History

The building lies in the middle of the Old Town of Tartu and, as an architectural monument, is under state protection. The area was probably covered by buildings rather early. The earliest records can be found in a revision book compiled by an alderman called Wybers in the last quarter of the 16th century.

Already at that time, the area comprised of two smaller landed properties united in the late 16th century. The earlier known stone buildings were destroyed in the Great Northern War. After the war, the property was in ruins for quite a long period and a wooden house built in the inner part of the property by Küüni Street was destroyed by the fire of 1775. The present building located at 15 Ülikooli Street was completed in two stages. In 1777–1778, a single story stone building was erected by Ülikooli Street and later, two more floors were added.

The building was garnished with stucco decorations, its motifs being borrowed from early classicism. Later on, an extension on the side towards the courtyard was added and outbuildings were annexed to the dwelling house, thus adding extra rooms to it. The initial staircase was a little to the south, in the room beside its present location.

In 1842, the building was bought by the Livonian Noblemen’s Manor House Credit Association. Extensive renovation, which also included the construction of a new staircase, was completed in the 1830s–1840s. The design of the other staircase leading to the courtyard dates also back to that period. In the course of time, several rooms have been rebuilt and separated by partition walls. Between 1910 and 1920, the building was rented by the Guild of Saint Antonius. During the Soviet times, it was divided into dwelling apartments, no significant rebuilding took place. In the 1990s, the second floor housed different offices.

Since the earliest records until the present time, the property and the buildings on the site are known to have had nearly 20 owners.

The basic scheme of the exterior originates from 1810 and, in time, it has been somewhat altered and improved. No older details have been survived on the first floor dating from the 18th century.Since it housed different establishments (offices of the Credit Association, a pawnshop, a police office, etc) the interior of the rooms may have been changed and rebuilt quite often. The earlier details have been preserved upstairs in the dwelling rooms. Various precious 19th-century details are found here: doors and door handles of different type, white glazed tile stoves with cornices, some ceiling cornices.

The most valuable details of the building are probably the cross vaults in the cellar. Inner window frames are mainly replaced by new ones and only external frames have been preserved. There are no original window catches. The lattice with turned baluster of both staircases dates back to the 1830s–1840s.