World Heritage RørosThe people and the farmsAn Executive’s Accomodation – The General Manager’s House, No. 17

An Executive’s Accomodation – The General Manager’s House, No. 17

 Storgata at Røros. 1895-1900
Storgata at Røros. 1895-1900
Many of the Company’s executives built their houses in Bergmannsgata or Hyttegaten as it was previously called. They were large buildings, which reflect the position of the upper classes in the mining community at the time they were built.

Randi Borgos and Amund Spangen

The first known owner of house No. 17 was the forest and charcoal inspector Peter Grue. After his death in 1717 his estate was put under administration. In 1730 a mining supervisor who later became the General Manager, Leonard Christian Borchgrevink, purchased the building. He also owned the neighbouring property.
He had a large family and his daughter, Catharina, born in 1730 inherited the properties. In the year 1790 she was responsible for building the stately main building that now serves as the town hall in Røros.

After Catharina Borchgrevink died the property changed owners many times. In 1813 the Company’s owners, the participants, purchased the building in order to turn it into the General Manager’s House. We know that the following General Managers have lived there: Joachim Fredrik Daldorph, General Manager from 1813 until 1827, Peter Ascanius Schult, Johan Molman Lysholm, Jakob Pavels Friis and Emil Knutsen. The last mentioned was employed as a mining engineer in 1890 and served as General Manager from 1895 until 1897. On his arrival in Røros he recorded, ‘As the apartment I was to occupy in the General Manager’s House was already taken up by Magistrate Rieck, a provisional arrangement was made by renting an apartment in Hans Ronningens new building in Lillegaden. The house was new and badly constructed, so it was extremely cold when the freezing weather started in November with minus 20 and minus thirty degrees Celsius. On the first of December the Magistrate moved to Mrs Sendresens building in Lillegaden, and we could move into the General Manager’s House where we lived for 7 years…’

The General Manager’s House has been used to accommodate important guests during their visits to Roroa. The Crown Prince himself has stayed there, he later became King Fredrik VI and spent the night in the house in 1788. Prince Christian Fredrik stayed in the house in 1814 and Karl Johan and Prince Oscar stayed there in 1815.

After the property was no longer used to accommodate the General Manager, many other officers of the Company and members of the clergy have since lived in the great house. J. Sigveland was the first priest to live in No. 17. Later, Thorvald Lunde, Egil Brekke, Sophus Froland, Anders Andersen Sunde and Konrad Oudenstad have all lived there. Oudenstad and his family arrived in Røros just after the New Year in 1949. In an article in the Parish Newsletter ‘Kirkeklokken’ (The Church Bell) from 1991 he writes, ‘…That first winter in Miss Catharina Borchgrevink’s mansion was difficult. The building was under restoration and there were a number of problems relating to the work. Often the water pipes in the kitchen froze during the night and large quantities of birch logs were needed to keep the frost out of the enormous rooms. (…) In 1958 we moved into the new parsonage near ‘Doktortjonna’ in Joahan Falkberget’s vei…’

Røros municipality purchased the property in 1940 and the building was used as council offices eventually making the transition from General Manager’s House to town hall. When one passes through the stately main entrance and is confronted by two broad staircases leading up to the second floor one can easily imagine that this was at one time an elegant and high-class residence.

Sources:
Rørosboka, bind IV og V
”Fredede hus og anlegg” 3 Røros bergstad. Universitetsforlaget 1983
R. Borgos og A. Spangen: ”På Sta’a og uti markom” bind I. A. Spangen eget forlag 2001
Fjell-Folk nr. 7, 1982: Astrid Nyhus: ”Borchgrevink-slekten
Fjell-Folk nr. 18, 1993: Emil Knudsen: ”Paa Røros”
Arbeidets Rett 14. 12. 1992. ”Fra Minneboka”
Arbeidets Rett 22. 12. 1950: Olav Guldahl: ”Rådhuset”
Kirkeklokken nr. 4 1991, menighetsblad for Røros prestegjeld: Konrad Oudenstad: ”Minneglimt fra Røros”


Røros was added to UNESCOs of World Heritage Sites in 1980, refer also to Riksantikvaren, ( Norwegian Inspectorate of Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings).
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