The History of Oranjezicht and “Acorn House”
In 1714 Peter van Breda, the progenitor of the South African branch of the family, arrived at the Cape, and soon began to establish himself as a major property owner. His choice fell on the prime area on the lower slopes of Table Mountain which afforded magnificent views across the Bay and a constant supply of water from the myriad streams which tumbled through the area on their way to the sea. By the middle of the 18th century, his Garden, as the large properties in the upper Valley were called, covered much of the area still known by its original name - Gardens. "Oranje Zicht" means "View of Oranje", thought to have derived from the view of the Oranje bastion of the Castle in Cape Town. The fortunes of Oranje Zicht declined over the years and, eventually, on 28 February 1901, a grant was made to Oranjezicht Estates Limited of 199 morgen 571 sq yds 24 sq feet (Cape Freeholds Volume 23 Fol. 11) being "the Remaining extent of the land originally held by Peter van Breda under transfer deed dated 20 August 1793." In 1903 a notice appeared in the Government Gazette and other papers advertising: "Oranjezicht Estate. Great Public Sale of Building Lots on the Spot. Tuesday April 8th at 11 am". One of those to buy a Lot at the Sale was the Editor of the Cape Times Mr. Maitland Hall Park, and transfer was made to him under Title Deed 12972 on 3 September of the same year.
It was he who built the present house, now known as No. 1 Montrose Avenue (Acorn House) and the following is a biographical sketch taken from The Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa:
"Sir Maitland Hall Park. Newspaper Editor. Born Cumbernauld, Dumbartonshire, 10th October 1862. Died Cape Town 15 March 1921. After leaving Glasgow University where he obtained his M.A. and L.L.D. He joined the "Glasgow Herald" in 1885. The next year he went to India, where he was on the staff of The Pioneer of Allahabad, successively as Assistant Editor, Acting Editor, and Editor-in-Chief over a period of some 17 years. Here he was in close relationship with Rudyard Kipling, whose early work appeared in that paper while Park was editor. The two remained lifelong friends, and Kipling acknowledged his dept to Parks' literary judgement. Partly on Kiplings' recommendation, Park was appointed to the Editorial Chair at the Cape Times towards the end of 1902. Before his arrival Park made an intensive study of South African conditions He subsequently enjoyed the political confidence as well as the personal friendship of Merriman, Sauer, Smuts, Botha, Jameson and Smartt. He is described as a man of amazing energy, and retentive memory - a writer who got straight to first principles and was brilliant at controversy. His editorship aroused great admiration, or indignation, according to one's point of view. He associated himself prominently with every education and literary activity at the Cape and was knighted in 1914."