Monday, December 28, 2015

Geo Wehry & Co. Building in Semarang and A Neglected Tombstone in Bandung

Geo Wehry & Co. building (with the minaret and utility pole) as seen from
Societeitsbrug or known as Jembatan Berok in 1925
(source: Leiden University Library)  
Learning history sometimes looks like solving the puzzle.  It has the whole record of the past and the big picture of history is made only from small, seemingly insignificant pieces. but then when we combined it all together, we can see that it’s something important, even its shaped our understanding of the present or something. Couple days ago with my old friends from Senior High School, I went to the pool (billiard hall) in Kota Lama. Its belongs to the one’s of the new hangout place in the middle of the development of Kota Lama in the recent years, and this kind of place always attract me to pay a visit. I want to know how its look like after the renovation and also its convertion of function.

This place, that named as Kota Lama Billyard, using the former office of one’s of the greatest multinational company in Dutch Indies (present days Indonesia) during the Colonial Period, Geo Wehry & Co. Its belongs to the Top Big Five company at time together with Lindeteves Stokvis, Netherlands Handel Maatschappij (NHM), Borsumij, Jacobson Van Den Berg and Internationale Crediet-en Handels-Vereeniging Rotterdam (Internatio). Geo Wehry & Co. originated in 1862 at Batavia (nowadays Jakarta). By the end of the century, it had branches at Surabaya, Cirebon and Semarang. The company was particularly active in agricultural estates and the export of agricultural product like tobacco, coffee and tea, with the famous product of it, its Goalparra Tea. During the twenties it began to participate in brewery industries, with the Tjap Koentji as the famous brands of it. According to Indische Literaire Wandelingen sites, the building is designed by D.W Hinse.

Inside the building, now turns into pool (Billyard Hall)
D. W. Hinse J.Hzn. is a Dutch architect that coming to Semarang firstly in 1902 to preparing  the construction of Nederlandsch Indische Spoorwed Maatschappij Hoofdkantoor, or well known as Lawang Sewu. Lawang Sewu is designed by Prof. Jacob F. Klinkhamer in Delft and Mr. B. J. Ouëndag, architect in Amsterdam, but then for the construction the D.W. Hinse is commissioned to became in-house architect with the plans of the building, to commence and lead the work. Its explained in Het Administratiegebouw der Nederlandsch-Indische Spoorweg-Maatschappij te Semarang, Nederlandsch-Indië Oud en Nieuw, Volume 1 Number 1, May 1916. translated by Ir. Tjahjono Rahardjo

The D.W. Hinse wife's tombstone in Ci Guriang
springs in Bandung.
Its interesting! So its seems like D.W. Hinse after His task is done in 1907 when the Lawang Sewu construction is accomplished and officialy inaugurated, He still spent His life in Semarang. But another interesting story is about His wife. Well, I tried to to know more about this person D.W. Hinse but it tooks me to the site of the fellow heritage preservation activist in Bandung, Paman Ridwan (See His sites here), that there’s a neglected tombstone in the natural springs in Bandung that belongs to the D.W. Hinse wife! In the tombstone is written as follow,

9 MAART 1859
13 JANUARI 1903

In His sites, Paman Ridwan also written if He then found an obituary in Het Nieuws van de Dag – De Kleine Courant, stated the Elisabeth Adriana Hinse-Reiman died the January 14th in Bandung, from Her husband D.W. Hinse, in Tjandi Semarang. Well another pieces of mistery, D.W. Hinse also lived in Tjandi like Thomas Karsten, a notable Dutch architect. The tombstone now laid in the natural spring of Ci Guriang, and used as the washboard, sounds strange eh? The area once is a kerkhof but then its demolished to built a sport complex, GOR Pajajaran. 

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