The farm, Langlaagte 172, became the property of DJJ Strydom in 1859. In the same year, his son, Ocker Andries Strydom and son-in-law, JL Venter became the new owners. Strydom Street was named after the formerly co-owner of the farm Langlaagte.
On 26 December 1865, erf 161 in 60 Strydom Street was awarded to the very Ocker Andries Strydom. The owners changed over the years, but the property stayed in the Maré family for a century. Magistrate Maré and his family occupied this house, more or less up to 1879. It is generally assumed that Paul Kruger made use of the room on the veranda during visits and meetings of the old triumvirate government of the ZAR in 1880.
The Standard Bank of British South Africa Ltd. also noticed Heidelberg’s role as a strategic centre for the ZAR (Zuid Afrikaanse Republic). They opened a branch in Church Street but soon moved to this site. As from August 1879, they rented the property from FK Maré for 7 pounds per month. Heidelberg was then declared as the capital and main seat in Parliament. With the outbreak of the First Anglo Boer War, the then bank official, FW Standen, buried 10 700 gold pounds in the garden of WS McClaren from McClaren and Pagan, on 13 January 1881. It was kept there until after the war.
On 7 October 1881 Standard Bank reports stated that: “… and now that the Boers have abandoned the idea of making Heidelberg the seat of Government its trade is likely to decrease”. The Board of Directors in London then decided to close down the branch in Heidelberg on 31 October 1881. A century later, a commemorative plaque was unveiled by the town clerk, Gawie Stoltz and Dippies Dippenaar, former manager of Standard Bank Heidelberg on 17 December 1991.
After gold was discovered in the Witwatersrand, Heidelberg was chosen to host the Mine Commissioners’ residence and offices. An age-old question is what happened to the gold reserves and to the so-called Kruger Millions? According to Carel van der Merwe’s research on the ZAR era, it is stated in his book, “Donker Stroom: Eugene Marais en dies Anglo Boere Oorlog”, that Paul Kruger’s estate amounted to R140 million. He also states that Paul Kruger owned four farms and had R31 million in overseas bank accounts at his death in 1904, very far removed from his humble overnight stay in the bank house at Heidelberg in the early 1880s. As of 1984, the property was registered in the Methodist Church. The retired Anglican priest, Father Denis McConnell, and his wife resided here. Across the street, on the corner of Strydom and Ueckermann Streets, the stately Methodist Church building stands out here since 1895. It has a pointed roof between gables, high roof ventilators, and gothic windows. The design in the stained glass windows was donated especially for Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee. It dated from 1898 and Heidelberg together with the whole country took part in the festivities. The evidence of colonialism and the eternal search for independence can be experienced here. Across the street, the triumvirate fought for independence and would Heidelberg see the dividends in 1961. A real struggle with the evidence still here for all to see. Strydom Street leaves its mark in history and it is worthwhile to visit – you can bank on it.