This house shares a similar history with the nearby wooden Astashovo mansion.
Before it became abandoned and forgotten Pogorelovo used to be a lively village in Russia's Kostroma region. Local farmers did hunting and seasonal work, others made quite a bit of money in St. Petersburg, such as Ivan Polyashov, one of the richest men in the village.
At the crown of his career he did repair work at the famous Winter Palace in St. Petersburg and received the status of honorary citizen. In 1903, the widower returned to his native village, married a new wife 20 years younger and built this marvellous country cottage as well as a few other buildings seeing as he was one of the largest landowners in the area.
But the fate of the house after the revolution is the same as lots of others in the Kostroma region especially (but all over Russia really): The house was requisitioned in 1918 and used as the village council as well as housing other farming families so Ivan Polyashov had to move into one of the rooms on the first floor. He died in 1935 and so didn't expierience the family's dispossession and repression. His children ended up in Siberia, where his great-grandson still lives today.
In this ~1910 photo you can see the village folk and Ivan Poleshov (right side of the photo to the right of the woman in white scarf and left of the window) at the consecration of a chapel he had commissioned to build.
The village was slowly dying and in 1972 with only 40 people left, the village council closed and moved out of the house. By the 90s everyone was gone and the houses were left to rot and most eventually collapsed. The fields started to overgrow with weeds and later trees. The main road, once paved, drowned in mud.
Ivan Polyashov's beautiful house would have shared the same fate if it wasn't for pure coincidence.
Moscow avant-garde artists Anatoly Zhigalov and Natalia Abalakova were doing summer kayaking trips in the Chukhloma region, which in those days was still mostly wilderness.
Anatoly spotted the house, fell in love with it and decided to buy it from the state which wasn't an easy process. It now has the status of a "monument of regional significance" and is protected by law. Contrary to the Astashovo mansion (which had to be completely taken apart and rebuilt due to rotten wood) this house is in rather good condition so the artist keeps it as it is and just does necessary repairs, such as fixing the roof. When he bought it there was no furniture left so what you see in the photos is mainly rescued from other abandoned houses.
Check out my post about the Astashovo mansion for a similar story of a Russian treasure. Link
Approximate location on google maps: Link
kopanga.livejournal.com (owner of the Astashovo house)
(Has an interesting photo report of someone exploring the abandoned villages in the region with a much needed 4 wheel drive. They happen to find the artist as they come to check out the house and he gives them a tour.)
What a beautiful house. The detail of the carvings is astonishing. It must be an amazing experience to live there. Thank you for the photos.ReplyDelete
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