The Old Fisher House
You are standing in front of an old fisherman's house. This building is one of the oldest in Langebaan. It was built in 1907/08 by a local fisherman from Langebaan. We are here in the heart of the old Langebaan, the so-called Middedorp. From here Langebaan developed into the holiday resort on the West Coast. It is located on the former main street of Langebaan, which is why it is still called Main Street. Today, the actual main street is the Osterval Street, on which one drives into Langebaan.
When the old fisherman's house was built, other few houses were far away from each other. Most of the residents were fishermen who tried their luck on the South Atlantic. But also the Langebaan Lagoon and Saldanha Bay were rich fishing grounds. The lagoon was and still is the nursery for many fish species. From the house to the beach it was only a few meters through the dunes. Today you have to stick to the roads and paths and it only takes a little longer to get to the main beach of today.
Due to the lack of fresh water, Langebaan developed only slowly. In 1919 the village of Langebaan was officially founded.
The house of the old fisherman survived the decades unchanged. The basic structure has been preserved until today. To the street side there is a veranda, called a Stoep in Afrikaans. Through the door you enter a smaller room, from which two equally sized rooms faced off to the right and left. Straight ahead a door leads to the old kitchen with the large fireplace. Usually the entrance to the property was flanked by two palm trees. Next to the house there was usually a small eucalyptus grove. In case of this house it was on the neighboring plot to the left. These eucalyptus trees were especially needed in winter to heat the house with the wood and to cook all year round. The last remains of the eucalyptus trees were cut down in 2017. Eucalyptus was very popular because the tree grows fast and therefore a quick replacement for the felled wood is available.
Great changes for the house came in the 60s of the last century. In the course of Apartheid, the Parliament passed the Group Areas Act in 1950. This Act allowed the South African state to assign certain areas to specific ethnic groups. The ethnic groups were distinguished on the basis of skin color in white, black, colored and Indian or Chinese. Each of these groups was only allowed to stay in the district assigned to it. If, for example, a black person was found in a white district without any reason, he was immediately arrested and had to expect a prison sentence of up to two years.
At that time the fisherman's house belonged to a colored fisherman. But this part of the village was changed into a white part. This meant for the fisherman that he had to leave his house and move to the new district intended for colored people. He sold the house to a family of German origin. With the money he was able to build himself a new house. The tradition says that he was quite happy to leave the damp house. When it was built there were no separating layers to protect the masonry from moisture. The groundwater here is about 60 cm deep and a lot of sand from the beach was used during construction. This material is still like a sponge today and especially in winter, when the groundwater level gets a bit higher, it sucks up the moisture in the masonry. Until today all owners have to fight with this humidity. But the old fisherman built himself a new house, which finally had dry walls even in winter.
Probably the first white owners built the gable over the Stoep. This gable reminds a bit of the Art Deco style. It is very untypical for the West Coast and the fact that there are stone balls to decorate it is very unusual. It is said in Langebaan that these stone balls were painted black at the beginning. But these balls did not stay on the gable for long. When the new owners were not in Langebaan, someone pushed the ball down from the gable. This was repeated several times until the balls were painted white. Since then, no more attempts have been made to push them down.
The white color of the house is typical for the West Coast. Because of the many mussel shells a large supply of lime was available. The Langebaan Lagoon was full of fossil mussel shells. These were brought to Langebaan by small barges until the 70s of the last century, where they were processed into lime. This lime was used to paint the houses on the West Coast.
Slowly the place began to grow and more and more buildings were built around the old fishermen's house. Until today many of them are only inhabited on weekends and during the holiday periods. At that time the police station of Langebaan was located in the immediate vicinity and at the junction of Main Street / Bree Street was the Marra Center with a small shop. Still in the 90s of the last century an Indian had his shop here. If you forgot to buy cream for the afternoon tea on Sunday, you could get it from him, because the supermarket closed punctually on Sunday noon.
In the meantime, the neighboring property with the small eucalyptus grove had been cut off and was forgotten for a long time. Only in the course of the last heavy dry period the owner took care of the property again. As the eucalyptus trees need a lot of water it is recommended to cut them down and replace them with native trees. This is especially important to reduce the consumption of ground water. So the owner cut down all remaining eucalyptus trees and was able to sell the land successfully.
The old fisherman's house has been sold several times. In 2014 a German emigrating to South Africa bought it and converted the former fisherman's house, which had meanwhile become a holiday home, into a small guest house.
How to log this find:
You need to answer two easy questions and fulfill one task:
- What is the house number of the plot? (Black on light blue at the garden door.)
- On the concrete wall to the right of the garden door are indicated / fake wall stones. How many half and whole stones can be found there?
- At GZ take a picture of your caching name written on your hand, paper or Smartphone or showing your GPS with light blue at the garden door in the background.
Please submit your answers via the GeoCaching Message Centre or e-mail them to the CO via his profile link.
Then attach the picture with your log.
Virtual Rewards 2.0 - 2019/2020
This Virtual Cache is part of a limited release of Virtuals created between June 4, 2019 and December 31, 2020. Only 4,000 cache owners were given the opportunity to hide a Virtual Cache. Learn more about Virtual Rewards 2.0 on the Geocaching Blog.