architect F.A. Sjöström
Wood for frame and load-bearing structures, wood for façade
The town hall of Sortavala is a prime example of the renaissance-influenced, decorative wooden architecture of the late 19th century. Plans for the building were drawn up by architect F. A. Sjöström and the construction site was chosen from the center of the town amidst a beautiful park. Building process began in 1883 and lasted until 1885. The need for a town hall arose from a decision made in 1876, which stipulated that a municipal court and a registry office would be established in Sortavala. These new governing bodies required sufficient facilities, for which the town hall would be ideal. The new building also housed the only public hall of Sortavala, until the expansion of Seurahuone in 1938. The hall was used extensively for various cultural happenings, such as concerts and plays. The town hall also housed the museum of Sortavala until 1895.
As the Winter War ended in March 1940, the city officials and archives of Sortavala were evacuated to Savonlinna. Sortavala was handed over to the Soviet Union. Under its new management the town hall was turned into an education office for the communist party and a library. In 1942 the municipal government of Sortavala returned to the Finnish-occupied city. In 1945 Sortavala was again part of the Soviet Union and its town hall once again housed the political education office and the library. Once the new building for the town committee of the communist party was finished in 1973 the town hall was left solely for the use of city’s central library. In 2013 the library was moved into the old girl’s school building, which left the beautiful town hall empty. As of spring 2014 the building is still empty and has been placed on sale by the local authorities.