Category: 'tourism'
Gateway Potchefstroom

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University, Administration Building and Selbourne Hall
Both the administration buildings, which was the first building of the Potchefstroom College of Agriculture to be erected and which was occupied in 1907, and the Selbourne Hall in which the Afrikaner Cattle Breeder Society was established in 1912, are closely associated with the history of agriculture in South Africa.
Goetz-Fleischack House

This restored homestead was erected for AM Goetz, resident magistrate of Potchefstroom, between 1860 and 1863. Apart from the restored outbuildings on the property, it is the only Karoo-style house in Potchefstroom that has maintained its original appearance. The house, therefore, forms an important cultural and historical link with the old Potchefstroom.

Historic Gereformeerde Church Building
In 1905 the Theological School of the Gereformeerde Church was transferred from Burgersdorp to Potchefstroom. This complex of four buildings was erected from 1905-1907 to accommodate the Theological School and its subsections, as well as a professor and students. Dr JD du Toit (Totius) occupied the professor's residence for 13 years and several of his volumes of verse originated here. He also worked on the Bible translation and a rhymed version of the Psalms. Furthermore, the University of Potchefstroom and the Hoër Skool Gymnasium developed from the Theological School and its Preparators School respectively.
House of President MW Pretorius

In the course of the second half of the nineteenth century Marthinus Wessel Pretorius played a very important role in the history of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek and the Republic of the Orange Free State After the death of his father, A W J Pretorius, in 1853 he was appointed as commandant-general of Rustenburg and Potchefstroom in his place. In 1857 he was elected as the first President of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek. With a view to closer union between the two Boer Republics he also accepted the presidency of the Orange Free State in 1860. Because of this he was obliged to resign as president of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek but in 1864 he was elected President of the Z.A.R. for the second time and he held this office till 1871. Shortly before the outbreak of the First War of Independence in 1881 he became a member of the Triumvirate who were in office during the war.
He lived at Potchefstroom for the greater part of his life and had his residence built in 1868. Not before January, 1894, did he sell this house to a certain J.C. Bodenstein. Bronze Plaque 1961

Krugerskraal Homestead and Property (Tygerfontein, District)
During the period 1920-1950, the Reverend JD du Toit (Totius), the well-known Afrikaans theologian lived here at various times, and it is here that he worked on the Afrikaans translation of the Bible and the majority of his rhymed versions of the book of Psalms.
University, Main Building
The main building, designed by the firm LOUW & LOUW, was inaugurated in 1931 and was the first and most important permanent academic building on the campus.
Nederduits Hervormde Church
This fine old church of the Nederduits Hervormde congregation of Potchefstroom, the first Voortrekker congregation in the Transvaal, stands on Church Square opposite the Town Hall in the heart of the town.
On 1st November, 1841. Potgieter, together with other Voortrekker, launched an appeal for contributions to a building fund. Early in 1842 the Rev. Daniel Lindley, who had been appointed in the previous years by the Volksraad of the Natalia Republic as minister to the Voortrekkers, visited Potchefstroom and there on 25th March he established the first congregation in the Transvaal. A cruciform church was built, with a loop-holde surrounding wall so that it could, if necessary, serve as a fortification as well.
The congregation received its first minister, the Rev. Dirk van der Hoff, only in May, 1853. Under his ministry the church soon became too small for the congregation and in April, 1859, the Church Council decided to build a new church on the same site and in the same form as the old one. On 26th December, 1859, President M W Pretorius and the Rev. van der Hoff laid the foundation stone. The church took six years to build. Slowly the brick walls, 600mm thick, arose on firm foundations of stone. Yellow-wood beams to support the roof and yellow-wood planks for the floors were transported over long distances. The pulpit was made in Pietermaritzburg and brought to Potchefstroom by ox-wagon. At last, on 24th February, 1866, the new church could be inaugurated.
In later years several alterations were made to the building. The thatched roof was replaced by iron, Three galleries were built in and the church was provided with a spire. A pipe organ was imported from London in about 1890. It was brought by ox-wagon from Vryburg, then the nearest station, and erected by the organist, J Perold, with the aid of instruction books.
During the period of more than a century that the church has been in use, outstanding ministers have preached in it. The long periods of service of some of them is especially noteworthy: The Rev. Dirk van der Hoff (1853-1885); the Rev. C W du Toit (1885 -1918); the Rev. S Vermooten (1918-1926); the Rev. W P J Poen (1926-1938) and, since 1938, the Rev. Job. Dreyer.
Old Magistrate's Court
Initially housing the offices of the magistrate, police, clerical staff and post office, this building's cornerstone was laid on 6 July 1895. Architecturally the building differs from most other buildings of the ZAR era in that its mansard roof shows obvious French Renaissance influence.
Old Powder Magazine
The powder magazine was erected between 1841 and 1863 and is one of the oldest existing buildings in Potchefstroom. This stone building played an important role from the time of its construction, especially during the First War of Independence (1880-1881).
Old Police Station
Built in 1939, the old police station was designed in neo-Georgian style with symmetrical facade, sliding windows and an arched entrance with rustic finish.
Old Post Office
This double-storey red-brick building in neo-Gothic style was constructed in 1909. On either side of the arched entrance is a bay window, of the sliding frame type. The old post office, police station and magistrate’s court form the largest section of the western facade of the Hervormde Church Square.
St Mary's Anglican Church
A visit by the first Bishop of the Orange Free State, Bishop Twells (see also Modderpoort), resident in Bloemfontein in February 1862, led to the establishment of the first Anglican Church in Potchefstroom. It was early in 1865 that Reverend W Richardson arrived to begin work on the first church north of the Vaal River. The foundation stone was laid by President Marthinus Wessel Pretorius on 25 March 1867. After the First War of Independence (1880-1881), a chancel was added in memory of Reverend Richardson and the men who fell in the siege.
After the first church was demolished, the present St Mary's was completed in 1891 it was designed by John George CRONE and built by Augustus Falconer. The foundation stone was laid on 25 March 1890. In August, when the walls were almost complete, the chancel arch collapsed, leading to the resignation of CRONE together with some members of the building committee. John William GAISFORD, an architect connected with the church for over 40 years came to the rescue. An opening service was held on 14 June 1891 without a ceiling and without the interior walls being plastered. Both ceiling and walls were completed in 1897. With the arrival of Reverend A Devonshire in 1911 and his motivation, a war memorial plaque was erected in the church after the First World War (1914-1918). The memorial hall was formally opened by HRH Prince Arthur of Connaught, Governor General of the Union of South Africa.
Town Hall
Built to a design of William BLACK and William FAGG of Cape Town, and constructed by George Warren of Potchefstroom under the supervision of WH Coultas, the Clerk of Works, the Town Hall is a double-story structure with a facade divided into two by an imposing 26.52m clock tower. The large copper clock was custom built, and bears the lettering 'Potchefstroom anno 1909, B Eysbouts, Austin Nederlad'. The building was opened on 10 March 1909, with General Smuts as the guest of honour.
Andrew Carnegie Library and Townhouse
The Carnegie Library is a single-storey building just north of the town hall, and was completed in 1911. The building was the work of the architects NT COWIN and EM POWERS. Consideration was given to building the library sympathetically in style with that of the Town Hall as the latter is considered to be the architectural highlight of Potchefstroom. Even the portal is identical to that of the town hall.
Avenue of Oaks
The longest Oak Avenue in Southern Africa, Potchefstroom Oak Avenue of 6.48km comprises Botha, Kock, Kruger, Retief, Van Riebeeck and Tom Streets and Calderbank Avenue. It stretches from the Agricultural Center to the Lakeside Resort.
The trees were planted following a decision of the Town Council of Potchefstroom in 1910. A stone becon with a bronze plaque was erected on the corner of Lombard and Kruger Street when the avenue was declared a national monument in 1975. The becon was constructed with stones from the old North Bridge.
OPM Prozesky Bird Sanctuary
Location: The OPM Prozesky Bird sanctuary lies to the shout of Potchefstroom along the banks of the Mooi River.
History: The reserve was established in the 1980's. The disused sewage ponds of the local municipality attracted prolific birdlife and nature lovers and the municipality wanted to establish a sanctuary where all forms of wildlife would be protected. The reserve is a joint project of Birdlife Wesvaal and the Potchefstroom City Council whose land it is. The reserve is named after the well-known ornithologist, Dr OPM Prozesky of the Transvaal Museum who championed the cause of the reserve.
Conservation: Prozesky Bird Sanctuary was established to conserve and protect the bio-diversity of the habit. As part of our green heritage, we have a duty towards the environment to preserve and protect it for future generations. At the same time the area should be accessible to all for enjoyment and education. The reserve belongs to the community of Potchefstroom therefore it should be utilized with minimal disturbance.
Recreation: Birding is the main activity and the reserve has been developed and maintained to be accessible to birders on foot. The paths are maintained by the Potchefstroom City Council and lead of different birding spots and hides. Bridges enable the visitor to gain access to all parts of the reserve and the hides are strategically placed to give the best views of birdlife.
Species: As the area is a wetland, may types of water birds (and waders in summer) can be observed in close quarters. About 200 species have been observed over the years. Interesting birds almost always seen include African Purple Swamphen, Black Crake, Black-winged Stilt and various species of duck. Herons abound, even a goloath Heron pair are residents. In the reed beds different warblers can be heard, weavers are prolific in summer and in the grassveld waxbills, cisticolas, pipits and chats can be seen.
Facilities: The reserve is fenced but easily accessible from the main entrance. Visitors can enter the reserve during daylight hours, no permit is needed and no entrance fee is levied. The kiosk, toilets and Hide no 2 are licked after office hours, but keys can be obtained by arrangement. Access by car for persons who walk difficulty can be arranged.
Education: Birdlife Wesvaal has open days on the first Saturday of the month. Experienced birders guide the novice or newcomer through the reserve. Environmental awareness is also taught by arrangement with local schools and at special occasions like National Bird Week and Birding Big Day. Guided walks are available by arrangement.
Scientific Importance: Ringing of birds for scientific research is undertaken on a regular basis by Birdlife Wesvaal and the Zoology students from the North West University.