Chêne-Bougeries, Canton of Genève, Switzerland

Chêne-Bougeries is a Swiss municipality in the canton of Geneva, it encompasses several districts on the outskirts of the city of Geneva. Chêne-Bougeries had an essentially country aspect. Among the agricultural properties flourish the large estates that the rich bourgeois of the city have established. Fleeing the city of Geneva, they come to spend the beautiful season in this pleasant countryside. Admirably well placed on a very well connected road, the town allows a year-round installation, in the peace of the countryside without leaving the city. It is these properties that have shaped Chêne-Bougeries and the installation of these mansions has led to the development of parks, walks, groves, orchards, meadows and fields.

The heart of the town lies in the town which brings together the temple, the presbytery, the cemetery, the school, the fountain and from 1844, the town hall. The Petites Bougeries, currently Place Audeoud, magnificently planted with trees, are the venue for all the ceremonies. On the route de Chêne towards the city, before Eaux-Vives, we find Grange-Canal which serves as a suburb. This locality with its brewery, vinegar factory, cafes and shops, benefits from frequenting the route de Chêne and forms the link between the city and the heart of Chêne-Bougeries.

The commune of Chêne-Bougeries is located to the east of the city of Geneva, which it adjoins. Most of its territory is classified as a villa zone with for example the district of Conches, the other part is classified as a building zone with for example the district of Gradelle. According to the Federal Statistical Office, Chêne-Bougeries measures 4.13 km 2. 83.1% of this area corresponds to housing or infrastructure areas, 10.1% to agricultural areas, 5.8% to wooded areas and 1.0% to unproductive areas. The town includes the districts of Conches, Grange-Canal, la Gradelle. It borders on Cologny, Vandeuvres, Chêne-Bourg, Thônex, Veyrier and Geneva.

Chêne-Bougeries is first mentioned in 1270 as Quercus. In 1801 it was mentioned as Chêne-les-Bougeries. Chêne-Bougeries was inhabited for most of its history, and neither the Romans nor the Genevans settled there. An important concern for the Genevans was the leprosy hospital that occupied part of the commune; it is only when this illness was defeated around the 16th century that Chêne-Bougeries really started to develop.

During the French Revolution, the territory was occupied by the French. In 1798 the commune was forced to merge with the neighbouring communes of Chêne-Thônex and Chêne-Bourg to create a new entity, the Trois-Chêne. In 1801, however, it was able to regain the autonomous commune status, while Chêne-Thônex and Chêne-Bourg remained unified. In 1816, Chêne-Bougeries, as many of other neighboring communes, became part of a newly Swiss Geneva. Incidentally, Chêne-Thônex was subsequently called Thônex when dissensions led to a new separation with Chêne-Bourg in 1869. The three communes are still referred today as Trois-Chêne and close ties are still in place. Work on social security, medical assistance, cultural offerings and sport infrastructure, to name a few, are operated in close cooperation between the three. While it used to be an agricultural commune for most of its history, Chêne-Bougeries, due to its close position to the city of Geneva, became essentially residential, attracting middle to very high revenue families.

In 1846 it was the revolution in Geneva, in 1847, the Sonderbund war, in 1848, the revolution in Europe. All these events, near or far from the town do not seem to affect the good course of life in Chêne-Bougeries. However, certain facts will have more influence than others: the federal constitution of 1848 which guarantees the freedom of worship, of association, of the press and of establishment for the Confederates in all the cantons will contribute to a vast mixing of population; in 1850, the establishment of the single currency; in 1874-1875, unification with the metric system; in 1847, a new constitution for Geneva, which improves the status of municipalities with the direct election of mayors and deputies by the municipal electorate in place of the Council of State.

The Geneva municipalities are a recent creation. They date from the French occupation, which granted them a very modest autonomy, without comparison with that enjoyed by the municipalities of other Swiss cantons. The Geneva municipalities do not have large municipal properties that provide resources, unlike other Swiss municipalities. They depend on the State to accomplish the tasks assigned to them and are thus under the supervision of the Canton. With the constitution of 1847, the objects of general interest and the funds for the maintenance of these are given to the municipalities in which they are located: places of worship, schools, homes for pastors and schoolmasters and others..

Since the creation of the municipality in 1801, the Municipal Council had the habit of meeting at the mayor in office. It was in 1844 that the town acquired a house in the center of the village. The town hall, the fire pump shed (which encumbered the temple courtyard), the nursery school, the sewing school and the warden’s accommodation were installed there.

In 1880, when the village street was widened to facilitate the passage of the tram, the reconstruction of the too small town hall was on the agenda. The City Council firstly votes on a proposal to build on the land at Petites Bougeries. This decision was abandoned in the face of strong opposition from the population. Because of too much debt, the municipality must be content with an expansion of the Town Hall with the financial support of the city of Geneva. In 1883, the enlarged town hall was inaugurated. It is the occasion of a great celebration: official procession, banquet at the Petites Bougeries, shooting organized in the Pré de la Gradelle, grand ball at the town hall, fireworks and undisputed highlight of the festivities: electric lighting between the temple and the Petites Bougeries.

The town is fiercely Protestant, even if the confessional balance has shifted to Catholicism between 1850 and 1860. The spiritual power has been seated in the temple since 1758 and each parish festival brings together the entire population of the town.

The fight against fire is one of the most glorious traditions of Chêne-Bougeries, older than the temple or the town. The first pump was acquired in 1736. Its firefighters were present in 1822 when the flames ravaged Monnetier, in 1871, during the great fire on the quai du Rhône, in 1888 when the waters of the Seymaz flooded the entire lower town and the countryside. near. They undertake “to do their service free of charge, out of dedication for the public good, and to attend all calls that concern the service for which they are responsible”.

An important point in the passage from the power of the Church to that of the State is primary education. At the beginning of the 19th century, primary education was given either by the Church or by private schools. The Company of Pastors is responsible for establishing and administering schools. After the radical revolution, the Constitution of 1847 declared free primary education. It only became compulsory in 1872 because many people saw an attack on paternal authority and on “the principles of individual liberty and morals”.

In 1829, Chêne-Bougeries built its first small school at the entrance to Chemin De-la-Montagne. In 1850, the department of public education banned religious education in the municipal school. In 1891 the Grange-Canal school, until then parochial school, became municipal. From 1893, the population had increased so much that the need for a new school was felt. In 1895, the school on the route de Chêne was inaugurated. At Grange-Canal, the school building was rebuilt in 1897. In 1912, the Conches school responded to growing demand due to the urbanization of the town and the reception of orphans from two institutions located in the town..

Road maintenance is a particularly important financial burden for Chêne-Bougeries, which has a very dense network for a relatively small area. The roads of Florissant and Malagnou are severely tested by the hundreds of daily tanks which transport the stones from the quarries of Veyrier to the City. To remedy this, the municipality entrusts the rights of surveillance as well as the maintenance of the roads to the riparian owners, by means of an attribution of the credit of the roads to the persons in charge. Fortunately since 1855, the City of Geneva, which is already taking care of the route de Chêne, has taken over the maintenance of the roads to Malagnou and Florissant.

The route de Chêne causes major maintenance problems in the city of Geneva due to the large number of traffic passing through it. In May 1860, in one day there are 2350 ships. In summer, traffic raises a thick cloud of dust. To remedy this, the road must be watered with barrel wagons. Subsequently, in 1882, we use the hydrants with which the cantonal roads are equipped. Then comes Mac Adam’s stonework technique and Polonceau’s gravel road roller. However, maintenance will still have difficulty keeping up with the increase in traffic.

The installation of the horse-drawn tram in 1863 placed great demands on the route de Chêne. The line going from Rive to Chêne-Bougeries was extended to Thônex-Moillesulaz, in 1882, at the same time as the trams switched to steam traction. To overcome the descent to La Seymaz and the ascent to Chêne-Bourg, an embankment and an iron bridge are built over the Seymaz, which represents major works. This tram has a considerable influence on the development of the municipality which is now on the threshold of the agglomeration.

In 1881, a Cornavin-Annemasse rail link was planned. But a change of majority in the Grand-Conseil meant that the project was reduced to the construction in 1888 of the Vollande-Annemasse link. This line has no major impact on Chêne-Bougeries, which is not served by a station. The situation is quite different with the Geneva-Veyrier railway, which has been following the Florissant route since 1887. The success of this line which connects the city to Salève, a place of excursion, is immediate.

From 1900 it was necessary to share the road with the automobile. With the first Swiss national automobile and cycle exhibition in 1905, Chêne-Bougeries did not stay away from this general movement. Between 1903 and 1908, a factory in the town produced the first “Lucia” petrol car. The the plant was then bought by SIGMA (Geneva industrial company for mechanics and automobiles). 250 vehicles left this factory until the First World War. The factory is then converted to the manufacture of war material. Cars don’t only make people happy: some citizens denounce these deadly vehicles, responsible for large clouds of dust. From 1850 to 1914 the Geneva population increased steadily. Chêne-Bougeries saw its population increase from 1502 to 2758 inhabitants.

Small property
The urbanizable area around the historic city of Geneva continues to grow in concentric circles and reaches Chêne-Bougeries. New neighborhoods of villas are being built on the plateaus, among others at the Hermitage, at Grange-Canal. The population comes to settle down to enjoy the tranquility, security and beauty of the property environment. The plots are all equipped with public lighting and benefit from running water thanks to the Société des eaux de l’Arve. Renowned architects are called upon to create the villas with character, picturesque expression and escape the banality of the City. The Public Art Commission, founded by Guillaume Fatio to safeguard heritage, is also concerned with the quality of constructions. To reward the best aesthetic achievements, it organizes competitions. Some villas are of the “chalet” type, presented in the catalog, and are scattered throughout the greater Geneva suburbs.

In addition to the significant vegetation of large properties, the development of small and large gardens favors the planting of the most diverse species. There are native trees: lime trees, ash trees, hornbeams, beeches, plane trees, etc. The species of the mountains accompany the chalets. More exotic species also find their place: cedars from Lebanon, the Atlas or the Himalayas, sequoias and firs from the Caucasus, magnolias, tulip trees, sophoras from Japan, Gingkos and Paulownias. All of these trees form a generous urban forest. In Chêne-Bougeries, there are 11,793 public or private trees, or roughly one tree per inhabitant.

In 1915, we see that many inhabitants of the town know little or not at all the regulations of the police, municipal roads and municipal decrees. This lack of communication with the population was filled with the creation of Le Chênois, the first number of which appeared in July, under the direction of Egmond d’Arcis. This link between citizens and the municipality must appear every three months and is sent to all the families of the municipality. It includes: civil status and population statistics, road regulations, summary of City Council meetings, information on companies with inalienable capital, donations and bequests, etc. The history of the town is also published there, in particular the manuscripts of Pastor Goty. In 1926, Le Chênois became the official organ of the three Chênoises communes,

At the end of the war, it is prosperity that sets in very quickly. The growth of the economy is favored by the conflict and its ravages. In Chêne-Bougeries, the effects of the war faded quickly in a few years, the town found itself on the path to growth. We see a cinema set up in the rue de Chêne-Bougeries which was inaugurated at the end of 1949. Like the whole of the canton, Chêne-Bougeries recorded phenomenal development, the most important in its history. The town had 3,582 inhabitants in 1945 and 8,576 in 1975. In thirty years, the municipal budget has swelled from ~ 360,000.– to ~ 6,400,000.–. The number of pupils in the nursery and primary schools of Chêne-Bougeries goes from 376 to 946.

The road to Chêne is always more frequented and the widening works necessary for the traffic begin in 1949. The City undertakes the works while the municipality assumes the development of the entrance to the village. The temple gates are removed, part of the courtyard wall is demolished. The school playground is modified, trees are felled and replaced by young plants. The work also led to a rectification of the alignment of Place Audéoud, with the displacement of the wall and the felling of a tree. In the end, the road doubled in width, was concreted and the tram tracks were moved from the north edge of the roadway to the center of the road.

Since 1930, we have been thinking about the development of the Place des Trois-Martyrs because the exit from Chemin de la Fontaine on Route de Chêne is dangerous. However, to allow a transformation it is necessary to buy back the land from the place to the State, which causes complications because the asking price is too high. In November 1945, the City Council unanimously voted for the purchase of the State building, its demolition and the development of the square.

Until the 1950s, the villa districts continued to expand in the four corners of the town. More modest dwellings alongside more opulent dwellings. This situation is undoubtedly not unrelated to the emergence of a certain number of groups of inhabitants, careful to preserve their living environment. Today Chêne-Bougeries officially has seven neighborhood associations.

From the beginning of the 1950s, the housing shortage became glaring, the new neighborhoods which rose in the immediate vicinity of the urban center were no longer sufficient. Geneva sets up its HLM system and pushes back the borders of the urban agglomeration. Chêne-Bougeries boarded the train very quickly and at the end of 1957, the construction site for future buildings in the town was opened. This led to the creation of 19 buildings comprising 114 housing units in October 1958. In two months all the apartments were occupied.

The combination of HLM laws and the law on urban expansion opens the way to the creation of large housing estates. With an assertive modernity, the whole of La Gradelle arose in the 1960s on a former horse training ground. This set of 906 apartments for more than 3000 inhabitants by architects Jan Hentsch and Jacques Zbinden is intended to be an autonomous neighborhood unit with shops, a restaurant, a church and a temple, a communal hall, and the nursery and primary schools of the Gradelle. In 1963 the first apartments were occupied. Construction of the Gradelle school began in 1964 and was to be extended a few years later.

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Not far from the buildings of the town, between Seymaz and Chemin De-la-Montagne, other districts are emerging from the ground. In February 1968, at Chemin De-la-Montagne, a very popular event was the opening of the shopping center which included the first supermarket in the town. In March 1968, the City Council approved the purchase of a plot adjacent to the HLM Rigaud, to build the future Belvédère school. It was the architect Paul Waltenspühl who made the plans.

From the beginning of the 1960s, due to accelerated growth, the cantonal population grew by 20% and the number of motorists quintupled. Traffic is becoming an increasingly acute problem in Chêne-Bougeries, mainly on the route de Chêne and the route de Malagnou. The permanent increase in automobile traffic is due to the explosion in the number of cars, the increase in border workers and the construction of the White Road.

From the end of the war, all of the municipal roads were gradually paved. A large number of paths are widened. An operation that should allow a bus to serve, from the fall of 1965, the Gradelle district, the HLM Rigaud, the buildings on Chemin De-la-Montagne and the Belle-Idée clinic in Thônex. Some municipal roads take on a new role, like the Chemin du Vallon, intended to be transformed in the early 1980s into a cantonal transit road. The communiers denounce the motorist-king but the enlargement will be carried out all the same.

In 1957, the Grand Council passed the law of alienation. This allows the municipality to acquire the Sismondi property, where it intends to install the town hall. This project is abandoned for budgetary reasons. It will be made available to accommodate University students. In 1962, the town added the Stagni campaign to its heritage, 130, route de Chêne. It will also be rented for University accommodation. In 1974, the municipality could acquire a plot at 136 route de Chêne, adjoining the municipal properties Sismondi and Stagni. The villa there is to house the town hall offices. The modest plot of the town hall makes it possible to create, with the Sismondi and Stagni campaigns, a green space in one piece of 40,000 m2.

At the beginning of 1990, the buildings of the Sismondi property were in turn assigned to the municipal administration. The registry office, the municipal council chamber and the committee rooms move into the mansion. The Municipality now has 145,000 m2 of parks and walks maintained by a team of seven gardeners. The Stagni campaign is designed to meet the needs of the service. In addition to layers of crops established in 1977, this service has from 1984 onwards, a magnificent working tool: next to a functional garage for vehicles and maintenance equipment, the picturesque farm with dovecote at the end 19th century houses offices, commissary, cloakrooms and refectory, and workshops are located in the old stables.

As of 2010, Chêne-Bougeries had an unemployment rate of 4%. As of 2008, there were 5 people employed in the primary economic sector and about 2 businesses involved in this sector. 297 people were employed in the secondary sector and there were 51 businesses in this sector. 2,835 people were employed in the tertiary sector, with 283 businesses in this sector. There were 4,361 residents of the municipality who were employed in some capacity, of which females made up 45.2% of the workforce.

In 2008 the total number of full-time equivalent jobs was 2,536. The number of jobs in the primary sector was 4, all of which were in agriculture. The number of jobs in the secondary sector was 287 of which 62 or (21.6%) were in manufacturing and 225 (78.4%) were in construction. The number of jobs in the tertiary sector was 2,245. In the tertiary sector; 197 or 8.8% were in wholesale or retail sales or the repair of motor vehicles, 29 or 1.3% were in the movement and storage of goods, 76 or 3.4% were in a hotel or restaurant, 53 or 2.4% were in the information industry, 20 or 0.9% were the insurance or financial industry, 154 or 6.9% were technical professionals or scientists, 558 or 24.9% were in education and 959 or 42.7% were in health care.

In 2000, there were 2,635 workers who commuted into the municipality and 3,681 workers who commuted away. The municipality is a net exporter of workers, with about 1.4 workers leaving the municipality for every one entering. About 14.7% of the workforce coming into Chêne-Bougeries are coming from outside Switzerland, while 0.2% of the locals commute out of Switzerland for work. Of the working population, 31.2% used public transportation to get to work, and 48.2% used a private car.

From the 2000 census, 3,441 or 35.3% were Roman Catholic, while 2,178 or 22.3% belonged to the Swiss Reformed Church. Of the rest of the population, there were 239 members of an Orthodox church (or about 2.45% of the population), there were 8 individuals (or about 0.08% of the population) who belonged to the Christian Catholic Church, and there were 180 individuals (or about 1.84% of the population) who belonged to another Christian church. There were 284 individuals (or about 2.91% of the population) who were Jewish, and 236 (or about 2.42% of the population) who were Islamic. There were 23 individuals who were Buddhist, 18 individuals who were Hindu and 29 individuals who belonged to another church. 2,155 (or about 22.08% of the population) belonged to no church, are agnostic or atheist, and 968 individuals (or about 9.92% of the population) did not answer the question.

In Chêne-Bougeries about 2,580 or (26.4%) of the population have completed non-mandatory upper secondary education, and 2,800 or (28.7%) have completed additional higher education (either university or a Fachhochschule). Of the 2,800 who completed tertiary schooling, 38.4% were Swiss men, 33.6% were Swiss women, 16.3% were non-Swiss men and 11.8% were non-Swiss women.

During the 2009–2010 school year there were a total of 1,868 students in the Chêne-Bougeries school system. The education system in the Canton of Geneva allows young children to attend two years of non-obligatory kindergarten. During that school year, there were 135 children who were in a pre-kindergarten class. The canton’s school system provides two years of non-mandatory kindergarten and requires students to attend six years of primary school, with some of the children attending smaller, specialized classes. In Chêne-Bougeries there were 214 students in kindergarten or primary school and 37 students were in the special, smaller classes. The secondary school program consists of three lower, obligatory years of schooling, followed by three to five years of optional, advanced schools. There were 214 lower secondary students who attended school in Chêne-Bougeries. There were 376 upper secondary students from the municipality along with 73 students who were in a professional, non-university track program. An additional 519 students attended a private school.

As of 2000, there were 2,350 students in Chêne-Bougeries who came from another municipality, while 921 residents attended schools outside the municipality.

The shape elliptical the temple Chêne-Bourg in particular is well linked to the Protestant faith. This building was inaugurated in 1758, on the plans of Jean-Louis Calandrini. The temple has been a historic monument in the canton of Geneva since 1921 and has been part of the Swiss inventory of cultural goods of national and regional importance since 1959, as has the old Grange Falquet.

Public space

Belvédère Swimming Pool
Located at the Belvédère school, the swimming pool with its 25m pool is mainly intended for children from local schools. The Chêne-Bougeries Natation club carries out lessons and training there outside of school hours and periods.

Sous-Moulin Sports Center
Created in 1983 by the will of the political authorities of the three Chên municipalities, the Sous-Moulin sports center (CSSM) celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2008. Completed by the ice rink built in 2000, it is the largest sports center in the canton, the first inter-municipal grouping in Geneva and a real village near the three municipalities.

Disc-Golf at Stagni Park
A hybrid sport between golf and frisbee, this new sport is halfway between golf and Frisbee. We apply the rules of golf, except that instead of sliding a small ball in a hole, it is a question of completing a course by trying to place a disc (frisbee) in a basket, with a minimum of throws. Still marginal in Switzerland, this game is extremely popular in the United States or Australia and among some of our neighbors in northern Europe. The first professionals appeared in the 1980s and since then the number of regular players has exploded (around 500,000 players).

Intergenerational park
Long remained in the form of a square with sandboxes, this 2,000 m2 area has been redeveloped according to the new needs of users of the district, of all ages. Thus, both families with grandchildren and children attending primary school will find adapted play structures, a zip line or young people, a place for discussions, and adults and seniors, a gymnastics station comprising six fitness gear.

PasSage 41
Inaugurated in 1984, PasSage 41 is a non-profit association open to all interested persons. It is attached to the Geneva Foundation for Socio-Cultural Animation (FASe). The activities developed are in line with the guidelines of the Cantonal Charter of Centers. PasSage 41 offers activities for children, preadolescents, teenagers but also for seniors and classes for all ages.

A reception hall with bar, a children’s area, a pre-teen area, a teenager’s area, a DIY workshop, a large multipurpose room with technical control, a small multipurpose room, a ceramic workshop, a tree-lined park, a basketball hoop. The Trois-Chêne leisure centers (Chêne-Bougeries, Chêne-Bourg, Thônex) have worked together to better respond to the growing number of requests from summer air centers. The prices are identical for each Center and priority is always given to families living or working in the three municipalities. Registrations usually take place in April.

Sustainable path
Sustainable development is neither an abstract concern nor an optional task. Article 2 of the Federal Constitution elevates this new type of development to the rank of a constitutional goal. The municipalities must therefore take into account the criteria of sustainability and work “to establish a lasting balance between nature, in particular its capacity for renewal, and its use by humans.”

Like the other towns in the canton, Chêne-Bougeries is committed to implementing the principles of sustainable development in its territory. The concept adopted is that of “sustainable continuity”, which consists in preparing a sustainable development of its territory. Most of you already know the town. However, by taking the two proposed routes, you will discover them from a different perspective, that of sustainable development.

Nature trail
The Chêne-Bougeries nature trail project was born from an initiative of the Administrative Council and the Nature and Environment Commission of the Municipal Council of the city of Chêne-Bougeries, aimed at recreating or strengthening the link between the inhabitants and nature which surrounds them, through a citizen project with high ecological value for schoolchildren in the municipality. Through classroom workshops, the schoolchildren developed their knowledge on their themes and produced the material necessary for the creation of the panels: texts, illustrations, games, etc.

The Chêne-Bougeries nature trail has ten panels and three educational facilities to explore certain themes. The commune of Chêne-Bougeries is thus the first commune in French-speaking Switzerland to have a “live” listening point for bats, called Batspot. The nature trail invites visitors to understand in a fun way the riches of nature in the city and the town of Chêne-Bougeries, while offering them the opportunity to relax in the open air. The proposed walk is about fifteen kilometers long and is organized around three loops in the three sectors of the town: North of the town, Plateau de l’Ermitage and Conches.

Goms walk
The Administrative Council of the town of Chêne-Bougeries, in collaboration with the Association au service des patrimoines communaux (ASPACO), invites you to take a stroll to discover or rediscover the heritage and institutions present in Conches.

Public heritage
On September 29, 2007, the Chêne-Bougeries authorities, in collaboration with “A Chêne-Bougeries, ça marche”, inaugurated a new “Public Heritage” route, created by the town’s archivists.

Fitness trail
The World Health Organization (WHO) advises 30 minutes of movement at least every day. By taking the two health trails of Chêne-Bougeries, not only will you discover unexpected places, but you will also do yourself good.

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