A town on the other side of Heilbron, about 45km to the south-west. Our first visit there was January 2011.
I couldn't find much history, it was established by proclamation in 1912 on the initiative of some local farmers and settlers, as it is stated in the reference. Received municipal status in 1920.
The present church, one of those beautiful sand stone churches, was built in 1921. The architect was J.R.Burg, he also designed the churches in Dullstroom and Belfast.
Before the church was built the community used a former British army barrack as a church and that was put in use on the 10 October 1913. Fondly referred to by the locals as 'die perdestal', it was actually not a barrack but a horse stable which the community purchased from the British army in Bloemfontein. I presume on re-erection in Edenville it was suitably modified so that it could be used as a church and community hall. The church community did celebrate their centenary this year (2013)
Changing demographics are also visible in Edenville and supported by the church records. In Ref.3 is a list of church membership. Whilst in the 1930's the total number of souls being part of the church was close to 2000, it is now down to 234. And it was not a sudden decline over the last few years, but a steady decline from 1940 to now. One has to ask the reason for this, what has been quoted to us is that the young people don't want to stay in Edenville, there is nothing to do for them and no work. This is a phenomena not only restricted to Edenville, we have seen this in many of the rural towns. And, of course, that doesn't mean the town is getting empty, its just that the composition of the population is changing. For instance many of the shops are now owned and run by Chinese and Pakistani people.
A collection to be seen at Edenville Motors. Unfortunately we could only view them through the window, the place was closed on that Saturday. It is not only vintage cars but also motorbikes and other memorabilia related to cars.
We went back to it during November 2013, found it open and the owner Fielie Heymans in attendance. We could now study the old cars and motorbikes and other paraphernalia in detail. His explanation for the collection is that even as a child he had this urge to fix things that were broken. In his office there is a collection of alarm clocks and pocket watches that mostly date from those early days. Unfortunately age is creeping up on him and he started to sell off some of his exhibits.
At the edge of town we found this vacant building and surmised it must have been a boarding house for school-going children. Something that was very common to accommodate the children from the far off farms who would not be able to travel in and out each day.
According to the corner stone it was erected in 1950.
Beautiful sand stone school building. But it looks like most of its pupils have left. I think changing demographics, as mentioned above, of the rural areas have reduced the number of pupils such that it is not viable to run a secondary school.
It looks like some of the class rooms are still in use and in one of them we noticed that they had been covering the French revolution (1789). Exactly what I had to do when I went to school, times don't change. Well, its important, so I think, this revolution was one of the events that drastically changed the direction of European history.
In the middle of town we found this quaint little house, after admiring it and taking some pictures the owner came along. He explained that he just bought the place, its in ruin, but he indents to restore it to its former character. Certainly an admirable undertaking and I am looking forward to visiting the town again to see what has been achieved.
P.S.: this is now November 2013 (2nd picture), nearly three years later and nothing has happened. I am disappointed.
On the road between Edenville and Heuningspruit, on the south side of the road about 10km before Heuningspruit is a tower sticking out of the trees. This drew our attention when we were passing there and had to go and investigate.
We found the remnants of a factory that produced lime and the tower was the kiln where the limestone (Calcium carbonate) was heated to convert to burned lime, Calcium oxide. The burned lime was then further treated by adding water to it to convert it to hydrated lime or Calcium hydroxide.
The lime plant was started at around the 1900 by a Scott. Gustaf Borcherding from Germany took over the plant and the company at about 1906 to 1908. Under his ownership the plant got a new kiln, the one that is still standing, and some more downstream equipment.
Later on he brought in his nephew to help and to take over eventually, that was Georg Schwiering. The plant ran until 1956, it had to be closed down because of declining market and some changes to the mining law which affected this operation negatively.
Gustav Borcherding died in 1941 and his wive Norah two years later. Their bodies were embalmed and placed in a tomb on the farm.
An article on the Heritage Portal describes the history and technicalities of the lime kiln in more detal, check: www.theheritageportal.co.za/article/industrial-heritage-story-behind-lime-kiln-heuningspruit
Ref.1.:'Standard Encyclopedia of Southern Africa', 1972
Ref 2.: "Ons Kerk Album van Hollandsche Kerken en Leeraren", publisher: unknown, printed in the 1920's
Ref 3.: NG Kerk Edenville Eeufees Gedenkboek 1913 - 2013
Ref 4.: information and pictures received from Erika van Zyl, a descendant of Georg Schwiering.