Atmodas Street House No. 13


№ 13 Atmodas Street in the first half of the 1930s
№ 13 Atmodas Street in the first half of the 1930s
№ 13 Atmodas Street in 2014
№ 13 Atmodas Street in 2014


The two buildings shown in the photo are on the same plot, and they both have the same address in all documents and publications, which today is № 13 Atmodas Street, so it is not always possible to obtain indisputable information about what was in one of the two houses. One thing is clear, however, that everything that dates back to the 20th century only applies to a one-storey building, which in 1863 was not a masonry, but a wooden structure. The two-storey residential building was built at the beginning of the 20th century, probably around the same time as the house on № 11 Atmodas Street was built.

From the end of the 18th century, Johann Carl Neumann (1750-1817), a Bailiff of the Aizpute Court, Alderman and Mayor (1800-1803), goldsmith, lived here in his own house. After Neumann's death, his property was auctioned, and in 1820 it was bought for 3,000 Rubles by the Town Secretary (1806-1829), Georg Friedrich Johann Meyer, who lived here already during the 1811 census. However, in 1826, in order to be able to settle with his creditor, Gottlieb Mondelius, the Supreme Court's lawyer, from whom he had borrowed 3,000 Silver Rubles in 1820, mortgaging all his property, Meyer was forced to sell all his movable and immovable property to his wife (Meyer had married wealthy widow) to Annette Meyer for 4,000 Silver Rubles. The Purchase-Sale document gives a definite idea of what was on that plot.

The Town Secretary had to sell a living house, another smaller house, barns, orchards and root vegetable gardens, a fence bordering them, the adjacent paddock and its shed with vehicles: closed "Brička" (to be pronounced: Britchka. Out of date for carriage), large open "Brička", 1 Riga wicker carriage (Rigascher Korbwagen), 1 small wagon, 1 large freight trolley, 1 small water cart (Waβerwagen) two more two-wheeled carts, 1 painted sledge, 1 gray (unpainted?) sledge, 2 light, single-seat sledges. Stables, cellars and barns were also sold.

The living house had: a large room, a small room, a side room, 2 bedrooms, 2 hallways - on the street side and on the yard side, a pantry room and a storage room.

In 1834, the 28-year-old double widow was married to Franz Karl Straus, a 35-year-old theological candidate, and this time, 5 years later, Straus, a private school principal and archivist, became a widower. In 1839, he bought a house owned by his deceased wife with everything that belonged to it, including a 4/5 loft space paddock, for 1,100 Silver Rubles from his wife's heir, a son from the first marriage, Hermann Kolb.

In 1863, Straus had insured two wooden residential buildings and two wooden barn buildings for 5,000 Rubles.

Shortly before his death in 1879, Straus sold his property (which also included the right of possession of the pledge purchased in 1836 to № 15 Atmodas Street) for 7,000 Rubles to the Mayor Hermann Adolphi.

Before saying goodbye to teacher Straus, we need to tell a little more about him, especially about his library.

Born in Riga in 1798, Strauss had studied theology in Tartu (Dorpat). He founded his own private educational institution with a boarding house in Aizpute in 1826. The level of teaching seems to have been quite good at that time, because the latest Mayor of Aizpute and Liepāja, Hermann Adolphi, who once lived in the Straus’s House, wrote that Franz Karl Straus from Vidzeme founded the first private classical gymnasium in Courland in 1826. Strauss's erudition is also evidenced by the fact that he probably had one of the largest private libraries in Courland. Adolphi mentions that it had 6,000 volumes. However, cand. hist. Georg Worms, a former 2nd grade private school teacher of Aizpute pastor Ernst Alexander Urban (1865-1907), who compiled the description of this library, stated in 1904 that Aizpute owns a library of about 4,000 volumes. As the library of Franz Karl Straus, the Archivist of the Supreme Court of Aizpute, who died in 1879, according to Adolphi came into the possession to the latter according to the will, it is quite possible that part of the library Adolphi kept to himself.

In 1879, the Governor of Courland confirmed Hermann Adolphi as the Mayor of Aizpute. He began to perform these duties on September 17, 1879, and held this position until 1887 (the last time the Minutes of the Meeting of Aizpute Town Council were signed by Adolphi on January 28, 1887), when he became the Mayor of Liepāja, sold this property of Aizpute, but Straus’s library entrusted to him (probably not all) was transferred to the Town Hall on the present № 19 Atmodas Street.

In 1920, the then Town Council gave the Aizpute Town Library, which now contained only 3,035 books, to the Ministry of Education - without any list and without compensation. Thus, the former Straus’s private library ended up in the funds of the State Library of Latvia.

As for the further management of the real estate at 13 Atmodas Street, it is known that in 1887 Adolphi sold it to Wulf and Jette Benjaminson for 4,000 Rubles. Wulf Benjaminson had a stationery, drawing supplies and haberdashery store at that address. There was also a representative office of the St. Petersburg Insurance Society.

Peter Bergmann had a Market Pub here in the 1890s.

It is believed that it was Benjaminson who built a two-storey house next to the one-storey house, because when Gutel Matz (also Matzè, Matcè, Matce, Mace) became the owner by purchase on January 11, 1908, she paid 11,000 Rubles for the purchase. In 1921, she gave this property as a gift to her husband, Joseph (Josel) Matz. The owner's family lived in a two-storey house until the autumn of 1941. Matz had his own watch, silver and gold shop in the two-storey house.

In the 1920s, there were various shops in both houses: the already mentioned watches, Ernests Rimma’s manufactured goods and haberdashery store, the Hermann Joffe pharmacy, perfumery and paint shop, the Johann Franz photo workshop, the Josephine Kauschen’s grocery, small items, flowers and fruit shop, as well as 5 flats.

Kauschen's flower and seed shop was also here in the 1930s, when Minna and Bertha Joffe had a cosmetics, supplies store and clothes making design, a little later Haim Joffe's supplies and cosmetics store, Nima Joffe's drug store, Abram Piel's hat and a small items shop, Brothers Trembe (Schulem and David) – manufactured goods and haberdashery shop, Ivan Ulanow dish shop, but JSC „A. Lippert” had a typewriter, knitting machine, bicycle and radio shop, Joseph Macé had a business, and his advertisement was:


"Watch silver and gold shop
Joseph Matce
13 Lielā Street, Aizpute, in private house.
and pocket watches. - Rings, bracelets, brooches, etc.
Glasses and other optical accessories. - Briefcases, handbags and pocket knives.
Quickly, conscientiously and cheaply repair watches, silver and gold things.
Nice work.                                    Guaranteed quality."

Since March 1934, the smallest building housed the Aizpute District Trade Union Book and Stationery Store, which in 1935 became the bookstore of the Aizpute and Surrounding Schools Cooperative, but from December 21, 1939, its name was the Aizpute Collaborative Bookstore.

In 1940, Ernests Rozentāls traded here with S / C „V. Ķuze” products, fruits, fruit juices, fruit waters and canned food, but Scheine Joffe with cosmetics and perfumery.

Today, both buildings are owned by the municipality. There are apartments upstairs. On the first floor of the first building there is a shop "Kamene" (Bumble-bee), in the second building - a bookstore of printing house "Zvaigzne" (Star).

The further buildings are Atmodas Street № 15, № 17 and № 19.





Valsts Kultūrkapitāla fonds


Skolas iela 1, Aizpute, Aizputes novads, LV-3456
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