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Welcome to the U.S. Consul General’s Residence in St. Petersburg!

U.S. Consul General's Residence in St. Petersburg. (State Dept.)

U.S. Consul General's Residence in St. Petersburg. (State Dept.)

The U.S. Consul General’s official St. Petersburg residence can be found on Grodnenskiy Pereulok. Located just a few blocks from the main U.S. Consulate building, the Consul General’s Residence has been the past home of Russian nobles, city officials, and even Soviet-era orphans.

Before the Russian Revolution, this beautiful two-storied mansion played a prominent role in the social life of St. Petersburg’s nobility ever since it was built in 1898 for Nikolay Yermolinskiy.  The architect was Nikolay Arkhangelskiy, a military engineer who designed and oversaw the construction of about twenty buildings in St. Petersburg.  An adjutant to the commander responsible for Imperial Russia’s military academies, Yermolinskiy ultimately achieved the rank of Major General in addition to becoming a Squire in the Court of Grand Duke Konstantin Romanov, an uncle to Russia’s last Tsar, Nicholas II.

In 1908, the Major General sold his residence to Vasiliy Denisov, one of St. Petersburg’s major landlords and businessmen.  A senior official in Russia’s Imperial capital, Denisov served in the State Electoral College and was the director of the Russian Export Chamber.  In 1915, not long after the start of the First World War, the building passed into the hands of Aleksander Aleksandrov, a famous textile merchant.

Although the records are unclear, Grand Duke Konstantin Romanov is said to have been one of the building’s pre-Revolutionary owners.  Grand Duke Romanov, President of the Russian Imperial Academy of Sciences and a well-known poet, might also have owned the neighboring building, although he made his official home in the Marble Palace on the Palace Embankment.

After the 1917 Russian Revolution, the building was nationalized and passed into the hands of the Leningrad City Council, the Soviet-era predecessor of its current owner: the City of St. Petersburg. Up until 1971, the building housed an orphanage before becoming the after-school activities center for Leningrad’s School no. 201 and then Children’s Art School no. 13.

Between 1971 and 1972, the same skilled artisans who helped restore Catherine’s Palace and Pavlovsk renovated the future Consul General’s Residence historic interior and façade.  The reason behind this sudden flurry of activity only became clear on May 22, 1972 when U.S. Consul General designate Culver Glysteen accepted the keys to the building on behalf of the U.S. Government on the very same day President Richard Nixon arrived in the Soviet Union for his first state visit.  On June 15, 1972, Consul General Glysteen and his family moved into the top floor of the building while the newly opened U.S. Consulate operated out of its lower floor.  This arrangement lasted until July 6, 1973 when the U.S. Consulate General moved into its new office space on Ulitsa Furshtadtskaya.

As “America’s Home” in St. Petersburg, the Consul General’s Residence is much more than an official residence:  it is also the site for official receptions, meetings, movie showing, concerts, and other social events which help bring Americans and Russian together from school children to President George W. Bush and Vice President Albert Gore.

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