
Technical Department of Espoo (2000). Little Aurora project plan (approved CB 2/10/2000).
Godhwani (2009): Archive of the Espoo City Museum: Aurorasommarhemmet material.
Härö (1991). Espoon rakennuskulttuuri ja kulttuurimaisema - Byggnadskulturen och kulturlandskapet i Esbo. Espoo: Espoo City Museum.
Kreander, Häggman, Häggström, Häggman, Smeds (1957). Helsingfors folkskolors lärare- och lärarinneförening under sju årtionden 1887–1957. Tammisaari.
Lahti, Matti J. (1987). Esbo – en landssocken blir storköping. Esbo-serien, Esbo: Gummerus Oy.
Lindholm (1999). Espoon keskiaikainen asutus – Bosättningen i Esbo under medeltiden. In book: Alopaeus, Hiekkanen, Korhonen et al. Välähdyksiä keskiajasta – Glimtar ur medeltiden (pp. 5–47). Espoo: Espoo City Museum.
Långvik-Huomo, Ropponen Vento (2003). Aikamatka Espoossa. Espoo City Museum.
Nissinen, Ropponen (1983). Espoon koulujen historiaa – Kring Esboskolornas historia. Espoo: Espoo City Museum.
Nurmi (1991). Espoon kansakoulut 1871–1921. Espoo-sarja. Espoo: Espoo City Museum.
Paaskoski, Norrback, Tillander-Godenhielm et al.(2006). Aurora Karamzin – Aristokratian elämää. Espoo: Espoo City Museum and Otava.
Sillanpää Pirkko (2003): Kartanoita ja huviloita Keski-Espoossa. Keuruu: Keski-Espoo seura ry – Föreningen för Mellersta Esbo rf.
Träskända committee (1974). Träskända Manor use plan. Espoo: Technical Office’s House Building Department.
More information about Aurora Karamzin: http://elakooneilinen.blogspot.fi/2013/09/kiehtovia-naiskohtaloita-tarunhohtoinen.html