The story of Plein Street

The story of Plein Street

In the 1800s Plein Street was one of the grandest streets in Stellenbosch, with rows of Victorian double story houses. But since it was part of Stellenbosch’s CBD, the street’s older buildings soon gave way to development.

Today there are only a few remnants of its early history.

Die Wesleyaanse pastorie was in Pleinstraat,  Hoek van plein en van Ryneveld straat het drie van die vier ou geboue cvverloor, insluitend old BLoemhof . 83b 85b 89b 92a 103a 106-7 108 126 128 220 Op schumacher se skildery is Pleinstraat bloot 'n eikelaning , aan die noordekant begrens deur plasies. Daar is twee huise, die skuisgeplaast ehuis wat later die wesleyaanse pastorie sou wrd, en die diaconuyhuis in huidige ryneveldstraat. (57) Waar Absa gebou vandag is was die Ou Bloemhof gebou (sien foto). Teen 1817 het Pleinstraat ook nou al 'n beboude straat geword sedert die ou kerkhofblog in 1782 in erwe verdeel is. Hier, sowel as aan die noordekant, het avnd die mooiste "nuwe" uise van Stellenbosh gestaan, baie van huille was volledige H vormige huise. . DIe latere wesleuyaanse  pastorie met sy sierlike laat barokgewel het ook in Pleinstraat gestaan, aan die noordekant, diep geleen en skuins geplaas as erkenning aan die koers van die noordleike tak van die meulsloot. Alby takke van die sloot het van hier af diagonaalsgewys der 'n blok getrek,, met nou stegies daarlangs, die suidelike stegie, dorpsteeg, bestaan vandag nog. in Pleinstraat was daar oor 'n ry dubbelverdieinghuise soos die van dorpstraat 100-118, wat verdwyn het.
Here is what Plein Street looked like around the year 1900 (from the Braak) (photo: Murison).

  1. The ‘Poortjie’

Have you ever noticed that there is a small entrance gate next to specsavers (close to Anna Basson properties)? This entrance with its gabled ornamentation is one of the oldest pieces of construction left in Plein Street today (it dates from before 1800). Today it is a national heritage site.


2. The ‘De Witt house’ next to the town hall

This quaint house (photograph below) situated between the Absa building and the town hall is the only house left on the Northern side of Plein Street. It has since been extended and now seems part of the library and town hall complex.



3. De Wet square and De Wet building

Did you know that the name De Wet Square commemorates two renowned businessmen in Stellenbosch – the De Wet brothers? Koos and Jan de Wet were orphans adopted by the Van Coller family in the 1800s. Both started working in the family’s shop on the corner of Bird Street and Church street, and grew up to be hardworking and with a knack for business. When their foster father died in 1897 (this is the date on the building below), the brothers acquired some money to buy the company. With time the “Gebroeders De Wet” became known all over South Africa. As far as I know the De Wet family owned and operated the business for three generations.


Other legendary Stellenbosch businesses include Joerning’s Pharmacy,  Mr Samie Voldsteedt’s general dealer in Dorp Street, and Mr Du Toit’s shoe and shoe repair shop

 To read about the four oldest streets in Stellenbosch, click here.




Ydi is a young Stellenbosser who loves writing about the everyday things that go unnoticed. She likes dusty books and seeing how the past isn’t always what it seems. She enjoys researching Stellenbosch, its heritage and its people.

Article and Photos: Y Coetsee 2017
Sources: Stellenbosch Drie Eeue (1979)
Stellenbosch ons oudste dorp – Stellenbosch 300 aksie



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