In the photo Sortavala's old Seurahuone, also known as Ekegren was located on a site that would later become the Kolmikulmapuisto park. In the 1870s, before the opening of Seurahuone, turner Pöysti kept an inn in this Empire-style building. After the completion of the railroad in the 1890s, the significance of Sortavala as a centre for tourism and a host town of meetings and festivals began to grow. An up-to-date hotel was needed for the town. With the governor's permission, funds obtained from liquor sales by Anniskelu Oy could be used in its construction. The working population of Sortavala would have been content with the wooden Seurahuone building constructed in the 1830s, and in their opinion the town would have done perfectly well without a segregated stomping ground for "bar masters and doctors", as newspaper Rajavahti put it. The old wooden Seurahuone was demolished in 1908. The photo already shows the tower of the new Seurahuone that was to be completed one year later.