Monday, October 06, 2008
THE PINK TOWNHALL OF HAUGESUND
Originated by MaryT, check hers for today.
Once upon a time there was a town, built by barrack barons on viking sites. Herring bones was the turf of the new town. Its inhabitants were proud of that. Fish gave work to fishermen, barrel makers, salters, layers, carpenters, rope makers, skippers, seamen, school for seamen, cooks, navigators, the lots. On the top of the pyramid throned the shipowners. They became rich, fast and stinking rich. Especially was World War 1 good for the trade. Huge assurance sums for the ships sunk by the new German u boats. Equal high prizes for the valuable cargo; fish and fish oil for a Europe at war.
Now; what I tell here is only hearsay and old rumors.
The biggest and richest of the shipowners was claimed for owing a lot of tax. An income he denied for and could not either be persuaded to pay for.
"I'll do something better," he said, "I'll grant the town a new and mighty town hall as a gift from me on my fiftieth birthday." The year was 1920.The fathers of the city coucil could nothing but accept.
A competition was held among the foremost architects of the nation. The two young men who won, had chosen a neo classicistic, rather pompous style.
To study at the well they afterward went to Italy for a year and a half. Some say they hardly made it home to Norway again.They pored on, inspired from the antique and renaissance; columns, arches, tempel like gables ,architrave, geometric forms and consoles. Created in euphoric, youthful intoxication.
One setback as they came home. The land was a sloopy hilltop, too short for a classic, symmetric building. No problemo. They just broke the east wing and bent it backwards. The inhabitants of Haugesund are so used to the sight, that they hardly ever reflect over the fact that their town hall has but a half facade..
Two years ago it was voted the prettiest building of the town. The autumn red Virginia Creeper on the raw, reddish granite floor groud is a sight for sore eyes.So is the mighty eagle sculptured by Norway's # one animal sculpturer, Dyre Vaa.
The ship owner?
He and his wife continued to bulid, educate and donate for the rest of their lives.
The citizen still honor their pink hall, with a feeling; "Maybe he was no scholar, maybe he was a bit pompous, but he had a wide open heart, he knew how to throw a party. If the town belonged to him, he also belonged to us ".
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