17 July 2015

Ostrich Feather Palaces


Oudsthoorn became known world-wide due to the ostrich feather industry.  From about 1860 it was high fashion for ladies to use ostrich feathers as decoration on their outfits.  Between 1900 and 1914 the price was unbelievable high and the farmers and merchants in Oudtshoorn reaped the rewards.

Numerous immigrants, particularly the Jews, were drawn to the “boom” town. Soon a rivalry started between the farmers and merchants to see who could build the most beautiful homes or “ostrich feather palaces”.  Beautiful homes were built with stained glass windows, cast-iron work (“broekielace”) and turrets.
Here are a few of the ostrich palaces we found while walking in Oudtshoorn in Aug 2013:
 Le Roux House (46 High Street)


The house was built for JHJ le Roux.  It was designed by Charles Bullock and was built during 1909 and 1910.  It is now part ot the CP Nel Museum but the ouside of the building look terrible.  The museum was closed and we could not go inside to see if they take better care of is the inside. (We visited in Aug 2013.  We have not returned yet and I do not know the current condition of the house)
Read here for more information.  

Gottland House (72 Baron van Rheede Street)


This house was designed by Charles Bullock in 1902. It is currently a retirement home.

Mimosa Lodge (85 Baron van Reede Street)


This house was designed by Charles Bullock in 1907 for a jewish merchant, Robert Sladowski.  It was built using local sandstone.
Read this article about the centenary of the house in 2007.

Montague House (12 Baron van Rheede Street)

This house was possibly designed by Charles Bullock.  It was built for the Lipschitz-family. In 2007 the house was restored by Mr Bernard Esterer and is now the Montague House restaurant.

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