Story of Raatihuoneenk. 4

Raatihuoneenkatu 4 Raatihuoneenkatu 4
Doctor Fleege on the Eskilsö beach in 1911 with two of his daughters and their nanny. Doctor Fleege on the Eskilsö beach in 1911 with two of his daughters and their nanny.
The view looking north from the old customs pier. Old town sauna. Photo by Uno Fleege. The view looking north from the old customs pier. Old town sauna. Photo by Uno Fleege.
A tableau vivant, on the celebration day of the Swedish language. Photo by Uno Fleege. A tableau vivant, on the celebration day of the Swedish language. Photo by Uno Fleege.
Uno Fleege Uno Fleege

Uno Axel Fleege

Physician

(1870 - 1922)

Raatihuoneenkatu 4

This house, built in 1879, belonged to medical doctor Uno Fleege. Before that, the site was part of the Bladh estate, on which nobleman Petter Johan Bladh, regarded as one of the founders of Kaskinen, built a large mansion for his son Johan Wilhelm.

The Bladh mansion still stands, just around the corner, on Cneiffinpolku. Beautifully restored, it is still in use, as a cultural centre for Kaskinen. However, the home on this precise spot, Raatihuoneenkatu 4, burned down in 1878 in questionable circumstances.

It was a beautiful August night, and the men of the town were out fishing for Baltic herring. A gorgeous wooden mansion across the street caught fire. Perhaps sparks flew across the street – no-one knows for sure. Both buildings were completely destroyed.

At the time of the fire, the house was owned by judge Gustaf Aminoff. An unknown man had been seen running through the building right before the fire started. Was it an arsonist? Did the judge have enemies who would go so far as to destroy his house? There was never a proper investigation into the reasons for this double tragedy.

The local postmaster bought the empty lot a year later, in 1879, and built the house that stands here today. Thirty years later, in 1909, it became the home of the town's first proper physician, Uno Fleege. He lived downstairs with his wife and three daughters. His practice was upstairs.

At that time, town doctors were appointed by the authorities of the Russian Empire, to which Finland belonged as an autonomous grand duchy. Though Dr Fleege was from southern Finland and new to Kaskinen, he became a trusted and much-liked man in the town.

Besides working in medicine, Dr Fleege was active in local politics. He also founded the first local newspaper, Kaskö Tidning, and lobbied for a railroad and proper harbour facilities for Kaskinen. He succeeded in these endeavours: a rail line was built to Kaskinen in 1913, and the harbour was modernised to meet the needs of the era's shipping.

Uno Fleege was also a passionate amateur photographer. It is thanks to him that life in Kaskinen is well documented in pictures. He also initiated work to establish the Kaskinen Local Museum, to chronicle the glory days of shipping and trading here and preserve the beautiful items of the nobleman Bladh and his family.

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