Cycling through Dordrecht, I recently ran into this interesting facade. In a tiny street where you would least expect to find Art Nouveau architecture, I got intrigued by questions like “who made this, for whom and why?” The object is in an advanced state of decomposition and sealed by the police. A note on the door states that by breaking the seal you risk up to two years imprisonment!
From what I can find on the internet, the property belongs to a landlord who apparently has other priorities than keeping his properties in good condition… The man is currently in conflict with the city council and gathered penalties worth at least €400k. In an interview with a local tv-station, a member of the city council said “we could seize his assets and sell his properties” and maybe, that could just be the salvation this little house so desperately needs…
Leaving this house to fall apart would be a shame if you’ld ask me; the drawings at the city archives show the potential of what was once a pretty little house. It was built in 1905 for Johanna Antonia Hekelaar (1846), the widow of Peter Johannes Hulsbosch (1843), by Nicolaas Catharina Maria Bibo (1864). Johanna was a bleacher and therefore, behind her house, Bibo got her a laundry- and bleachwork shop. Two stepdaughters were involved too, they took care of the ironing job. Mr. Bibo however, is filed as a butcher and not as an architect or builder. So how did he get involved?
Digging just a little deeper showed the connection: Bibo got married in 1887 to Anna Maria Hulsbosch (1867). And that name rang a bell! Wasn’t that the name of Johanna’s dead husband? The genealogy archives provided conclusive evidence: butcher Bibo was just being a real gentleman by helping his wife’s widowed step-mother to start her own business and provide for herself and her step-daughters. Let’s hope another gentleman will show up soon to save this property before it is too late!