Also see the neighbouring towns
In 1877 the Scot, James Douglas Logan (1857-1920) was on his way to Australia but disembarked in Cape Town. He began working as a porter at Cape Town's railway station and later became superindent of the Touws River - Prince Albert Road section of the railway.
He settled next to the railway line where there was fresh natural water, which he sold to train passengers. He eventually resigned from the Railways and opened a hotel, called Loganda Hotel, in Touws River.
Logan first bought the farm Tweedside and over time many of the surrounding farms. He developed Matjiesfontein with imported items such as London lampposts. He planted trees, built fountains and a hotel in the Victorian building style.
Logan turned the place into a health spa. Many rich and famous came to the Matjiesfontein Spa following promises that the fresh Karoo air and mineral water will cure them. Some famous visitors were: Cecil Rhodes, Lord Randolph Churchill, Edgar Wallace, and authors Rudyard Kipling and Olive Schreiner.
Logan's house was the first private residence in South Africa with electric lighting. He used wind power to generate electricity. It is also claimed that he had the first flushing toilets in South Africa. He connected the farm house on the Tweedside farm with his house in Matjiesfontein with a telephone wire, a distance of almost 20Km and at the time the longest phone line in South Africa.
It is further claimed that the first international game of cricket played in South Africa was at Matjiesfontein. South Africans began to play cricket in 1890. Between 1890-1902 South African scores were very poor. For example, in the Second Test against the English at Newlands in 1889, the English scored 292, while the South Africans were all out for 43! In 1896 the English side toured again, and George Alfred Lohmann took 8 wickets for 7 runs!
George Alfred Lohmann (1865-1901) liked Matjiesfontein so much he retired here - Logan employed him. His grave can be visited.
James Douglas Logan's son, James Logan (born 24 June 1880 - died 3 January 1960 in Matjiesfontein, almost 80 years old) played cricket for South Africa in 1901. See his cricket averages.
During the Anglo-Boer War (1899 - 1902) Matjiesfontein became a British military stronghold, and the hotel, The Lord Milner Hotel was turned into a war hospital.
When Logan died in 1920, David Rawdon bought the hotel and revitalised the whole village. The village Matjiesfontein was first establish in 1884.
The author Olive Schreiner lived in Matjiesfontein for a while.