A little gem in today’s Jakarta is Jalan Menteng Raya, in colonial days just known as Menteng or Oud Menteng (Old Menteng). The percentage of heritage buildings that is still present today along this road is much higher than anywhere else in Central Jakarta. On the eastern side of the road are two identical houses of an interesting architecture at number 11 and 13, now part of the Gedung Bina Manajemen.
Architect J.F.L. Blankenberg
The left house at number 11 was in 1941 the office of one of Batavia’s most well-known architects J.F.L. Blankenberg (1888-1958), who was responsible for a number of majestic houses on the Burgemeester Bisschopplein (now Taman Suropati), the house on today’s Jalan Imam Bonjol 1 which is now the Formulation of Proclamation Text Museum and the former NIROM radio studio building on Koningsplein West (now Medan Merdeka Barat). Menteng number 13 was in 1941 the residence of Mr. C.H.R. Landouw. Both houses most likely date from the late 1910s or early 1920s. Apart from some alterations, they are in excellent condition today.
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.