What an old yellowish picture can reveal

Cousin Ingemar Majholm writes about his search for our great great grandfather Edvard Julius Abrahamsson's home in Stockholm, in the years before our family came to Stommen

What an old yellowish picture can reveal
and the implications of the choice of one man for the very existence of many 
by Ingemar Majholm

"Vita bergen" (the white mountains)
Stockholm Sweden @1950
family photo in possession of Erik Majholm
As has been told us from several sources, "Vita bergen" was the part of Stockholm in which Edvard Julius Abrahamsson, the adoptive father of Robert Albin, owned property. Wanting his son to become a farmer, somehow he found a suitable farm in Östra Frölunda, south of Borås in the southwestern part of Sweden.  The Danish owner of this estate had come into insolvency, but they managed to make a deal where the Vita bergen property was traded equal with the Östra Frölunda property. Thus it came that the site for the Abrahamsson family story moved from Södermalm, Stockholm to Stommen.

When researching the family history, it has of course been of great interest to know more about this Stockholm property. Where exactly was the house? What did it look like and is it still there?  This knowledge had been lost for our generation as far as I know.

When my brother Erik recently found this picture in the home of our deceased parents, it became rather interesting. On the back side someone had written "Vita bergen". In view is a building which has long ago seen its best days. In front of it an elderly couple, in the backround a house with a mansard roof and beyond that the Stockholm Town Hall. The latter famous for, among other things, being the venue of the Nobel Prize banquet and one of Stockholm's major tourist attractions.This picture of the site of the Abrahamsson family's move from Södermalm in Stockholm to Stommen in Östra Frölunda by chance popping up now is very peculiar and merits further investigation.

The first thing to catch my interest is the elderly couple. They remind me of Gustaf with his second wife Hulda. Enlarging them, I compare them with a picture of Gustaf and Hulda from 1952 and it sure is tempting to believe the couple  of both pictures are the same.

But wait a moment. On the "Vita bergen" photo, the lady holds the cane in her right hand, while in the family photo it's in her left.  We grandchildren of Gustaf remember her as limping while walking, but wouldn't she always have used the stick on the same side? Or did the crippled hip trade sides from time to time? and Gustaf as being her extra support, trade sides as well?

What about the Townhall? How does it appear in other pictures? Wikipedia has a good one. Compare it with the "Vita bergen" picture.

Wikipedia contributors, "Stockholm City Hall," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, looks really like the "Vita bergen" picture had been mirrored when it was made. Let's see what happens with the couple if we turn them around.

Now the pieces are falling in place, aren't they? So, lets flip the yellowish picture around.

Now we can go to Stockholm and search for a place with an identical viewing angle to the Townhall as this picture reveals.

These days it's easy to travel around the world just sitting at your desk. Let us go sightseeing in Stockholm with Google Maps and Goodle Streetview as our travel agent and guide.

Moving on Södra Mälarstrand we can reach a place where the Townhall looks like this, compared to the "Vita bergen" picture:

And then we take an aerial view and draw a line over the ship that's at the quay.  On the view the wrong ship is marked "Borgila". This fact can be seen when turning around and looking at traffic lights and road marks etc. on Google Streetview.

Zooming in, everything gets clearer

Let's now drive up Ludvigbergsgatan and Lundagatan and see what we find. Googling for pictures from Ludvigsbergsgatan the picture below turns up among many others.

Compare the house on the left with the mansard roof to the one in the "Vita bergen" photo. Isn't this what we have been looking for? Finally, if we turn around the E.J. Abrahamsson property should be right behind us.

Well, sorry it looks like we missed it. 

In a Google picture search for old Lundagatan, Stockholm, comparing with our yellowish picture, it looks like we can find a hit with the Lundagatan 2 house pictured on the left. The building was later called "The Typographers Hotel". The picture on the right captures the final moments of the property as it was being demolished in 1962. The area had declined and old buildings that weren't considered to be of value were demolished.

Stommen, Östra Frölunda, Sweden

Did Edvard Julius make a good trade, going for Stommen instead? The answer is up to you. But for some, including me, his choice was going to impact the very question, to be or not to be. And what about the notion that the property was situated in "Vita bergen"? That area is found some kilometers east of Skinnarviksberget and has nothing to do at all with Lundagatan 2.

Well I can see two possible explanations to this:
1) There has been a confusion of names, "Skinnarviksberget" vs "Vita bergen".
2) The yellowish picture doesn't show the E.J. Abrahamsson property at all.

Maybe the answer can be found in official records about 19th century Stockholm properties. The research is open for anybody interested...

cheers, Ingemar


The streets and surrounding neighborhood of Lundagatan 2 have undergone various changes since the time of great great grandfather Edvard Julius Abrahamsson...........

A NEW SÖDERMALM with wide, straight streets lined with tall stone houses emerged in the late 1800s. The main routes that previously stretched by Brännkyrkagatan shifted downward Hornsgatan. The blocks up against Skinnarviksbergen became a forgotten part of town that by time didn't get the best reputation.
It smelled boozy and smokey; crime ridden in streets full of mystery, the prostitutes of the block - “mountain larks” - roamed in search of customers. But in the small simple shanties, also decent people still lived, who had no fault in the area having become an undesirable out-of-the-way corner of Stockholm.

In the 1950s, although the calmness had returned to Skinnarviksberget, it was a battered idyll lying there, hiding between apple trees and flower plots. Photographer Tore Abrahamsson has managed to capture the old-fashioned atmosphere that so long lingered in these neighborhoods. One of the buildings that disappeared is the so-called “Typographers hotel”, to the right in the photo. The smooth plastered yellow apartment building at the corner of Gamla Lundagatan and Ludvigsbergsgatan was erected in 1853 by merchant and industrialist Anton Wilhelm Frestadius. In the film recordings 1960 of the Lars-Magnus Lindgren best-selling novel "Angels, do they exist" (named Love Mates in English) the house was the object for extensive speculation transactions by Toivo Pawlo in the role of the choleric Bergerus tenant on the second floor.
On the street in front of the “Typographers hotel” one of Stockholm's last horse riders is seen well dressed for the biting cold. Note the registration number of the cart - No. 1965 – which formerly separated the serious carters from the resented "bönhasare" – unauthorized persons who encroached on the carters' lawful occupation. In June 1901 they had begun to cart products from the sugar mill in Tanto with a motorized van, but it would still take many years before this phenomenon was seen as a real competitor to the horse.
In 1911 the horse-drawn cartage industry in Stockholm comprised 2736 horses with as many vehicles and not until the early 1960s, the last carter horse was retired.
Stockholm - staden som försvann 2, (Stockholm, the town that disappeared 2) Sjöbrandt-Sylvén, NoK 2002

As the street may have looked in Edvard Julius' time. 
Lundagatan 2 (great great grandpa's property?) is to the left