We are looking at a very common photo: a grey street in an unknown city, and only a tented house on the left is somewhat Ufa-like. Now if you go to the far end of Pushkin Street you can't say that this is the place where this photo was made. Local senior residents explain that all the buildings in this part of the street survived until the 1970s. Only the tents were demolished "for the purpose of saving". Right behind the tented house one may see the trees of Vidineyev's (nowadays Aksakov's) Publlic Garden, as well as a house near the lake. On the right side of the photo one may see a construction site of the quarter's most beautiful building, which belonged to woodmonger Aleksandr Smolentsev. He bought this site from the heirs of a certain Varvara Adamantova, obviously, in the early 20th century. At least, senior residents claim that it already existed in the mid 1900s.
A century ago the last quarter of Pushkin Street was considered an upscale one. The Kurovskys and Kurkovskys families of nobility, Pyotr and Aleksandr Tolstoys, chairman of governorate board Koropachinsky, an official for special affairs Yevgeny Topornin (a descendent of the hero of the 1812 Great Patriotic War), a member of the Muslim Spiritual Board Nurmukhamet Mamleyev, a physician Aleksandr Sokolov, as well as Pyotr Kadkin who stemmed from a long-standing merchant family.
This quarter was lucky to have a photographer Apollony Zirakh as one of its residents. That is why there are at least four photos of this area: both in summer and winter. The Smolentsev's house, though, can be seen only on one of them: and it is not a building proper, but merely a construction site.
The new two-storey brick house was the only one built in this quarter of Pushkinskaya Street in the 20th century. It turned out to be a wonderful sample of brick style. As distinct from similar houses of Talov on Gogolevskaya Street and Sultanova's house on Tsentralnaya (Lenin) Street, it is very delicate in decoration (horizontal rustication of the first-floor wall, multilevel frieze under the cornice, an attic with a lucarne, double windows over the archway etc). Besides, the major façade is as long as the estate itself: for this reason the unknown architect had to design en entrance archway. The most distinct decoration of the Smolentsev's house is its wonderful fencing over the major facade.
For some reason the owner of this luxurious house was almost never mentioned in pre-revolution reference books. Only in 1914 address calendar one may read the following: "Aleksandr Smolentsev supplies millstones in Minyar". In another place simply: "Aleks. Smolentsev in Ufa". Obviously, Smolentsev was so popular that he did not need advertising.
In the Soviet age the road was graded (they believe now that this unevenness was a part of defensive structures of the ancient settlement Ufa-2): the first floors of some of the houses turned out to be below the road level. The houses are still stark, but the life of today is approaching: in the mid 1970s a garage was built on the southern part of the street, later a dormitory of the Arts Institute. The house of the Hero of the Soviet Union Natalya Kovshova was demolished. For a long time Smolentsev's house was occupied by the Ministry of Social Welfare. Now it is used by the Republican Narcological Dispensary.