Satamakatu and Loveret

The centre of Pietarsaari


Satamakatu is a street mentioned already in the town plan of 1735. It was obviously based on the street network that existed before the town was burned down by the Russians in 1714 during the Great Northern War. Satamakatu was wider in those days, which is still evidenced by a small house from the 1760s located a little further off the street line. Satamakatu used to be called Hapelähteenkatu (Surbrunns Gatan) as well, because of the nearby health spring. The spring was discovered in 1777, and rather soon thereafter, a small pump room and a park were constructed in the area. The spring was called St. Jakobskälla (St. Jacob’s spring).


Along Satamakatu and Loveret (the name comes probably from luuvartti = the windward side of a vessel, or from the Swedish word lover for harbour entrance channel), there are still many well-preserved buildings from the late 1700s and early 1800s, where seamen, sea captains and craftspeople used to live. For example, Finland’s national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg’s parents spent their last years here. In the 1700s, the town inlet and water traffic extended as far as the cottages in this neighbourhood. The piers of those days no longer exist. The port customs were located where the Mariahemmet care home now stands.


At the southern end of Satamakatu, facing the Palokunnantalo (fire brigade house) from the early 1910s, you can see a former “church cottage”, where people from Luoto (Larsmo) were accommodated when they came to church by boat. The people from Luoto would go to the stone church of Pedersöre a couple of kilometres away – not to the Pietarsaari wooden church from 1731, which is located next to the church cottage.


The Satamakatu and Loveret neighbourhood was protected in the town plan towards the end of the 1970s. This could by no means be taken for granted, since in the 1960s the intention had still been to fill the Skata wooden house neighbourhood with modern blocks of flats. However, a precious old house at the end of Satamakatu was burned down in a fire brigade drill in the 1960s.




The writer Wava Stürmer bought a small house at Satamakatu in the 1960s in order to use it as her writing room. Local amateur as well as professional writers would gather to discuss and create ideas there. They organised, for example, presentations in schools and bus tours around Ostrobothnia. Pupils, who were mainly familiar with deceased writers, now had a chance to meet living ones. At the time, the old wooden houses in Skata were under the threat of being demolished and replaced by blocks of flats. Stürmer and other cultural activists would write in newspapers and appeal for the preservation of the area. (Interview with Wava Stürmer on 12 November 2018)


In her poem collection Det är helvete att måla himlar (1970, 62–63), Stürmer portrays the bygone life at Satamakatu and Loveret as follows: Here used to live the “American widow” Kvastkajs with her seven children, the Kronholms who sold illegal spirits, and the one-armed Emma with her Frans. This was also the home of the tiled-stove builder Kåhlsten and the mother of Runeberg. Satamakatu was the main street where tar carts would rattle…




Satamakatu seen from the town side 


Satamakatu a long time ago (Pietarsaaren kaupunginmuseo)


Satamakatu a long time ago (Pietarsaaren kaupunginmuseo)


Loveret a long time ago (Pietarsaaren kaupunginmuseo)


Loveret a long time ago (Pietarsaaren kaupunginmuseo)


Surbrunns Gatan (Satamakatu) on the map of 1783 (Pietarsaaren kaupunginmuseo)