Highest in Warsaw. The most beautiful in the New Town. If in 1771 they elected a Mister of Warsaw, the title in the category of tenement house would go to royal architect Jakub Fontana.
This house built back in 1971 still impresses with beauty, although after the devastation of the Second World War only facades were carefully restored. There is no trace of former interior, even though in 1944 there were classical stucco and main wooden staircase.
Tenement at Zakroczymska 2/4 was founded probably in the years 1790-1791. Fontana designed it for himself, but he did not eventually settled there. The house had to be razor to make money. It was a luxury tenement to bring regular income from rent.
Impressive appearance as a decoy
In 1771 it was the tallest residential building in Warsaw. Even today it is still towering over the houses at Freta, Zakroczymska and Church Streets. It stands out with its noble architecture. In older days shops occupied ground floor, first floor held elegant owner’s apartments, and another ones – premises to rent. The higher, the cheaper.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century corner building housed a café of Susan Glowacka. Its sign and wooden shutters sites we can see on a postcards from that time.
Next to ghetto wall
During German occupation next to the house there stood ghetto wall. It was high up to the windows of the first floor and at the top it was bristled with broken glass. “When they built the wall, the same night there was a hole struck in it. Jewish boys were squeezing through this hole. It was patroled by cops, but from time to time they specifically disappeared in our gate and then there were bags of food flipped over the wall”, says John Sobocinski junior, son of Mr. Sobocinski, who lived in the building during War.
The house at Freta was burned down. Yet its walls and facades survived. The reconstruction began in 1952. We can read in a newspaper from that time: “The reconstruction of the house Zakroczymska 2/4 has started. Stones siding wall of the building are carefully numbered, removed from the wall so after reconstruction they can be set in the same places”. This was necessary because the exterior walls were pulled up to the mezzanine floor above the ground floor. The walls above were rebuilt, putting a lot of care to restore the original architectural detail.
In 2012 the building elevation was again restored and today the house is the pride of the New Town.