Of all the historical buildings that Port Elizabeth has unconscionably lost, this one perhaps rates as the most significant. On the threshold of the arrival of the 1820 Settlers, a Dutch immigrant by the name of Frederick Korsten, had made his mark prior to the establishment of Port Elizabeth. Perhaps for this reason alone, aside from any architectural merits of the buildings, these deserved to have been preserved for posterity.
This blog comprises two sections. Firstly it briefly sketches the journey undertaken by Korsten to arrive at Algoa Bay and what he did whilest in Port Elizabeth. In the second section, it provides an account by the final tenant of this property. He gives an insight into the treasures that were hidden therein. Finally the real reason for its reprehensible destruction are revealed.
Main picture: Cradock Place
Among the people who were influential in the nascent Port Elizabeth, was the Harries Clan. This blog recounts the life of the father and son who deserve greater recognition.
Main picture: Painting of Port Elizabeth from South End by Walford Arbouin Harries about 1851
Of all the early inhabitants of the nascent Port Elizabeth, Frederick Korsten deserves to be remembered, yet there is no tribute to him. The most fitting monument would have been the preservation of his former magnificent home but even that now lies in ruin.
Even a comprehensive biography would have salved our conscience yet even that road to salvation has been rejected. John Centlivres did make an attempt in 1868, yet in length it is little more than that of a eulogy. What he fails to mention or even allude to, is that Frederick Korsten was his father-in-law, nor does he provide an insight into what made him tick.
Such disdain for history reflects poorly on the denizens of Algoa Bay.
Main picture: Frederick Korsten
Often spoken of as “the father of the Eastern Cape,” friend and son-in-law of Frederik Korsten, one of Baillie’s Party aboard the Chapman, M.L.A, John Centlivres Chase was one of the prominent and influential settlers of the infant town.
Despite setting foot initially at Port Elizabeth, Chase’s odyssey would not commence there, but its terminus and swansong would be.
Main picture: John Centlivres Chase