That is why almost all the first kindergartens were built-in. A few years later it turned out that they had an increased incidence: the children had nowhere to go out, there were no bedrooms, the groups were small, and there was no way to ventilate them. Gosstroy (Eng.: State construction) reluctantly agreed to separate buildings for children’s institutions in Norilsk, but this was in the 1960s.
And in the 1950s, three kindergartens were placed in the small 18th quarter limited by the Komsomolskaya and Sovetskaya streets and Leninsky prospekt: at Komsomolskaya street, b.14 and b.18, and Sovetskaya street, b.8. Three kindergartens were located in the lower, basement floors. Only one of them has survived to this day.
The 18th quarter’s buildings have an unusual configuration. Initially, these houses had communal apartments with shared kitchens and wood-burning stoves.
One of its residents Elena Muhametchikova recalled her native yard:
We moved to a communal apartment on Komsomolskaya street, b.18 when I was four years old. Our windows looked at School No. 6, where I went to study. And you could get to the grocery store without leaving the entrance, which was very convenient. A lot of children were walking in the spacious yard: a hill was raked in the center of it in winter, we played king of the hill, dug caves and passages in snowdrifts.
Our communal apartment was large, four-room, three families lived there. At first there was a wood-burning stove in the common kitchen, but it was no longer used, each family had a small electric stove. There were no modern refrigerators, there was a built-in niche under the window and boxes outside the windows instead of them.
The neighbors lived together, washed the floors in turn, did not quarrel because of the common bath and bathroom, celebrated the holidays together. A spacious, long corridor was a playroom for us children. There was a hanger for outerwear next to each room, and sleds and skis were put in the corridor at the entrance. The doors to the rooms were not locked.
In the History Spot photo project previous publication, we told about the young engineer Albert Voronov.
Text: Svetlana Ferapontova, Photo: Nornickel Polar Division archive