The corner of Bottova and Radničná streets has been home since the Middle Ages to one of the town’s best-known houses, called Folkman’s House by old inhabitants of Žilina, since it belonged for many years to the well-known Žilina hotel-owner, Pavol Folkman. In the course of its long history dating back to the Middle Ages, however, it has belonged to numerous owners; today, its owners have a different name. So why is this house so famous? It is above all characterised by the only copper tower in our town, with a copper flat dated August 11th 1886. Why this date? It is in fact the date of one of Žilina’s biggest fires, when almost all the houses on the square were destroyed, including this house. It is most certainly the only reminder of this terrible event; perhaps Folkman wanted to leave a message for the future generations of his family, or perhaps for all of us, visitors and inhabitants of the town.
The house originally belonged to the Harhovský family. At the turn of the eighteenth century, Andrej Harhovský lived here with his family. He was a superintendent of the Lutheran church in Žilina, and together with his family, he looked after one of the most important figures in Žilina’s history, Jan Dadan junior. This important printer owned a house with his printing works on today’s Sládkovič street, but in 1704 his wife died without leaving him any children. So after he fell gravely ill he was taken in to Harhovský’s house and looked after until his death in July 1704; his funeral service actually took place in the house, conducted by the Lutheran pastor Daniel Krman junior. This is one of the explanations behind the widespread belief that Dadan and his printing works were both in this house. This belief was supported by the well-known nineteenth century Žilina historian, Alexander Lombardini, who set the printing works in the house at Bottova 1 based on Krman’s funeral sermon, publishing in 1704. In the middle of the nineteenth century, the house passed into the hands of Anton Abuda, who lived there together with his six-member family. By then, the house had a first floor and six rooms altogether. In 1881, the house was purchased by Pavel Folkman, a publican; on his death, his children inherited the house, and his son, Pavol Folkman continued his father’s activities. In the coffee house part of the house, he opened the sought-after UHU bar, which even hosted a performance by the famous black dancer originally from the USA who settled in Paris and took the stage name of Josephine Baker. As well as this building, Pavol Folkman also owned and built in 1925 a country restaurant (known as Palo’s cabin) in the Chrasť part of the town, which is now in the grounds of Žilina University at Veľký diel and houses the University Pastoral Centre of Žilina University. At the time, it was situated at the edge of the town in the woods and townspeople went there for walks and excursions.
After the Folkman family, the house on Bottova street became the property of Karol Wild’s family; from 1949 to 1991, it was state property. On the first floor there was a youth club which hosted events, and where young people could play cards, billiards and chess. The ground floor was a clothes shop.
The oldest part of the house is the Gothic cellar; the Gothic part above ground was destroyed by a fire in 1521. Later on, the two-storey Renaissance part of the house with a loggia and barrel vault was built, and reconstructed during the Baroque period. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the house was extended towards Bottova street and Makovický. In 1977, it was rebuilt and a youth club was established on the first floor. After being returned the house at the beginning of the 1990s, the Wild family renovated it together with its little tower.
Source: Mgr. Jozef Moravčík, Mgr. Peter Štanský
It can be visited
■ exterior during a guided tour of TIO Žilina.
Position of the monument on the map: B4