OSCAR ZEDRÉN (1890–1941)
– Gävle’s hotel king
Oscar Zedrén was born in Österbor, Österfärnebo and started his restaurant career early with training at Strandhotellet and the Central hotel in Gävle. He then travelled abroad for internships, to France, England and Germany among other places. When returning to Sweden in 1914 Zedrén was appointment as headwaiter at the Baltic exhibition restaurant in Malmö and then held a similar position at the Grand Hotel in Stockholm.
Oscar Zedrén married Anna, Ljungberg in 1916 and had four children, of whom two sons and a grandson continued in the restaurant business.
From 1919, the family Zedrén developed a hotel and restaurant empire in Gävle. Central Hotel was Oscar Zedréns first acquisition with the support of two of the city's breweries and ship owner Erik Brodin. In 1924 Zedrén took over Grand Hotel. He also ran Engeltofta on lease in 1933 and bought it three years later, when it was included in the same company as Grand Hotel from the mid-1930s. The staff of Grand, headed by chef Louis Campanello, moved out to Engeltofta during the summer season.
After a remodelling including a new kitchen and a built-in terrace to the dining room and regeneration of the beach and park area, Grand Restaurant and Pension Engeltofta opened on Easter 1933. The building then changed several times. It hosted some twenty rooms for travellers, most with private balconies, several sumptuous salons, charming dining rooms and a modern dining terrace. Swedish and French cuisine was served. Dance was offered three times a week but it was no longer small orchestras with 2-3 men who played. Now, Engeltofta presented large orchestras. Walking concerts in the open was also offered. Extra buses and taxis took guests to the facility. Grand celebrations were organized during the summer months and Engeltofta was in its heyday.
Grand Restaurant and the pension were run during the summer until 1939. The outbreak of war and the various constraints and a change in alcohol laws with new traffic regulations drastically changed the prerequisites operate restaurants, especially outside the cities.
Zedrén held several board appointments: Gävle Ångbryggeri AB and Uplands Bank as two examples. For his efforts, he received various awards. He was a knight of both the Vasa as the Nordtjärneorden as well as the French Legion of Honour and appointed Polish vice-consul in Gävle. Oscar Zedrén is a typical example of the entrepreneurs that came to Gävle in the late 1800s with no money in his pocket but with great entrepreneurial spirit. He died in 1941 and the estate sold his estate to SKF Hofors workers' association three years later.