Kronendal (now Kroondal) had been in existence since 1843. The farm was first surveyed by riding 1 hour in each direction resulting in a farm of approximately 2500 hectare.
The year 1858 the farm was allocated as a ‘pachtplaas’ to Lutheran Missionary Pastor Christian Müller. Jan Michiel van Helsdingen registered the farm to his name. Pastor Christian established the church on the farm – then known as – Kronendal. The farm Kronendal was one of 22 German Lutheran mission congregations.
Missionary Müller built himself a house where Dr. Erika Ottermann lives today and the church was built next to the cemetery approximately 300 m to the south where it can still be seen today. The families du Plessis, Riekert and Malan who where relatives of van Helsdingen, occupied the farm until 1877 when they all moved to the Koster region where their descendants can still be found.
It was in 1889, when the missionary was suffering financially, that the local Germans bought the Kronendal farm. This is when it became, as we in Rustenburg know it today, to be Kroondal. The farm was divided into residential plots and the typical German zing Kroondal has today, came to be.
Politics and War surrounding Kroondal
During 1878 a rift accured in the Ramakoka tribe who lived in Phalane approximately 100 km north of Kroondal and missionary Christian Müller, who was with the Ramakoka tribe, arranged that a portion of the tribe bought Kroonendal for 5000 pounds and settled there.
The Ramakoka tribe could not repay the debt or the interest and decided to sell the farm for 5100 pounds and move back to Phalane, as the inter-tribe problem had been settled. The original signed purchase documents are still in the hand of the Kroondalers today.
Concerned for the local people that were being forced off their land by the Boers, Pastor Ferdinand Zimmerman tried to purchase Kroondal under the name of the missionary as to provide a safe place where the locals could stay. The idea though was not met with political agreement and the lack of funds made it difficult for the attainment of the land.
Agriculture in Kroondal:
Georg Wilhelm Otterman was one of the German immigrants that came to Kroondal and began farming with tobacco, wheat and maize. It was in 1889 that Kroondal saw a mill taking shape on Otterman’s farm. The Mill gave him a competitive edge over his competitors. The mill was the only one in the area that offered buyers and customers “sifted meal”.
The mill was relocated to Sandspruit where the Modderspruit’s water could offer more power to the wheel. During the Boer War, Georg Otterman and his family were relocated to the concentration camp of Irene. It was during that time that the British took the bearing of the mill and by the time Otterman and his family returned to his farm in 1902, there wasn’t anything left.
Not deterred, they rebuilt and in 1903 the Mill stood proudly again. By 1960 the Otterman family – after the significant growth in agriculture –bought the Rustenburg Produce and Milling Company and along with the Kroondal Mill it was run by the Otterman family till Bernard, son of Georg, retired after 70 years in the industry.
Today the Kroondal mill has been restored to an era before being modernized, and one can now enjoy going back in time in the Kroondal Mill as a restaurant.
Agriculture continued to be the central theme in Kroondal but many properties were consolidated or leased and today there are only 5 active farmers compared to the 15 active farmers 40 years ago.