Mountain View Country Inn History
The age of the building is unknown but we know that it was already operating as a Hotel in about 1872 when HR Giddy (born 1852) and his brother OS Giddy (born 1847) stayed over. In his reminiscences, HR Giddy writes about the diamond rush to the Kimberley, his chronic illness caused by the dust and his journey back to Barkly East on which his brother accompanied him. On passing through Lady Grey, they “put up at the Commercial Hotel also known as Rose’s Hotel and today named the Mountain View Hotel”. This indicates that the Inn is at least 140 years old.
Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Rose, a German, possibly Jewish, was the owner of the Commercial Hotel in those early days. When he died in 1897 his son, also CFW Rose (Carlie), took over.
In 1902 Carlie added a large stable, forage and harness room, cart shed and a four room cottage to the Hotel. Today this is the laundry, workshop, garages and storage rooms at the back of the hotel.
Carlie lost his wife and two sons in a freak accident in December 1905. A beautiful headstone in the shape of a large angel, carved from Carrara Marble, indicates the place in the middle of the Old Cemetery where they are buried.
After Carlie Rose, the hotel belonged to James Ernest Stone and his wife Susanna Wilhelmina Flora Bock. They had the hotel until 1945 and were also partners in the shop “Stone Brothers”.
Interestingly in 1907 the Central Hotel (Ye Olde Praktijkt) belonged to Thomas Henry Stone and his wife Anna Augusta Bock. The two Stone brothers were married to the two Bock sisters.
In 1945 the hotel belonged to a Levine and in 1957 the owner was a Bekker. In June 1958 a record states that the hotel erven, 399 and 400 as well as two other erven, 358 and 359, are registered under Smithfield Hotels PTY LTD. During the 1960’s there was also a Terblance, possibly a manager of the Hotel.
On 13 Nov 1968 erven 358 and 359 are transferred to GJB Smith and erven 399 and 400 are registered under Union Wine and Spirit Corp. In 1972 the hotel is referred to as Mountain View Hotel, registered as Lady Grey Holdings PTY LTD and the owner is Henry Vickers.
In 1972 Eli Spilkin bought the hotel from Henry Vickers. It became part of the Spilco Hotel group and Bill and Joan Brown were appointed as managers from 1972 to until 1973.
In 1979 the hotel was still part of the Spilco Hotel group which consisted of the Mountain View Hotel - Lady Grey, Drakensberg Hotel – Barkly East, Mountain Shadows Hotel – Barkly Pass and Pig & Whistle Hotel – Bathurst. Members of the Spilco group was G. Spilkin, G.P. Spilkin, R. Spilkin, M. Spilkin and K.A. Spilkin. At a stage the hotel was managed by Mike and Elmien Stone and in 1979 by Jimmy and Joey Erasmus. In 1991 the hotel was managed by James and Maria Combrink. The Spilco group promoted tourism in the Eastern Cape and campaigned for the official declaration of national monuments in the area.
In June 1993 Pierre and Nina de Groot bought the Hotel and named it Mountain View Country Inn. They moved the off-sales to other premises, changed all rooms to have on-suite bathrooms, re-vamped the interior and exterior and changed the roof colour from red to green. They also promoted tourism by producing a range of new brochures.
Clive and Meryl Hambley bought the Hotel in September 1997. Coming from a nursery background, Meryl spent a lot of time shaping the garden and introducing new scrubs and trees.
In April 2002 Otto and Dalene Oertel bought the Hotel. Since then constant changes and re-vamps have taken place, always with the comfort of the guest in mind. To name a few, the old liquor store was changed to a modern conference room, more efficient equipment installed and furniture, equipment and décor in rooms changed to make it comfortable and pleasing for guests.
There are indications that the Bar is situated in the oldest part of the building. It has a high reed ceiling, then a wooden ceiling and the lowest ceiling which is a modern ceiling. Interesting features include the beautiful old staircase and antique furniture in the restaurant and many of the rooms.
A room in the Hotel is dedicated to history. It contains crockery, cutlery and other articles used in the hotel during its existence as well as articles from the old David Ross High School and research material of value to anybody researching the old families (Genealogy) and history of Lady Grey.