History

History of Parkhotel

At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, the “Decorators union” in Smržovka was very active. 23rd of April 1891 the union applied for the park to be assigned to them and so it later happened. Based on union’s initiative in 1901 there was a stylish wooden summer restaurant built on the top of the hill. It was named Kaiserhöhe in the honor of the Emperor Franz Joseph I. The grand opening was on the 29th of June 1901. The restaurant served locals and tourists. It was renovated in 1909, the wooden part was replaced by brick. In the advertisements which were published in the annual of the German Mountain Club in 1902 it is worth noticing that the beautiful view at the mountains - Jizerské hory and Krkonoše, is stated here four times.

 

The union later decided to rebuild the restaurant into a hotel which would be representative for Smržovka. This thought came up in 1920 but it was later – between 1929 and 1930 - when it was successfully carried out.

It is also important to mention that in 1927 the restaurant was renamed to Restaurant Stadpark. At this time it was no longer appropriate to reminisce the Emperor.

 

General reconstruction was chosen because the old building did not meet modern needs. The roof was in poor condition, access to the rooms was unsuitable and it was necessary to increase capacity. The first proposal was commissioned to architect Hugo Hübner but the final design was done by Artur Köhler. The union could not fully fund the building and so the Smržovka citizens and local organizations were approached to contribute.

The guarantee was in the hands of the local bank and city hall. There was practically nothing left of the old restaurant. Everything was built new and modern. The hotel was renamed to Parkhotel and was open in all seasons. It served to tourists and visitors of the town as well as the citizens. The grand opening took place on the 5th of January 1930. An advert from 1934 offers the daily board for 34 CZK.

 

We could mention some of the interesting events that took place just before the 2nd Word War. For example on the 7th of March 1938 Konrad Henlein called his closest collaborators here to assess the political situation and to especially request autonomy for the Sudetenland. In the fall the Czechoslovak borders were taken by Hitler and the hotel became totally German. Quick turn of events came. On October the 8th the citizens welcomed Wehrmacht soldiers at the square and on the 10th of October a great military ball took place here. In 1944 Parkhotel changed into a hospital for lightly wounded soldiers.

When the war ended Parkhotel served accommodating soviet headquarters for the whole Jablonec nad Nisou region.

 

In the socialist era Parkhotel was a place for meetings, dances, balls, children’s events etc.

 

The city park that surrounds Parkhotel was founded in 1840 and was also used as tree nursery. A high quality water spring was discovered and apparently had healing powers, therefore it was called “the spring of health”. Later it was renamed after an eminent doctor Hartwig Weiskopf – “Hartwig’s spring”. Water was being caught and used in stone basins to serve as waterholes for wild animas and birds. In 1890 a group of vandals destroyed the spring area which had been a place for relaxation for locals and tourists, a year later all was repaired. Vandalism took place another time and the spring area was yet again repaired in 1971.

 

During the 2nd World War the park was left careless and it had turned into a little “old-growth forest”. A group of citizens of German nationality started to meliorate the park in 1965. Until 1976 the park was being refined and modified.

 

There is a group of stones of various sizes, one dominant with an over three meter height. Only on one of them it is possible to read the sign – the Union of Military Veterans from Smržovka. The stones were set here for the 50th anniversary of the reign of Emperor Franz Joseph I – in 1898. All together 30 different unions from Smržovka bowed the monarch and in fact those stones served as somewhat their business cards. As well as all German was hated after the 2nd world war, all reminiscent of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was hated after the 1st World War and therefore even the writing on the stones had disappeared.

Not many towns in Czech Republic have a city park so well situated.

 

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