HILMA JOHANSSON HAMMARIN (1863–1946)
– Gävle’s response to Wilhelmina Skoog
In 1924, Engeltofta became Pension Engeltofta when Miss Hilma Johansson Hammarin bought the property with adjacent buildings and its equipment. The price was 82 500 SEK. That same year, she also bought Kronbergs Persbacka Gård. It is difficult to fully understand her complete life story and several issues remain to be resolved to this date.
Hilma Johansson Hammarin was born on a small farm in Hammarö, in Värmland. She started to work early in restaurants in Karlstad and moved to Gävle in 1892 as a single mother with two sons. Her first job in Gävle was at the City Hotel. She then worked at a few beer halls and was director of the inn (later named Standard) for a period of time. An appointment at the City Hotel in Hudiksvall is also documented. Parallel to Engeltofta she ran Olympia dining and socializing in 1927-1928. There are also unconfirmed reports of a restaurant in Uppsala where she might have been active.
On May 1, 1925 Hilma Johansson Hammarin opened pension Engeltofta and it was an immediate success, with dances all night long and guests that socializing like a big family.
Spring was always greeted with a large bonfire and fireworks on the beach on April’s last day. This was a highlight at Engeltofta these days, as were Midsummer and the crayfish season. Dance was held three days a week as the music played Foxtrot, French and Argentine tango in the grand salons. People played chess, cards and billiards. At first, Pension Engeltofta was open only during the summer months but soon stayed opened all year.
Gefle Post wrote on May 2nd 1925: Engeltofta - a notable guesthouse. During a tour of the large and stately halls, it became clear that Engeltofta is magnificent. The magnificent building has 32 rooms.
After many years of intensive work, Hilma Johansson Hammarin finished her restaurant career on the last of January 1933 and handed over Pension Engeltofta to Oscar Zedrén.