Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Controversial Baakens Parkway Proposal

Most residents regard the Baakens River, apart from its lower extremity, as being a vital green lung for the expanding city. Despite this, to solve a seemingly intractable transport problem, the solution proposed by the City Engineers Department was to convert a treasure into a paved highway. Would the nascent conservation/environmental groups win the battle over the engineers’ dream project?

Main picture: Aerial view of the lower reaches of the Baakens Valley with the freeway superimposed upon it

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: Horse Racing in the Bay

As racing horses is as old as riding these hoofed herbivorous mammals, the exact origins of horse racing are lost in the mists of time. Uitenhage preceded Port Elizabeth in establishing a Turf Club in 1815. However the first authentic records of organised racing give results of racing held in 1817 and include reports of a racing meeting held in the grounds of Cradock Place, the palatial home of Frederick Korsten on the Papenkuils River. Korsten matched his horses with those of the garrison officers from Fort Frederick.  The current Governor, Sir John Cradock, was also a keen racing man and with his support racing naturally flourished.

Main picture: Fairview Race Course 

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: Outspans and Road Inns on the Inter-Town Roads of later 1800s

Like modern day motorists, the waggoners of yore also required a place to rest, eat and refresh themselves except that their “facilities” were vastly more primitive than today’s Ultra City. 

What facilities, if any,  were provided and where were the outspans and road inns situated?

Main picture:  Outspan House built by JJ Berry in 1862 as an Inn for travellers. It was situated about a mile from the Rawson Bridge, halfway between Zwartkops and Deal Party Estate

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