For many residents of older generation the grey building (16, P. Vaičaičio St.) is known as the house of a famous public figure and lawyer A. Bulota (1872-1941), where the prominent writer Žemaitė lived and died. But is it really?
One story wooden house with mansard roof was built in the late 19th century. It was purchased by Bulotai family in the early 20th century. According to few sources, Bulotai bought the house in 1917; others assume the purchase happened in 1925. Probably, the latter opinion is right. Between years 1917 and 1918 the Bulotai family acquired a house on Kęstučio St., which was bombarded in 1941.
Since 1940 many institutions and organizations have been based in the house on P. Vaičaičio St. From 1981 to 1983 it was Kapsukas Library’s Acquisitions Department. In 1984 a white brick wing was attached to the southern side of the house. Currently, a part of the building is sheltering Lithuanian reserve officers of Marijampolė department.
And now about how a legend was born about famous writer Žemaitė (Julia Beniuseviciute-Žymantienė) living and dying in the Bulotai house. The inspection act on cultural monument’s status (issued by Planning and Projects' Management Division of Architecture and Urbanization Department of Marijampolė municipality administration) states: “A. Bulota settled in and started his legal practise in 1917“ . However, a number of sources and the research of a historian B. Mašalaitis proved that the Bulotai family moved in the house on Kęstučio St. in 1918. It was the house where Žemaitė was living, after she had returned from America, and until her death on December 7, 1921. The fact was confirmed by an official obituary and by the writer Juozas Tumas-Vaizgantas, who attended Žemaitė’s funeral at Kęstutis Street. The fact that Žemaitė could not be related to the building on P. Vaičaičio Street was stated by the historian B. Mašailaitis, because A. Bulota acquired the house on P. Vaičaičio Street in 1925.
At the beginning of the Revival period city’s intellectuals were seeking to create a commemoration plaque in memory of Žemaitė, and place it on the building on Vaičaičio St. Unfortunately, Second World War ruined their hope by destroying the house.
On the other hand, Marijampolė’s residents have a rare opportunity to visit Žemaitė’s grave in the old Cemetery and a modest house on P. Vaičaičio St. that protects memory of the man who took care of the writer and her legacy.
This building is related to another Lithuanian writer Gabrielė Petkevičaitė-Bitė, who was a guest at the Bulotai household around 1930. The fact is confirmed by a photography in which the writer is standing with Aleksandra Bulotienė and Andrius Bulota near the housegates. The photography is preserved at Maironis Lithuanian Literature Museum.