Stavensbølgade 21, Saddlery, Smithy and Inn

The first building on the site was completed in 1758 and a saddler by the name of Försterling was mentioned as the resident. Apart from saddles, saddlers also made upholstery for furniture and carriages. Conveniently the neighbour in Stavensbølgade 23 was a coachbuilder and they probably collaborated on delivering carriages for the Palace and the larger estates on Als.

The current building dates from the late 19th century, but probably stands on a fieldstone foundation from an earlier building. On a Prussian cadastral map from 1877, in addition to the main building, three other buildings can be seen – an outbuilding / workshop on the north-western part of the plot as well as a barn and a smithy east of the main building. There was also a room for travelling journeymen, a restaurant and a shop, which sold cold cuts.

In 1902, master carpenter Peter Jensen took over the property and established an inn by the name “Zum grünen Baum” with reference to the large trees, “Lilleskoven”, on the other side of the street, where there is now a parking space and where the reunification stone used to be.

From 1906 to 1920, the property was used as a smithy under two different blacksmiths. The first one extended the façade facing the street by adding 4 bays to the east and a carriage gate with driveway to the stables, smithy and workshops. The other one applied for a liquor license – probably to legalise the serving of coffee punch to the customers who came to have their horses shod. It was a well-known secret that the owner was running an illegal inn in the house.

In 1920, the property was bought by three investors who hired restaurateur Christian Hansen as a tenant. Despite protests from the other restaurateurs in Augustenborg, a liquor licence was granted after the reunification – provided, however, that a larger assembly hall was added, at the request of the South Jutland Workers’ Association for their meetings.

The extension, called the “Hall”, was immediately built as an extension of the eastern end of the main building. The gate from the street to the driveway and smithy was moved to the west end of the main building. In the following many years, the assembly hall was also used for private events. The name was changed to “Café Sølyst” (Sea Pleasure) with reference to the view of the Little Sea (Lillehav).

Together with his wife and daughter, Christian Hansen ran Sølyst for 35 years. He was a very active and respected citizen who held various local positions of trust – and he could cure back pain.

Café Sølyst was sold in 1955 to musician K.A. Sørensen and his wife Lydia, who carried out a major renovation and rebuilding: The layout of the rooms was changed, the Hall was expanded, and a basement for toilets and a cloakroom was excavated. The kitchen was expanded, and the name was changed to “Alskroen” (the Als Inn).

The place was still an inn with refreshments, but with greater emphasis on being an excursion destination and pub for families who came and ate open sandwiches, dinners and had coffee with cake in the garden. In addition, the Hall was rented out as a function room.

The following years though were not good for business, and from 1960 to 1974 the property changed hands several times. In 1974, a new owner tried to appeal to a younger audience, and from being a quiet, leisurely pub, Alskroen changed into a lively, bustling pub with bar, loud music, dancing and late closing times called “Gyngehesten” (the Rocking Horse).

In 1976 it was over – Alskroen was sold at foreclosure with a debt of over 1 million kroner – heavily dilapidated premises and a tarnished reputation. The buyer immediately closed the pub to the benefit the other pubs of the town, the Palace Hotel and Hjørnekroen, which he also owned.

In 1978, the current owners bought the buildings as a private residence. The Hall was rented out to an acupuncture clinic for a number of years, and later it was used by the children of the family. Today, the Hall is being converted for the retirement of the owners of the house.

For 150 years the parcel was used by various crafts, saddler, carpenter, painter and as a smithy. For 74 years the building served as a café, inn and pub but since 1978 it has been home to the Hallberg and Borg family.