If you decide to walk from the Bogor station towards the Bogor Botanical Gardens, you’ll find a garden full of “hats” on the left you. That’s right! Filled with “hats” because it is the place known as the Hat Park or Hat Garden.
Scenery of lined giant “cowboy hat” or “helmet” is seen at the site of the Captain Muslihat Bogor. The bottom is somewhat obstructed by hedges.
Certainly, there is no crouching giants wearing a hat or helmet. The lower part is stores or business place .
Indeed, The Hat Park can not be said as a pure garden. Most areas in the places allocated for various business activities. Some other parts are reserved for parking lots and the rest is used for trees.
This area is built according to the original name as a “Plaza”. The original name was Captain Muslihat Plaza.
Perhaps, in your mind, if you hear the word “Plaza”, then your mind will wonder to a typical multi-storey building of modern shopping. Actually it is not. Plaza can mean also a gathering place, a field or a square.
It can not be separated from the initial concept of the origin of the Hat Park in the past. The initial idea of this park can not be separated from the origin of these locations.
The History of the Hat Park
Let’s do a little “flash back” or flashbacks to around 134 years ago (the year 2016).
Precisely the year we should aim at is 1882. The year, according to the literature was one year after Bogor Train Station established.
During that period, the Dutch government set up various support facilities around the station. They developed one part of the area in front of the station building as a path named Station Weg (the station). The other par was made into a garden.
Not yet ! His name is not Hat Park and it was not as it is today. The name given was after the name of the Queen of the Netherlands in the 1890-1948 ie Wilhelmina Park (when she had not become the queen)
The original park was actually quitevast. Judging from the current location, Wilhelmina Park extended from store Matahari Department Store to Borobudur Dept Store next Pasar Anyar. The length was around 150-200 meters and the width was 50 meters.
The garden was intended as a tourist attraction for visitors from Europe. It was also used as a rest area for the tourists after taking quite a long journey from Batavia (Jakarta) by train. Dutch ladies also often used this park to relax and have a fun.
After the independence of Indonesia, in 1960 Wilhelmina park was taken by Indonesia government. Its function and set up has been also changed several times.
The area next to one of the oldest market in Bogor City, Anyar Market were merged to the market.The rest of the park was still kept and known as Kebon Kembang (Flower Garden)
Until the 1980s, Kebon Kembang or Flower Garden changed again. The area was split into two sections. One part was used as Taman Ria Ade Irma Suryani (an amusement park), Another part was used as public transportation station or terminal.
Until 1994, public transportation terminals were removed and the former terminal used as a place of recreation.
This recreation area is now known as Taman Topi as it is now. (Well up also in the present).
Sorry! I should not refer to as such. This place has an official name as Captain Muslihat Plaza as mentioned above. Captain Muslihat is the name of an Indonesian independence fighter from Bogor. He held the rank of captain by the time he was shot to death.
Just because the shape of the buildings wearing a headdress shaped roof, so people know this place as the Hat Park. This name is more famous and popular than his formal name.
So if you ask for directions at the Bogor residents, do not ask where the Plaza captain Muslihat because many Bogor residents do not know its real name. Call it the Hat Park then they will show the way.
What’s in The Hat Park?
Indeed, in the period before more modern shopping malls rule the city, this place is a recreation place for the citizens of Bogor. Moreover, the place is next to an Amusement Park, Ade Irma Suryani Park.
If it is seen from the perspective of today, The Hat Park is a simple place. There is not so many things that can be seen or enjoyed.
Nowadays, most of this place is used as a place of business. Types of businesses that are here also vary from courses in English, the doctor, copy shop and food court. There is a California Fried Chicken outlets in the center.
On the South side there is the entrance to the amusement park.
Although simple, the place is still in line with its initial idea of a gathering place. In the afternoon a lot of people who use this place for chatting or just taking rest.
The atmosphere is quite calm considering on the inside there are quite a lot of trees. But if you expect something special, you will not find in the Garden Hats.
(Pease read also Heulang Park)