Edenvale dates back to 1903 when it was a small village where certain Cornish Miners settled after the Boer War. The farm Rietfontein No 9 was originally owned by Tobias Mynhardt whose home, Frank Marret Park, can still be seen today. Mynhardt subdivided the area into four portions in the early 1890’s. He sold these portions one by one selling Eastleigh (one of the portions) to Father De Lacey and another portion (Edenvale) to a leading Johannesburg grocer named Mr Amm. The major portion, which extended from Modderfontein Boundary to Elandsfontein Station, was sold to the Rietfontein Gold Mining Company, while the remaining portion of Edendale was retained by Mr. Mynhardt.
The first “erven”/lots were sold in 1903 and the town was named after a man called John Eden. John Eden was part owner of Rietfontein in 1900. Owing to the proximity of the Land to the Rietfontein Mining Company the new owners were induced to lay out the land as Townships. Eastleigh was laid out in one acre lots while Edenvale and Edendale were sub-divided in quarter acre stands (991 sq metres).
In 1903, stands were offered for sale to the public at 20 pounds per stand. Not surprising, this very affordable ground, which was also tax free, encouraged folk to settle in Edenvale. At that time, Rietfontein Mine employed Cornish Miners called “Cousin Jacks”. They settled In Edenvale and Eastleigh in brick-lined wood and iron houses, some of which can still be seen today. By 1907, a school opened in a house for the Edenvale children.
In 1913, Rietfontein Mine was closed due to the first mining strike. The infamous Rand Revolt of 1922, which grew from the strikes on the gold and coal mines, hampered the progress of Edenvale somewhat. Miners were absorbed into mines in the Germiston area. During this period many Afrikaans families came to live in Edenvale, as an interest in mining grew. As a largely mining community, many families were hit hard as miners were un-employed for many months. To assist these families, a voluntary committee organized by the late Harry Sneech’s wife the then Postmaster, opened soup kitchens to feed the needy.
By 1924, a Vigilance Association was formed, of which Harry Sneech was part of, raised money to build a concrete bridge which linked Edenvale to Eastleigh. From 1935 to 1938 this committee also functioned as a health Committee. In 1939 Edenvale became a village and in 1954 was proclaimed a Municipality.
Lights and water installations, which became available in 1938, stimulated a building boom in the Edenvale Municipal Area. Industrialists also became more interested in the area with the availability of cheap land so forming the nucleus of today’s Sebenza Industrial Township (meaning “to work” in Zulu).
Stay-A-While Guest House is laid out on three adjoining quarter acre stands. The office is at Number 113 First Avenue, which was the home of Mr and Mrs Eales. This house was originally built circa 1916 and had remained in the Roetz family for three generations. Relatively unchanged, the house conjures up images of the early days of Edenvale, when there were no cars or electricity. The house was bought from Mr Harry Sneech in 1919. Mrs Eales was born in the house in 1918 and so was her daughter many years later; she lived in the house until her death in 1997. Her daughter still lives with her family in Edenvale.
The previous & original guest house owners Athol & Lorraine were neighbours for 16 years before buying the house and renovating it back to its original condition. The house is made of corrugated iron sheets nailed onto timber frames. These frames were placed on a foundation and once the walls were pinned together the interior walls were clad with mud bricks. It is reputed to be the oldest residential dwelling in Edenvale. The Baltic Russian pine wooden floors and door frames were all sanded down to show off their natural beauty. Today it houses the office of a Travel agency, a tour operator and the offices of the guest house. The old garage, milking room and storeroom (circa 1954) situated at the back of the property were converted into three suites namely, The Churchill, The Kamberg & Sneech guest suites. These suites were enhanced further by adding a beautiful wide all weather north facing patio with stonework reminiscent of an old farm house style veranda stoep.