Grand Station Hotel 1896
Built to serve miners from the nearby Wolhunter mine, the building which still stands today, is one of the oldest and grandest. It had a close association with boxing and served as a soup kitchen and refuge during the 1922 miner’s strike. The building was designed by Reid & Williams who were also responsible for six other buildings between 1894 and 1897 (one being the second Masonic Temple in Plein Street)
When looking closely at the pictures, be aware that the Grand Central Hotel’s position can be deceptive depending from which direction it’s looked at. There is a short and long side.
Most of the hotels interior décor (woodwork, fireplaces, delft tiles) was replaced in 1966 in order to comply with Hotel Board requirements. It was fondly known as ‘Norman’s Grill’ for many years and had a reputation of serving the best prawns in Johannesburg. Norman Gaffen took over the hotel from his father, Jacob Gaffen, after his death in 1938. Norman was 16 years old at the time! Jacob originally acquired the hotel in 1918 from Mr. Rabinson. The grill was still going in the early to mid 1980s – but I stand corrected on this fact.
Jeppe Post Office 1897
Although plans can’t be traced, it’s believed the Jeppe Post Office on the corner of Main & Gus Street was designed by Sytze Wierda of the Public Works Department. He was also responsible for Rissik Street, Fordsburg and the old Braamfontein Post Office as well as the three-story telephone tower in Plein Street. The foundation stone for the Jeppestown Post Office was laid on 15 December 1897 and it was completed about a year after the Rissik Street Post Office.
It’s one of seven public buildings that the Public Works Department of ZAR erected in Johannesburg. They favoured the Second Empire style combined with Dutch influence.
*Click on the photos for a larger and more detailed view