Album "Riga—Рига"From the atelier of Carl Schulz, ca. 1910

Riga Album Cover

Peter's grandfather installed a state of the art turbine to drive the mill in Mordanga, Kurzeme. Over seven decades later, during renovations, the old turbine came out:

G. Pirwitz & Co. Riga 1910! We wondered what Rīga might have been like in those days... what was going on, what was being built? It may have still been part of the Russian empire, but it was Riga, nevertheless—economically autonomous, culturally vibrant.

Āgenskalns Water Tower

It's hard to imagine the city more than a century ago, but we don't think it was any different from any great metropolis of today, always under construction, always changing. 1910 was the year that the Palladium Riga was constructed, still a concert venue today. Then there is architect Wilhelm Bockslaff's striking Āgenskalns Water Tower (at right) bordering Meža kapi, built to provide fresh drinking water to Rīga's exploding population. And Jānis Asaris' 5-story art nouveau edifice now housing the Viktorija Hotel. 1910 also saw the construction of the University of Latvia's iconic residence on Raiņa bulevāris, once featuring paintings on its facade by the acclaimed artist Janis Rozentāls.

And long before the Latvian Gambit, there was the match between Karl Behting and Aron Nimzowitsch featuring an uncommon King's pawn opening.

Since the Sailors' Home is the closing picture in the album—and the book is a paperback, easy to carry—it's likely it was intended as a memento for sailors to bring back home from their visit to the exotic Baltics—even the fictional Horatio Hornblower disembarked in Riga!

Below, an image of Pulvertornis, the Powder Tower in Old Riga—whose oval graces the album cover.

...Timeline...Foreign Corn Ports — RigaForeign Corn Ports — Riga, 1847A news article from with engraved illustrations The Illustrated London News, May 15, 1847. The Town of RigaThe Town of Riga. Ballou's Monthly Magazine. February, 1872. An informative, if brief, account of Rīga at its zenith as the second largest port of the Russian empire, and of the history, geography, fauna, and inhabitants of Livonia. Livländische SchweizLivländische Schweiz (The Livonian Switzerland), C. Schulz, ca. 1880. A scenic Latvian photo album (20 pictures) of the Gauja river valley surrounding Sigulda. Baltic RussiaBaltic Russia, Henry Lansdell. Harper's New Monthly Magazine, New York. July 1890. Lansdell's richly illustrated travelogue, one of a number which appeared in Harper's from 1887 to 1891, offers a Baltic Russian potpourri of information, from educational expenditures by ethnicity to observations on segregated nude bathing. National Encyclopedia "Riga""RIGA", The National Encyclopaedia, ca. 1897. The article entry for Rīga, accompanied with and engraved illustration of a harbor scene. Album "Riga—Рига"Album "Riga—Рига" ca. 1910.Large-format photo album (3 dozen pictures) of Riga at the start of the 20th century. Latvia — Lettish LifeLatvia—Lettish Life in Legendary & Modern Times, Florence Farmborough. ca. 1920. Farmborough's vivid and copiously illustrated account of the newly independent Latvia: the challenges of recovering from the devastation of war, an intimate look into daily life, and hope expressed for the future. From J. A. Hammerton's encyclopedia, Peoples of All Nations: Their Life Today and Story of Their Past. Devastated Latvia, 1921Latvijas Izpostīto Apgabalu Kongresa Padomes izdevums uzņemts u. izdots 1921 g. (Devastated Latvia, 1921.) Photo album issued by the Latvia's Devastated Regions Congress Council in 1921 documenting the destruction left in the wake of WWI and Latvia's War of Independence. Jānis Čakste In MemoriumJānis Čakste Memorial Album, 1927.Photo album dedicated to Latvia's first President upon his death in office. The Four New Baltic States"Estonia", "Finland", "Lithuania", "Latvia." The New Human Interest Library. Vol. V. Midland Press, Chicago. 1928. Articles about the four new Baltic states, a decade after independence. Illustrations and photographs. Latvian Butter ExportsLettische Butter, National Butter Export Control of Latvia, 1929. Between the wars, Germany grew to become the largest customer for Latvia's prized butter exports. By 1928, the year prior to publication, Latvia was the 10th largest butter exporter in the world with 85% of its butter export going to Germany.
The pictures in this album come from the Riga atelier of Carl Anton Schulz (1831–1884), taken by his son Eduard. Our thanks to the Schulz family for contacting us with this information. You can read more about Carl Schulz on our "Livlandische Schweiz" ("Livonian Switzerland") page introducing his picture album of Latvia's Gauja river valley.

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