Pietarsaarentie 22 Uusikaarlepyy


The history of the Kuddnäs farm extends to the 1600s. During the Greater Wrath in the early 1700s, Russian soldiers burned the farm buildings, after which the farm long remained uninhabited – but not uncultivated. At the beginning of the 1800s, a tax collector for the Crown, Carl Basilier, had a nearby main building and ancillary building moved to the farm, to their present locations. Basilier soon faced financial problems, so the farm was sold through compulsory auction and became property of district physician and folk poetry collector Zachris Topelius the Elder and his wife Catharina Sofie Calamnius. Topelius gradually extended the farm and introduced new farming methods and tools. The farm prospered.


The couple’s son Zachris was born in 1818 in Kuddnäs, where he spent his childhood. After studies at Oulu trivial school, he moved to Helsinki at the age of 14, to study as a private pupil of J.L. Runeberg. Zachris later became a renowned writer, professor and – in modern terms – a cultural geographer. He spent long holiday periods in Kuddnäs, whose atmosphere and details are reflected in his writings. Zachris Topelius Jr. died in Sipoo in 1898.


In winter 1821, Zachris Topelius the Elder caught a bad cold after falling into a frozen lake in Kuddnäs. The cold led to a spinal cord disease and eventually to paralysis. However, this did not prevent him from working on folk poetry until his death in 1831. Thereafter, his widow Catharina took care of Kuddnäs with her workers.


Life was relatively peaceful in Uusikaarlepyy until a calamity shook the entire town in 1858. The town burned down almost totally, leaving numerous families homeless. Catharina arranged temporary accommodation for several families in Kuddnäs. The city faced another tragedy ten years later. In the famine years, the coastal road was travelled by starving beggars – men, women and children. Catharina offered them food from iron pots and nursed patients. She herself died in 1868 after catching typhus, apparently from the patients.


The descendants of Topelius sold Kuddnäs in 1873. Zachris Topelius the Younger is told to have been very disappointed because the teacher seminary was not established in Kuddnäs but on the other side of the Lapuanjoki river instead. Kuddnäs later served as, for example, the first dairy in town and as a poorhouse. It has been a museum since 1934. The latest restoration of the main building was carried out from 2016 to 2018. The museum features furniture and items from the time of the Topelius family – for example, the cradle of Topelius the Younger.