Window to Giant Mountains

History of Friesovy boudy

The very first mention of Friesovy boudy (chalets) can be found in the Vrchlabí urbary where Jiří Fries is mentioned in 1676 and where it says he was allowed to build a chalet. Friesovy boudy (chalets) belonged to the district of the village Dolní Dvůr till 1882 and then to the district of the village Strážné where in 1900 seven families of Friese were registered. Budaři (Chalet inhabitants) were occupied with breeding cattle, production of milk products and with making hay.

As tourism started to expand in the second quarter of the 19th century, chalet tenants focused not only on farming but also on different ways of making their living as mountain load bearers and guides. They also adjusted their houses to provide tourists with services. They sold milk, cheese, coffee and hard drinks there.

Friesovy boudy (chalets) lay aside main tourist routes. One of the oldest ways – Slezská trail (Lahrbush) – passed by these chalets. Slezská trail leads through Jilemnice, Vrchlabí, Strážné, Lahrovy

boudy (chalets), Výrovka to Slezsko. It is said that it used to be a usual smuggling trail. Until the chair lift to Pláň was completed, Friesovy boudy (chalets) started to be a tourist centre.

Life in the highlands in the first half of the 20th century was far from easy. Electricity had not yet been introduced in the mountains and people mainly used kerosene and candles for lighting. This sometimes led to fires, but the most frequent cause of fire was still lightning and defective chimneys. Most households baked their own bread, usually 1 loaf every 2 weeks. Vegetables or fruits did not prosper in these altitudes, with cherry trees growing only to Husí boudy and apples from Strážné downwards. The most popular vegetables among the highlanders were carrots and radishes they bought in Vrchlabí. They also fermented cabbage, serving as a source of vitamins for the entire year.

They did not breed pigs because they did not have feed for them. They bought tools and they have them repaired in Vrchlabí, there was no blacksmith in the mountains. A postman delivered mail and newspapers regularly every day. A radio on batteries was the source of information. They had it at school in Rennerovky and in many pubs (there was a pub in Friesovky, Lahrovky, Klínovky, Dvorská bouda and in Strážné). Health care was not very accessible to the people and it was very expensive. A general practitioner and dentist were in Vrchlabí and when a doctor finally came in cases of emergency, it was already too late most of the time. At the beginning of the thirties tourism started spreading and it became a good source of extra income for many mountain dwellers. Tourists from Bohemia as well as from Germany came here. Tourism was the most common reason for contact with Czech inhabitants as Czechs had not lived there till the end of the war, except for in Vrchlabí where a Czech school was as well.

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