On August 26, 150 years passed since the birth of one of the most famous and famous industrialists in Saaremaa, Oscar Wildenberg. His father Reinhold Wildenberg (1819-1890) and mother Marie Helene (nude Johannson, 1821-1903) came from Läänemaa. They had four sons: Emil Alexander (1848-1863), Oscar Friedrich (1852-1928), Eduard Johann Reinhold (1857-1908), and Conrad Rudolf Moritz (1859-1907, Captain of the merchant ship).

In 1857, a family moved from Lihula to Kuressaare. In the same year, Reinhold Wildenberg set up a small cusine workshop on Suur-Sadama Street in the Suur-Sadama Bay, which over time became one of Russia's largest leather factories.

Oscar Wildenberg started a school in Kuressaare, where after graduating from the local upper secondary school he began to study at the Moscow Trade School. This was followed by a German leather factory in Hamburg, Germany, in Jakob Nordheim.
1872 the young man arrived back to Saaremaa, where he began to work in the father's factory. In 1879, she married Elvis Elise Marie Ossmann in Kuressaare (1852-1922). Perre was born three daughters: Margaretha Helene Lydia (1880-1907, married Fraenkel), Hertha Sophie Anna (1883-1944, married Melnikow) and Helene Elwine Friederike (1889-1956, married Laerum).

The launch of Oscar Wildenberg soon began to update the factory. 1881 The first two 15-horsepower steam engines were bought there. The factory grew rapidly, production expanded: in addition to domestic leather, bouillon shells imported from South America soon began to be processed, which later became the main raw material. The finished product was mainly marketed in Riga, where it was originally shipped to Northwest, later via Roomassaare Harbor. A high recognition came from the 1888 World Expo in Brussels - the production of the Wildenberg Leather Factory was valued for gold medal.

Reinhold Wildenberg died on August 16, 1890. Following her father's death, the sons of Oscar and Eduard took control of the factory. 1898 (according to some data in 1897) Oscar Wildenberg succeeded in buying another leather factory, at the same time in Riga, which he also began to carefully expand and develop.

In 1910, both factories were united. Since then, the joint venture has been named "Oscar Wildenberg Joint Stock Company in Riga and Kuressaare". By that time, the Oscar was the sole owner of factories (Brother Eduard died in 1908). One of the largest leather industries in Russia, which was founded by Reinhold Wildenberg, a 7-8 worker in the Kuressaare Cousine, which, just before the First World War, provided work to nearly 300 courier companies.
The factory took over the entire quarter of the Abay Bay quarter in the area of ​​the current Great Port, Work, Abaja and Veski streets. There was also a store where you mainly traded leather goods. For nearly four decades Johannes Villsar was the Managing Director of the Kuressaare Factory in the modern sense.

Mrs. Oscar Wildenberg, the owner of the Kangruselja estate by that time, was actively involved in both the local voluntary fire brigade and the wider Kuressaare life: he was a city councilor and counselor who, not only with the advice, but also materially contributed to the development of the city, paying for her inheritance of the honorary citizen the title He also filled the functions of the Norwegian Consul, so that for some time, Job Street was referred to as "Consul Wildenberg Street".

Wildenberg factories, especially Kuressaare, became fatal to World War I. In 1915, the two factories were evacuated to Moscow, where work continued to a small extent. When the daughter of Oscar Wildenberg, Herta Melnikow and Helene Laerum, were able to re-open the Riga factory after the war ended and after the restoration of Latvia's independence, the buildings of the Kuressaare factory were blown up and burned by Russian soldiers who retreated in 1917. in October. These ruins are remembered by the older Couressarians from the years since World War II. From the ruinous work, the wooden building Suur-Sadama 25 (destroyed in 1941), where the permanently inhabited Laerum family lived in the 1930s, remained in carvings belonging to the family. The same house stopped in 1939. In August, President Päts visited Saaremaa.

The famous Leather Factory, Oscar Wildenberg, lived more in Eastern Prussia at the end of his life with her daughter Herta. Death struck him on June 3, 1928. In Riga On June 12, the bird was brought to Kuressaare by ship, where it found its last resting place on the next day in the Kudjape cemetery on the family cable. Today, the 1884 Neo-Classicist chapel awaits a thorough restoration, which Barbro Fraenkel, Desiree Falsjö-Laerum and Karin Laerum wish to contribute to Oscar Wildenberg's daughter-in-law in Stockholm.

KÜLLI RIKAS,
Meie Maa
August 27, 2002