Before Ponte there was…

My next feature piece on JHBlive is out and gives a brief history on the site where Ponte now stands. Read it HERE in all it’s glory.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, do go back and check the older posts where I’ve added new photos and information. Of interest is the latest Fairview post where I managed to take a photo from roughly the same position as  a postcard from 107 years ago.

I came across this interesting short documentary by Philip Bloom which has a positive spin on Ponte and it’s future.

Ponte Tower from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

This entry was published on November 28, 2013 at 7:46 am. It’s filed under Johannesburg and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

13 thoughts on “Before Ponte there was…

  1. Barry Eslick on said:

    I am interested in Hillbrow, which was my “stamping ground” as a teenager in the 60s. So I opened Google Earth and started “driving” around using Streetview. I noticed that a Jeep SUV was following the camera car everywhere. I must assume that the camera car was being protected by security personnel in the Jeep.
    I looked around for the residential hotel where my Grandmother used to live, but the memories have faded so that either the hotel is gone or I need some input from my family.
    Joburg was a happening town in those wild and wonderful days.

  2. Hi Barry,

    Glad I’m not the only one who noticed the black Jeep! It was for security.

    I spent my late teens/early 20s (1988-1996) in Hillbrow and worked there until 1999. It’s changed a bit! From a research angle the early history is lacking, especially pictures from before the first highrise boom on the 1930s and the second one in the 1950s/60s.

    There are some good Hillbrow groups on Facebook where many old pictures are posted and fondly commented on. Let me know if you’re looking for something specific and I’ll see what I can find. I drive through there every now and again.

    • Barry Eslick on said:

      After discussing this with family, I found out that the residential hotel was the Whitehall Hotel in Abel road in Berea. Streetview is great but a lot of detail is missing, obviously for privacy reasons. But, I have been up and down Abel road (with Streetview) and no joy. There have been changes and it’s possible that it was demolished. It is sad that some iconic buildings are torn down without first determining whether they are of historic signifigance. But, that’s “progress”….

      • Janice Clark Fairbridge on said:

        I was manageress of Whitehall Hotel in 83/4. Can’t see it on google maps now though?
        Janice Fairbridge

    • Marcia Rykov on said:

      I too am interested in Hillbrow. I worked in that great city in the early 60’s. Does anyone remember the Doney Coffee Bar on Kotze St? I would appreciate you connecting me with some Hillbrow groups on Facebook to see some old pictures and discuss the good old days.
      Thanks in advance for your help and for all your incredible information!

  3. A Walker on said:

    My Grandfather also lived at the Whitehall Hotel and we visited him there in 1983, maybe you remember him Janice, Bill Handley.

  4. A Walker on said:

    My grandfather Bill Handley lived at the Whitehall Hotel and we visited him there in 1983, do you remember him?

  5. A Walker on said:

    He lived there for quite a long time I think and he used to organise professional boxing fights. I was only 16 when I came to visit him from the UK and was only in SA for 3 months. He died not long after so I never saw him again, don’t really know much about him but I am now doing a family tree to try and find out more.

    I can’t/don’t know how to attach pics to this site but I do have a couple.

  6. The Doney coffee bar had fish tanks with turtles in it and they used to serve the best black forest cake ever. The owners were Rocco, Rafaelle and Mazola

    • Fanie de Villiers on said:

      I have lately become interested in the work of poet Wopko Jensma, who disappeared in 1993. I have read somewhere that he used sit in Doney’s on his own, scribbling poetry on pieces of paper. I have lived in the Berea/Yeoville area since 1986, and I’m still in a house in Yeoville. Never visit Hillbrow anymore, though, too rough. Neither do I frequent any bars in Rockey Street, Yeoville.

      • Fanie de Villiers on said:

        PS. Was Doney Coffee Bar more or less where Fontana appeared later on, underneath Highpoint?

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