Back to Stellenbosch we go for this weeks Striated Sky. The building pictured; the Theological Seminary, 171 Dorp Street, Stellenbosch is another of the dozens of heritage buildings that are to be found in the picturesque university town. The current facade of the building was completed in 1905 but this site has a history that is filled with interesting stories and tragedy.
The site on which the Seminary stands was an island in the Eerste River and the spot where Simon van der Stel has camped on the night of 6 November 1679. It is the site of the first building in Stellenbosch, the drosty which was built in 1686/7 and housed the Court and home to the magistrate. It was in fact the magistrate, Samuel Martini de Meurs, who whilst attempting to light his pipe in a howling south-easterly wind, caused the first fire to destroy the building in 1710. The building, which was rebuilt burned down again in 1762 and in 1768 a flood destroyed some of the building.
In 1768 it was converted to an H Shape building and in 1770 due to deepening of the river, the northern branch of the Eerste dried up and was filled in. In 1828, local government was abolished and the building stood empty for 12. In 1853, it was bought by some villagers and ceded to the Church in 1859 with the inauguration of the Theological Seminary. In 1868, Carl Otto Hager added a second storey to the building.
In 1905 additions were added to the Seminary and the façade was changed to the present appearance with a predominantly eclectic approach with strong French influence.
The building is stunning and it would be amazing for someone to build a virtual tour of the changes that have taken place on the land over the years. You must take a look at this building while you walk the streets of Stellenbosch on your next visit. There is so much to learn and I hope that this will wet your appetite.
- Stellenbosch Heritage
- Stellenbosch University Theology Department
- Stellenbosch Connect
- Wikipedia list of Heritage Sites in Stellenbosch