Astafev House, Prechistenka Embankment #22 (1890s), Vologda, Russia


This view of the Astaf’ev house, No. 22 Prechistenskaia Embankment in Vologda was taken in 1998 by Dr. William Brumfield, American photographer and historian of Russian architecture, as part of the "Meeting of Frontiers" project at the Library of Congress. Before the founding of Saint Petersburg in 1703, Russia depended on a northern route through the White Sea for trade with western Europe. One of the important centers on this route was Vologda, founded in the 12th century. Vologda remained a transportation and commercial hub in the Russian north, and by the beginning of the 20th century its residential areas consisted primarily of two-story dwellings built of logs, with milled siding and decorative details. One of the best examples was the Astaf’ev house, built around 1900 on Prechistenskaia Embankment, facing the Vologda River. (The embankment derives its name—“most pure”—from the nearby Church of the Nativity of the Virgin na Nizhnem dolu.) The main part of the house advances toward the river, which would have been visible from the windows of the upper story. The entrance (seen here in the center) was recessed to the side, with a decorated loggia above. The number of these well-built structures has steadily diminished over time from neglect and fire. (The Astaf’ev house was destroyed by fire in 2001.)

Last updated: January 11, 2016