Lignières: Then and Now

Lignières: Then and Now

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Walking out into the street and turning to the left, we see this building (Rue du Montilier 9, RACN 010-6456-00046) with its striking tower, complete with paratonnerre to guard against the lightning strikes of summer. It was built in 1912 for Henri Maeder to serve as a residence as well as the post and telegraph office, replacing the former Hôtel de la Poste. When I arrived in Lignières in 1992, the post office was still located here, but shortly thereafter it moved to a temporary building near the church where it remained for a decade before arriving at its present location near the centre of the village.

I have no way to date the “then” photo—it is tempting to date it between 1912 (when the building was constructed) and 1918 (the date on the fountain [RACN 010-6456-00286] just visible at the left of the “now” picture), but it is possible that due to perspective differences the fountain was just out of the frame in the “then” photo. Further evidence for a date in this range is that this post card is number 112 in the series by P. Monnerat of Le Landeron. If we make the plausible assumption that these cards were numbered in the order the photos which appear on them were taken, we can bracket the date between those of two other cards which figure in the archives of the Fondation de l'Hôtel de Commune de Lignières. An exemplar of Monnerat card 108 was mailed in 1913, while a card numbered 124 was mailed in 1918 (the Lamboing postmark looks like 1913, but the Nods postmark on the maroon stamp clearly reads 1918).

Note the mast at the centre of the roof where telephone and telegraph wires connected. The iron-fenced yard and streetlamp (also visible at the left side of the “then” photo of the Petitpierre shop) are rather more elegant than the present-day garage.

Back of post card

Map of viewpoint

The historical photograph is courtesy of M. Werner Löffel of Lignières, who kindly contributed images of his post card collection to the archives of the Fondation de l'Hôtel de Commune de Lignières.