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Żaków History

Żaków Village History

The word Żak meaning a student has already disappeared in the vernacular. Żak as a church attendant or a parson assistant has also been forgotten in common use, but probably such a church attendant was the owner of the village that turned into Żaków village later on. It is also possible that Żaków was simply a church estate (Stanisław Gnoiński).

In 1563 Katarzyna Siennicka was the owner of Żaków. In 1576 Żakowo was mentioned in the parish register among other villages such as: Stara Siennica, Wola Siennicka, Zglechów, Łękawica, Krzywica, Siodło, Granicznik, Choiny, Lasanin, Bestwiny, Kanty, Zalesie, Pogorzel, and Drozdówka that belonged to Siennica parish. In the 17th century, Żaków belonged to the Rudzieński family that had also other properties in the area. Later on, Jan Wierzbicki bought the property from Warsaw Voivode Antoni Rudziński and Starost Śmidyński. After that, Hipolit, Bazyli, Michał, and Justyna inherited it after their father, Jan Wierzbicki. In 1815, an independent owner of the estate was Michał Wierzbicki. In 1824 Michał Chełkowski bought the property at auction and waived his rights to Ignacy Stawiarski. Next, Stawiarski’s wife Barbara from the Wierzbicki and their children: Franciszek, Seweryn, Ignacy, Magdalena, and Józefa inherited it after him. Ignacy Stawiarski was the only one who after great hardships managed to merge the property and possess it in its entirety.

Around 1859 the next owner of Żaków was Jan Flatt and since 1869 Nikodem Wojda. In 1874 the estate that included Żaków, Huta Żakowska, Żakowiec, and Kolonia Pogulańska was registered in mortgage registers under the name of Żaków Villa. The village had 14 houses and 131 inhabitants.

Today Żaków is a place of residence for 312 people in 55 houses. The inhabitants of Żaków have always been occupied with agriculture, but nowadays it is also their primary occupation.

Żaków Palace

At the end of the 19th century a palace belonged to the tsarist general Alexander Stiepanov. 

After Poland regained its independence, the palace was repurchased by Hieronim and Zuzanna from the Zielińscy Kieniewicze, relatives of the great historian – Stefan. The place was rebuilt when it belonged to Maksymilian Czapek, who was an automotive engineer. Then, the sculleries were built by the north elevation, the interior was modernized and given its present appearance. In 1936 the palace became the property of Stefan and Zofia Pikulski and the land was sold to the village community.

During the war in the palace there were Germans who at the end of the occupation plundered it thoroughly. After the war the co-owners of the palace were residents of Żaków - Stefan and Adela Kulka. In 1949 the palace and about 2 hectares of land were purchased by neighbor villages in order to allocate the palace for a school and to build a fire station. In 1960 a northern part with two more rooms was built.

Around 1900 there emerged a small but beautiful palace. An aged avenue of elms, chestnut trees, ashes, and lindens leads to the palace from the entrance gate. The palace is surrounded on all sides with trees belonging to the old landscape park.

The palace is built of bricks, plastered, with a basement, and set on a high pedestal on the rectangular plan. The northern part set on the rectangular plan was added to the building. The irregular, partly single-storied and partly storied building combines features of the classical and neo-Gothic style. The gable roof set on the wooden ceiling is covered with sheet metal.

What is worth taking notice in the front elevation is portico that divides the elevation into two parts: the left part - a two-storied - and the right part - a one-storied elevation. The portico is supported by two columns and two Ionic engaged columns standing on the base and crowned with a triangular gable with three elements in the form of chimneys. A part of one-storied part of the palace has a crow-stepped gable that gives the palace a charming character. There are a lot of artistic interior ornaments, such as: rose windows or brackets in the form of volute that changes its shape into a leaf of acanthus. Above the windows there are graven images of women’s heads against the background of a shell. On the east and west side of the palace there are terraces surrounded by a stone balustrade.

The interior structure is multipartite with a lobby and a hallway. There are seven rooms of different size on the ground floor, three more rooms on the first floor, and a spacious attic. In the lobby there is an interesting arcade supported by two pseudo-Doric columns. Wooden stairs leading to the first floor have an ornamental balustrade and in a room on the east side there is an interesting fireplace with white glazed tiles.

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