The restoration of the Lvov manor or country house at Strelna, near St. Petersburg is now underway. The project which includes the restoration of the historical facade and roof will cost of 12 million Rubles ($370,000 USD). The restoration of the interiors and adjoining park have been delayed due to lack of funding.
The former manor house of Prince Alexander Dmitrievich Lvov, called Alexandrovka, is situated on the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland, between Peterhof and Strelna. At the beginning of the 19th century the land belonged to an English merchant, and in 1838, the house passed to the ownership of Paul Constantinovich Alexandrov, the illegitimate son of Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich.
It was at this time that the architect Alexander Karlovich Coleman remodeled the house in the English Gothic style complete with turrets. After the death of Alexandrov in 1857, his widow, nee Princess Scherbatova lived there. At her death the country house became the property of Prince Alexander Dmitrivich Lvov. He played an important role in the social life of Strelna at the end of the 19th to early 20th centuries.
In 1881, he privately funded the establishment of the first volunteer fire brigade. It consisted of 32 people and had a stable for 14 horses. It maintained a brigade school where fire wardens and senior firemen were trained, and a fire tower. His brigade was very efficient, and over a 10 year period, Lvov was responsible for helping to fight more than 200 fires in the Strelna region. As a sign of their gratitude, local residents presented the Prince with a gold fireman's helmet. The helmet has not survived, however, in 1935 a copy was made by local firefighters and kept as a reminder of Prince Lvov's duty to the community.
Lvov also served as head of the Polza Society in Strelna, Chairman of the Peterhof council and sanitary committee, and chairman of the Strelna Society of Amateur Cyclists. His personal interests and social concerns earned him the love and respect of locals. The street running in front of his manor house was renamed in his name, and bears it to this day.
Locals refer to the house as Lvov Palace, and today houses the local municipal council and administration offices for the town of Strelna. Prince Lvov is believed to have died during the Russian Civil War in 1919.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 24 July, 2013