Fuchs & Rens was probably the most well-known car dealer in colonial Jakarta, however Verwey & Lugard were close behind. In 1927 they occupied this characterful building at number 29 on the road that was then called “Menteng”, but what now is Jalan Menteng Raya. In the 1930s the street was often referred to as “Oud Menteng” (Old Menteng). This showroom was just left of Hotel Schomper which was based on number 31 (and what is now Gedung Joang ’45). Verwey & Lugard were mostly known to sell the popular Studebaker car brand, however also sold Rolls Royce, Minerva, Mathis and Austro-Daimler cars, as well as Clydesdale trucks. They started the business in 1910 along Koningsplein West (Medan Merdeka Barat), then moved to Kebon Sirih, and in 1925 to these larger premises on Jalan Menteng Raya. Beforehand Importmaatschappij Janssen housed in this building which probably dates back to the second half of the 1910s.
Verwey & Lugard expanded throughout the archipelago and as we can see from a 1927 advertisement (see in comment section), they also had branches in Medan, Bandung, Jogjakarta and Surabaya. On this picture we see four cars in front of the building, of which one is just being filled with petrol. Verwey & Lugard already moved out in 1928, but this location remained a car dealer and showroom, first by the NV Javasche Automobiel Handel. In 1941 Van Taalingen was based here. After independence, well into the 1950s, the well-known Djakarta business Mascotte Motors, housed on what was then called Djalan Menteng Raja 29. Verwey & Lugard moved in 1928 to the ground floor of Noordwijk 15 (now Jalan Juanda) where insurance company Arnhem was based. Jalan Menteng Raya these days is a school example of how old and new can live together. Around 35% of the original colonial era buildings in this street is still present. However this building has been demolished a while ago and is now the modern 10-storey campus of the Mercu Buana University.
Former Batavia/Jakarta residents will immediately recognise this characteristic building as the well-known boutique clothing store of August Savelkoul along Rijswijk 8 (now Jalan Veteran). However in February 1947 it was the temporary ‘main post office’ of Batavia/Djakarta, i.e. the post office run by the Dutch authorities. Interestingly, the original main post office along Postweg (now Jalan Pos) was since 1945 managed by the Indonesian nationalists. While the Dutch regained control over the city throughout 1946, with the assistance of the British army and Nepalese Ghurka militia, the telephone exchange on Koningsplein/Gambir and the post office on Postweg/Jalan Pos were the last two buildings under Indonesian control. Hence there was a situation between the end of 1945 and early 1947 where Indonesian stamps were issued on Postweg/Jalan Pos, and Dutch East Indies stamps on Rijswijk/Jalan Veteran. The situation of dual post offices in Batavia/Djakarta ended in July 1947 when Mr. Catalani, who was the general manager of the Dutch controlled post office and had been the Director of the main post office on Postweg/Jalan Pos since its opening in 1913 (!), moved from the temporary premises on Rijswijk 8 back to the main office on Postweg/Jalan Pos. A newspaper article from 23 July 1947 mentioned that the transition happened peacefully and that “Mr. Catalani received a warm welcome from the Indonesian personnel, of which most of them knew him as they had already worked for him before World War II”. All Indonesian personnel was allowed to stay and keep working in the post office, hence it was a smooth transition.
NV Kledingmagazijn, formerly Savelkoul
Obviously, after the transfer of sovereignty in December 1949, all post offices came again under permanent Indonesian control. Shortly after the temporary post office had closed, the premises on Rijswijk 8 became a clothing store again under the name “N.V. Kledingmagazijn, formerly Savelkoul”. August Savelkoul himself did not return as he had moved to the Netherlands because his wife had become seriously ill. The store was managed by a certain Mr. N. Stoffel, at least until 1954. In 1955 the Indonesian Transport Advisory Bureau was located in the building on what was then no longer known as Rijswijk, but Djalan Segara. Later this street became Jalan Veteran. This lovely building has been demolished, but we do not know in what year.
By the early 1970s the largest textile market of Indonesia was still housed in a single storey building that dated back to 1927. The market was too small and many sellers used the surrounding streets to set up their textile stalls. There was usually non-stop traffic chaos around Pasar Tanah Abang during the day. In 1973 Jakarta’s Governor Ali Sadikin (1927-2008) gave the green light to demolish the old pasar and to build a new four storey concrete market complex with a parking deck on the roof.
Nightmare for market traders
The two years between the demolition and the re-opening of the new pasar were a real nightmare for the market traders. As there was no alternative space, the city council had approved that textile sellers could set up their kiosks in the surrounding streets, with the result that Jalan Wahid Hasyim and Jalan Fachrudin were two open air markets for nearly two years. When the new Pasar Tanah Abang opened in 1975 it had room for more than 4,300 kiosks.
The new Tanah Abang market complex suffered from serious fires on several occasions. One block of the pasar complex burnt down on 30 December 1978, a second block went up in flames on 13 August 1979. In both cases the sections were able to be rebuilt, but a destructive fire in 2003 meant the end of the four-storey market building. Between 2005 and 2010 the two new 18-floors Blok A and Blok B were constructed, and Pasar Tanah Abang is now the largest textile market in southeast Asia. On this photo from 1973, taken by Kartono Ryadi for Kompas, the demolition of the 1927 pasar has commenced.
A rare glimpse of Indonesia’s capital. JAKARTA 1964, seen from a taxi window and a hotel room. The video shows a city in transformation, with bygone colonial era icons like De Harmonie and Hotel des Indes, but also the just opened head office of Bank Indonesia and Hotel Indonesia. With the sounds of 1964 and unique footage of Jalan Gajah Mada, Tanah Abang, Menteng and Salemba.
A suburban scene on Jalan Haji Agus Salim nearly half a century ago. The photo has been taken on the most southern end of the road which is now known as Jalan Pamekasan (between Jalan Imam Bonjol and the intersection of Jalan Sumenep with Jalan Sudirman). We are looking north towards Jalan Imam Bonjol, which is not visible on this photo. The single level house on the right stands on the corner with Jalan Sumenep and still stands today although it is empty and in poor condition. In between the two double storey houses is the turnoff to Jalan Kusuma Atmaja (formerly Jalan Tosari).
On 1971 maps this street is already mentioned as Djalan Pamekasan, although the street sign on this photo still says Djalan Haji Agus Salim. The northern end of this street, between Medan Merdeka and Gereja Theresia was known as Laan Holle until July 1950 when it changed into Jalan Sabang although today it is still often referred to as Jalan Sabang and taxi drivers in Jakarta have no problem locating it when you mention this previous street name.
By 1960 the road had been renamed into Jalan Haji Agus Salim, after the Indonesian journalist, diplomat and statesman Agus Salim (1884-1954), even south of Gereja Theresia which was previously known as Jalan Gereja Theresia (or: Theresiakerkweg in colonial days). What today is known as Jalan Gereja Theresia was previously named Jalan Sunda (or Soendaweg). On this photo we see a few becaks, which was still a common mean of transport in Jakarta in 1971.