The original owner of the farm Doornkraal, on which Riversdale was established, was Hermanus Egbertus Steyn, great-great grandfather of the current
owner of the De Doornkraal Wine Estate and Boutique Hotel.
The Steyn family sold a portion of the farm Doornkraal to the "Godsdienstige Gesticht" in 1838 to establish Riversdale and Langstraat (Long Street) was born. Many historic buildings were erected along Langstraat (Lower Long Street on Google).
The De Villiers home at Langstraat 1 was built in 1859. In the latter years, famous author and politician C J Langenhoven was a boarder in this house during his school days in Riversdale.
Across the road is Langstraat 2, the parish of Ds P B Borchards (1843-1880) which later became a school.
Today this building is known as "Huis Langenhoven", where C J Langenhoven attended school and matriculated in 1892.
On the opposite side of the street, known as Langstraat 3, is the parish of Professor PGJ de Vos built in 1880. Photographs of
what used to be a graceful double storey Victorian home can be seen in the Julius Gordon Africana Centre. Unfortunately the façade
of this house was destroyed by insensitive owners.
A similar double storey Victorian house was built at Langstraat 13 and suffered the same fate over the years.
The Cape Dutch homes at Langstraat 5, 7 and 9 were built during the second half of the 1800's. Langstraat 5 was the home of the Van Wyks (1880), and Langstraat 7 the home of the Burns (1950) family. The house at Langstraat 9, known as Avondrust, is part of the original Lot 4 proclaimed in 1838. Lot 4 originally included the farm Doornkraal's homestead built between 1746 and 1770 (until 1880) and remained the property of the Doornkraal Steyn's from 1838, when Riversdale was established, until 1950.
During the 1920's and 1930's Annie Steyn (nee Cronje), grandmother of the current owner of De Doornkraal Wine Estate and Boutique Hotel, operated a boarding house on the premises. One of her boarders was reverend Ben Marais (later professor) who together with Dr Beyers Naude opposed the NG church's support of apartheid. It is ironic that Annie Steyn's cousin, Professor Geoffrey Cronje, became Dr H F Verwoerd's mentor two decades later.
The thatched homestead located at Langstraat 8, built between 1746 and 1770, is the original homestead of the farm Doornkraal,
and now the main dwelling of the De Doornkraal Boutique Hotel.
The old Cape Dutch home located at Langstraat 6 (built circa 1845) also forms part of the De Doornkraal Boutique Hotel.
The "Lodge Frere", now an integral part of the De Doornkraal Boutique Hotel, was home to the 13th freemason lodge established in South Africa. It was inaugurated on 10 December 1888. The logo of the freemasons is displayed in three positions, two on the main hall and one on the smaller. Lodge Frere was established in 1879 by Frenchman Dr William Charles Hansell who became the first worshipful master.
The Edwardian home located at Langstraat 11, was designed and built by architect William Richard van As in 1903 for Helgard M van Rensburg, mayor of Riversdale for 35 years.
Today, it is the homestead of the De Doornkraal Wine Estate where the Steyn family, current owners of the De Doornkraal Boutique Hotel, reside. The original Cape-Dutch home belonged to Dr Reid and later Dr William Ansell.
William Van As also designed the NG Church Hall (1906) with its gracious Cape Dutch gable, located in Lower Long Street.
A Double Storey Victorian house was built at Langstraat 13 and suffered the same fate as the De Vos parish over the years. The façade of this house was destroyed by insensitive owners.
The house at Langstraat 15 was built at the turn of the nineteenth century. This Victorian styled home later became the parish of Ds Koornhof, father of Piet Koornhof, who became a member of P W Botha's cabinet. Gladly this historic homestead, at one stage badly neglected, was extensively renovated.
Unfortunately the thatched Nainkin home at Langstraat 20, which dated from the 1800s, was destroyed by fire during the 1960's.
Another Victorian/Edwardian styled dwelling is located at Langstraat 19. Built in 1903, it has retained much of its former splendour.
The Royal Hotel (Langstraat 28) built in 1881 is another historic building dating from the latter part of the nineteenth century.
Stables were located at the back of the Royal Hotel for 60 horses. Over the years the hotel's Victorian façade was replaced with a concrete structure. Fortunately the Victorian arches of the old hotel's dining room are still unscathed.
Next to the Royal Hotel on the corner of Langstraat and Main Street is another Victorian building dating back to 1881. The corner was the site of the famous Barry and Nephew shop. The Victorian structure was erected after a fire destroyed its predecessor. Fortunately this building has maintained most of its heritage character..
The Julius Gordon Africana Centre (Langstraat 29) is a historical gem and dates from the 1800s. It is an absolute must to visit.
The Theunissen house (Langstraat 32) was also built in the 1800s. One of the Theunissen sons was the Boer Kommandant in the battle with the British on the road to Stilbaai near Zandhoogte.
The Reverent Grosskopf of the Lutheran Church resided in the double story house at Langstraat 34, also built in the 1800s.