(1884 – 1970)
Nelspruit has come a long way, and all of those little bits of interesting history that we come across in the books, have contributed to what the town has become. In this blog, we look back briefly over the history of the town, that has now become Mbombela.
In August 1884 a report was published in the Government Gazette after Railway surveyors met with the Nel Brothers and Nelspruit took its first steps towards becoming a town by being given official recognition.
120 stands are set out around the station for future development.
The railways from Lourenco Marques reaches Nelspruit on the 20 June. In November the Hall family opened its doors to a hotel, mainly to accommodate railway workers. The hotel named “The Figtree Hotel” was to be the first building erected in town.
Nelspruit is proclaimed and the land made available for buyers.
Nelspruit gets its first telephone exchange in February. In August the Lowveld Farmers Association had its first meeting, at the Figtree Hotel.
The first Barclays Bank opens its doors in this year and it is also the year the first school was established in Nelspruit.
In 1918 the first Post Office opened up.
Nelspruit has an upgrade, it is now officially a town.
Following a visit from an American professor, Nelspruit is advised to establish a Research Institute. 300 acres are set aside and the station begins operating in 1926.
Peter Wilhelm, the chair of the Nelspruit Town Council meets the Prince of Wales.
Ivan Solomon is now the sole owner of Crocodile estates, previously owned by British investors, an area consisting of 601 plots, each 5 acres in size. The streets of Nelspruit are lined with freshly planted trees and by July the first motor car is seen in these streets. The road from Johannesburg to Komatipoort is also completed in 1927.
Rio Rita, the first talking movie is screened in Nelspruit at the Farmers Hall. Due to the increase in motor vehicles, a registration system is put into place for local vehicles. Nelspruit now has its own magisterial district and by November a licensing committee is established.
Although the Great Depression is at its worst, Nelspruit got its first truck!
Electricity comes to town, thanks to a hydroelectric dam.
Nelspruit District Publicity Association is established and the motto “Nelspruit, the Hub of the Lowveld” motto is born.
Nelspruit and Kaapmuiden now has a road joining them via Mara.
Although WW2 breaks out this year, Nelspruit’s new hotel the Paragon opens its doors. And even though the Lowveld experiences major floods, the Longmere Dam is completed.
In October the Nelspruit Council is established and its first mayor is elected. This year also sees Nelspruit get its first swimming pool.
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II visits Nelspruit and receives furniture as a gift. Nelspruit extension 2 and West Acres are laid out for housing.
Volkskas Bank now has its first branch in Nelspruit. Hoerskool Nelspruit grounds hosts the first “Nelspruit Show”.
Nelspruit branch of the Land Bank opens in August.
The streets, that previously just had numbers, now get named.
The first hospital in Nelspruit, Rob Ferreira Hospital, is completed.
Nelspruit Laerskool is opened, with 1384 students. The town gets an enlarged police station and Sappi plants its first plantation.
Nelspruit has grown and now sports 1200 homes and 260 registered businesses.
The Botanical Gardens is established as a tourist attraction and also a Scientific Research Station.
The first English High School opens its doors, Lowveld High School.
And just as the town has grown, Nelspruit Lodge has become the best place to stay in Nelspruit. Our accommodation is both comfortable and affordable, and we welcome guests from all over the country to stay with us the next time they find themselves in town.