Heidelberg is a town in Southern Cape part of the Western Cape, South Africa.
It is located near South Africa's south coast, on the N2 highway, 274 km east of Cape Town (about half way between Cape Town and Knysna). Heidelberg is just east to the Overberg region, and is the start of the Garden Route.
On January 23, 1725, Governor Jan de la Fontaine allowed Andries Gous to graze his cattle "aan de duyvenhoks rivier" under "de dorenboom" and farm was therefore called "Doornboom",the first loan farm assigned to the Duivenhoksrivier .
Only one farm was earlier issued in the region, namely the "onder d’grootvadersbosch" to Roelof Oelofse on August 26. A part of the farm has developed into the town of Heidelberg.
The name "Heidelberg" was used before the official founding of the community in the town was granted and possibly derived from the name of the German University City.
The inhabitants of the region lived under the churches of Swellendam and Riversdale until 14 September 1855 when a secession movement obtained the necessary approvals and a sum of five thousand British Pound was guaranteed to the owner of Doornboom, Louis J Fourie for the farm for the purpose of establishing a town church.
This transport was given on 7 April 1858 at the Church Council.
Soon afterwards the first erven were sold, and in 1862, under the chairmanship of Joseph Barry, founder of the Barry & Nephews commercial empire, the town achieved municipal status.
Heidelberg on 13 September 1901 became probably the farthest southern town where battles was fought during the Anglo-Boer War.
A Boer commando attacked Heidelberg and a firefight ensued at the "Boer-en-Brit" building after they had two days previously been involved in a skirmish at Soetmakersrivier south of Riversdale.
Proclamation 93 of 1930, later given authority to Heidelberg's own Divisional Councel which also obtained control over Witsand and Slangrivier.
On 19 December 1941, the village became an independent magisterial district.
The town has a number of historic buildings, its oldest by far being the Fourie House. This is the homestead of Doornboom and dates back to 1728, making it one of South Africa’s oldest surviving clay houses.
Once dilapidated and in danger of falling apart, the T-shaped building recently underwent extensive restoration, and was officially opened to the public on 24 September 2008.
In 1903 Heidelberg became part of the railway network and became an important transport link for the wool, wheat, fruit, and tobacco industries of the area. The river, the Duivenhoks (Dovecote), was named by an explorer, Isaq Schrijver, who observed a lot of doves where the river flows into the Indian Ocean, at a place called Puntjie.
The Duivenhoks River has its origins in the Langeberg range and slowly flows through the undulating foothills.
Heidelberg is part of the Hessequa Local Municipality.
Fourie House on Fourie Street is the oldest house in Heidelberg, but more than that, Heidelberg was and is all about it's people.
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