Engeltofta is a good example of the dominating villa architecture of the time, and an interesting documentation of the era of merchant villas. The property and its buildings give an insight into the economic and social life, where entertainment, socializing and outdoors activities were important ingredients. The latter continued to play an important role and resulted in guesthouses, vacation homes and a restaurant.
Merchant Bengt Gustafsson Kronberg and his wife Augusta, (maiden name Lindh), initiated today's main building in 1882 for representation and summer housing. Along with the family residence Riksdrotsen 1 in Gävle, it is a representative example of what a wealthy merchant's family could hold in 1900. The building differs significantly through its architecture and size from other summerhouses on the coast with its panelled walls and mouldings.
City architect Alfred Erik Hedin and builder Nils Petter Andersson were hired as architect and building inspector. They chose a stone architecture with a grand and lavish exterior of English villa style with neo-classical qualities and facade ornaments that are still intact. It became a castle-like, heavier architecture with profiled ceilings and window lintels. Engeltofta was originally a magnificent facility with a main building, gardener’s lodge, pavilion, swimming pools and greenhouses, of which the latter two are now destroyed.
The son, Eric Kronberg, extended the main building, but it is unclear exactly which year. The extension was performed in the same style as the original building and the city architect EA Hedin was probably involved. However, there are no signed drawings or other documents that can confirm this. The extension to the west contained bedroom suites, guest rooms and staff rooms. Dormers were added and the attic was furnished. Generous rooms were elegantly furnished in contemporary taste. Some new furniture was purchased and some old got new locations according to old photos.
The main building has continuously been renovated to accommodate new activities. The facade is relatively well preserved, but the interior has undergone several changes since the family Kronbergs time. Stucco ceilings, panelling, doors and some fireplaces are still intact. The garden and the park have undergone major transformations over the years.
The property was classified as a cultural and historical heritage in 2005 and thereby protected by new detailed plan and protection rules. In addition to architecture and architectural history, the garden history, social and personal history as well as the pensions movement history is of outmost interest.
Text: Birgitta Lundblad