The story of the main building, Eksjö Stadshotell
On Tuesday, November 18th, 1856 tragedy came to the inhabitants of Eksjö. The southern part of the city was razed to the ground by a devastating city fire. 41 buildings and the city’s town hall all burned down. The city’s town hall was located in the southeast corner of the former square, which was considerably smaller than today’s.
Planning work was immediately started to rebuild the district. Already a year later, around twenty lots had been developed with large, beautiful two-story houses. Discussions were held at length about whether the new district should be built in stone or not, with bitter remembrance of what just happened. However, there were not enough brickworks in the surroundings, and the city had reserved large forest areas in the event of a city fire might occur. Therefore, it was decided to rebuild the city in wood, but with the exception that the new town hall would be built in stone. The city thus got its first stone building. Even the church was not entirely built of stone.
The city architect of Lidköping, C G Engström designed the new town hall. The drawings were approved at the general council house on March 1st, 1858. On Karl’s Day, January 28, 1862, the new town hall was ready for inauguration, with a grand feast, thank you speeches and toasts. The newspaper Hwad nytt proudly wrote: “The new town hall is, in relation to our small community, a rather magnificent house, built of stone with ornaments in a modern style.”.
In the basement of the new town hall, 10 detention rooms and a sprinkler house for firefighting were placed. On the entrance floor, there was an Inn with a dining hall, kitchen, and even a bank. On the first floor, the magistrate and the town hall had their premises and archives. Twenty-four rooms were built for travelers on the upper floor. Already in 1864 the building become a natural meeting place for all, hosting occasional theater performances, big dance events, and celebrations.
In 1901, it was understood that Eksjö’s city hall and its city hotel had to be improved. The city hotel required significantly more rooms! The hotel owner demanded housing for himself, and his staff and the health board demanded hygienic improvements. The old drainage pipes were unacceptable. The city had only a few years ago been electrified, so electric light was a matter of course. At that time, a second-class dining room a so-called “back pocket” was necessary.
With a margin of one single vote, it was decided to build on a third floor. The decision was appealed and only in 1904 could the now altered building be inaugurated. The extension was designed by the well-known architect G A Nilsson. In January 1930 the Town Hall administration moved to another part of Eksjö leaving behind a purebred hotel and restaurant establishment. Unfortunately, on the night of Lucia’s celebrations the same year, yet another fire broke out, this time in the building, which destroyed the entire 3rd floor. Severe water damage brought about a total renovation of the entire property.
In 2018 the back pocket restaurant was reopened as Alberts Bistro & Bar with two large outdoor verandas, paying homage to a famous, local cartoonist, author, and gourmet Albert Engström. Today Eksjö Stadshotell hosts three beautiful conference rooms, a famous grand ballroom with a lounge, forty-four bedrooms, “Albert’s” with fifty-three chairs and yet another sixty-two when the weather permits, the breakfast and lunch hall seating one-hundred and twelve, as well as a large kitchen.