Graaff-Reinet Road - leading to established businesses

2015-07-23 06:01

The significance of a name, whether it be the name of a person, pet, vehicle, town or street, should never be underestimated. In fact we are consumers of names.

Have you ever thought, while driving through streets, where the specific names come from? The sense of identity and uniqueness that a name gives is at the heart of why names interest us and why they are important to society.

Uitenhage was established during 1804 as the third district of the then Cape colony. The other districts were Swellendam and Graaff- Reinet. The initial development of Uitenhage as a town was more like a manorial estate than a village. The first and main street was named Caledon Street which was built in front of the Drostdy. The only other streets were Cuyler Street, John Street and Baird Street.

With Graaff-Reinet being an important district in the Cape Colony the road leading towards this Karoo town inevitably was named Graaff-Reinet Road, as it still is named some 211 years later.

The prosperity of Uitenhage was based upon producing fresh produce and the big boom came with the wool washeries alongside the banks of the Zwartkops River. The latter made Uitenhage become internationally known for its wool industry, as it still is to this day. Surnames of influential individuals involved in this industry are still visible in town as street names like Gubb, Inggs and Niven.

Graaff-Reinet Road leads to the heart of town and parts of it were built alongside the water furrow which channelled water from the Springs on the outskirts of town. This furrow is still visible next to the road. The furrow channelled water to a mill which was erected close to Magennis Park.

Today Graaff-Reinet Road offers access to a variety of established businesses which include from:

• a restaurant andamp; coffee shops

• beauty salons

• audio business andamp; fuel stations

• driving school andamp; car wash

• hardware shop

• photo centre

• electrical, lighting andamp; gift shop

• guest house

So next time you drive along Graaff-Reinet Road, take a look at the local businesses and support them. Also notice the old water furrow next to the golf course, which many moons ago supplied the heart of town with water.

Next to Graaff-Reinet Road is Willow Dam which once hosted a historical narrow gauge steam train called “Little Bess” which originally was used in the construction of Lake Mentz, now known as Darlington Dam.

The train unfortunately has been sold and lost to the town.

Nowadays the revamped skateboard park offers entertainment to the young and adventurous

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