The aristocratic banker and the local Valaisian farmers

Of course the exclusive and foreign society in Cassel’s summer residence caused numerous rumors and conjectures, and the peculiar people with their strange behavior at Riederfurka were much talked about. Nevertheless, the locals thought highly of Cassel and respected him.

 

Generous donator
On the one hand, he demanded that people keep their distance and kept himself to this principle very strictly. For example, during his summer stay he refused to let the locals use the panoramic trail around the Riederhorn which he had had constructed for his sister who suffered from heart disease. On the other hand, he made generous donations to charitable causes. Today, the foundation he dedicated to his daughter still exists, and every year the interest revenue is distributed among the needy in the surrounding communities.

Another attempt by Cassel to make contact with his outlandish neighbors was the annual «Cassel celebration» in August, where the locals were invited to eat, drink, and make merry in front of the villa for a couple of hours.

 

Special requests
Of course, many locals worked at Villa Cassel, for example as food porters who had to bring fresh rolls from Mörel every morning at 7 o’clock or as mountain guides who always had to be available to lead Cassel’s guests on gentle walks or longer trips round the mountains. It is partly from the stories told by Sir Cassel’s employees that we know a lot about life at Villa Cassel.

For 12 years, Sir Ernest Cassel returned to his residence almost every summer for a couple of weeks and he was always accompanied by many ladies and gentlemen. However, the end of this epoch was already looming...