The previous main street in Heidelberg which connected the North and South was Market-, or Voortrekker Street as it is known since 1938. It placed emphasis on the church and town square, which typically expanded in a grid pattern. Voortrekker and Ueckermann Streets were the streets parallel to the square. These streets were placed closer to one another than any of other streets running parallel to them. The reason for this was to accentuate the town square, as the most important part of town.
Maré Street is the first on the western side of the square, following Ueckermann Street. It still serves as a barrier between business and residential development.
In the past, you entered Heidelberg from the North via Voortrekker Street. At the town square, you would have turned West to connected with Ueckermann Street up to the Methodist Church. There you would cross over to Maré Street that would take you over the low water bridge of the Blesbokspruit and South to exit Heidelberg. This would take you South East to the Standerton/ Durban road. It also went past the old “Skom” or location where the industrial area is now situated. It was a very busy route for transport wagons back in the days connecting the old ZAR with Kwazulu-Natal. Therefore Maré Street boasted its own type of first Ultra City, now known as the “Old Stables”. It served as a place to rest and outspan the draught animals and horses from your long journey. The “Old Stables” can still be found in Maré Street, located between Mertz and Strydom Streets. Even president Paul Kruger used it in his days.
The properties across the “Old Stable” belonged to the person after which Maré Street was named. His life symbolized resistance and the struggle to keep every burgher on the right track. He was Frederik Korsten Maré, the first magistrate of Heidelberg. In 1838 he moved from the Cape Colony to Pietermaritzburg and married Johanna Helena Jesina van Niekerk in 1845. Ten children were born from this marriage. During 1859 they moved to the Old Transvaal where he was appointed the magistrate in Pretoria in 1861. On 10 June 1866, he was appointed as the first magistrate in Heidelberg.
He became the registered owner of 5 erven (erf 160, 161, 174 and 176). It was on one of these where the first Standard Bank in Transvaal was also situated. During the meetings of the triumvirate the wagons would find rest in Old Stables whilst leaders such as Paul Kruger would find rest in the “Stoepkamer” of his residence.
As a proud patriot, he refused to work under English rule during the British annexation of Transvaal. He resigned as magistrate in March 1878. After the successful Boer War and restoration of the ZAR, he was re-elected and re-appointed as magistrate in 1882. Since 1863 he was a member of the High Court and assisted in the High Courts of Pretoria and Potchefstroom. The magistrate in those days supervised the local economy in the collection of licence fees for ammunition, shops and liquor.
Apart from his official obligations he had strong religious convictions. As an active member of the then Dutch Reformed Church, he was one of the obstinate. He refused to become part of the United Church and stood by his conservative principles.
He was actively part of the church struggle of the grieved delegation in Rensburg who chose to rise up the Dutch Reformed Church from the ashes, after which a bitter struggle was led about church property. It was so fierce that even the then President Paul Kruger could not successfully mediate between the parties. Years later and also after his death, the fraternal quarrel would finally be settled in the High Court. The Heidelberg Court is situated by turning from Maré Street into Begeman Street, now a one way. Magistrate Maré made his mark and persisted to the bitter end. Let us remember his crusades in the struggle for justice whilst silently recognizing his resistance in the formation years of our town and that of the old ZAR.