The buildings around the first marketplace of the town, nowadays Myhrberg Park, give a good picture of the wooden town construction in Raahe from the 18th century up to the first decades of the 20th century.
The two-storey Sovelius house on the north side of the square was built in the 1780s. It is the oldest preserved dwelling house in Raahe. The house of the Sovelius’ shipowner family tells not only of the life of a middle-class family in the 18th and 19th centuries, but also of the architectural history. The early boarding of the house, vertical boarding finished with profiled covering laths, dates even from the 1790s. In addition to the covering lath boarding, there are several other architectural novelties visible from the latter part of the 18th century in the Sovelius house: the house is built on a stone base, it has preserved its carolinian floor plan and traces of red ochre painting have been found in the outside walls, both in the logs and the boarding.
Today, the house is in Raahe museum’s use. The upper floor has been restored to its appearance of the 1890s, and a shipowner-merchant interior museum is there in preparation. The museum office is located downstairs and changing exhibitions are also held there. The lower floor has been restored in the spirit of Art Nouveau to the appearance of the beginning of the 20th century. The Sovelius house was painted in connection with the restorations chrome oxide green, as in the 1890s. In its time, the Sovelius house was called “Gröna slottet” (the green castle).
Heikki Sovio’s house in the place of the old town hall was built in 1812, soon after the great town fire. Although building two-storey wooden houses was forbidden after the great fire Fredrik Sovelius built a stately two-storey log house imitating a stone building on the most dominant place of Rantakatu and the market square. There is a certain spirit of the Gustavian neo-classicism in this house, and a clear intention of representing a stone building. This has been succeeded in: the closed match boarding of the beginning of the 19th century gives a smooth surface for the facade. The strict symmetry of the facade and the plain simplicity of the windows emphasize the impression of a stone building. The roof is a mansard roof rare in Raahe. Another mansard roof preserved is in Kauppakatu 36. The mansard roof is considered to be a manifestation of the rococo influence. The courtyard of Raahe style has been preserved in Heikki Sovio’s house. One of the rarest gates preserved in its original form in Raahe leads to this yard. At the inner corner of the market square there is the old town detention room.
Sovio house is owned by the town of Raahe. The premises of the town’s cultural office, the town’s banqueting hall and reception rooms, and four conference rooms that are lent to various organizations are located there. The banqueting hall has a wallcovering of the latter part of the 19th century done according to models found in the rooms.
The former Freitag house was built in the early 19th century. The wing facing Rantakatu has later been changed and raised. The facade and the boarding of the house typically represent the late 19th century: the facade is divided by mouldings into zones, where the boarding is either horizontal or vertical.
The backyard house at Brahenkatu 1 dates from the 19th century, but at the beginning of the 20th century its exterior was changed to Art Nouveau style. The people in Raahe liked Art Nouveau style, whereas they did not become enthusiastic about changing their houses to revival styles like other towns did during the latter part of the 19th century. There is only one joiner style house in Raahe. Houses in the spirit of Art Nouveau are also represented by the small dwelling house owned by the Sovelius foundation on the north side of the Sovelius’ main building on Rantakatu, and by the small house at Saaristokatu 4 with its embellished windows. The backyard house at Brahenkatu 1 is the most decorative example of the Art Nouveau style houses in Raahe with its plant and animal motifs.