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Origins of the Dvor

The first Murkovic house in Stajnica, located between the saw mill and the church. (The long serving primary school teacher facing camera and Vjera facing her)  From Stajnica

Sometime in the 19th century, a Murković family lived in a large house in the middle of the Stajnica valley that has since disappeared. This first home was situated on a stream somewhere between the ruins of the old saw mill and the church in Stajnica. The family made their living from running a grain mill and storage facilities on the stream.

While they were there, an Austrian baron, who we think was called Otto Bohutinsky (Oto Bohutinski?) (Tominac has him as German and Bohutinski), bought some property at the foot of the hill (Gaj?) and did some major earthworks to improve the lot. He filled in the back of the Dvor, creating a massive retaining wall out of stone and leveling the entire lot. He then built the Dvor as his hunting and summer residence. Tominac says that the Dvor was built in 1875.

The Murković family got to know the Bohutinsky family and it is possible that someone in the family worked there as domestic help. Janjica (Jozo’s wife) had been educated in Austria, spoke German well and would have been friendly to the Bohutinsky family.

We don’t know how many seasons the Bohutinsky’s spent in Stajnica but the story goes that one season the baron arrived with the wife and kids and then returned to Vienna on his own. The couple may have had marital problems. After some weeks, possibly months, the wife decided to return to Vienna and asked the Murković family to look after the children. Sadly, the children were left in Stajnica for a number of months and the Murković family were the children's guardians. After some time the baron wanted to get rid of the Dvor and so he sold it to the Murković's. We think that Mate Murkovic was still the patriarch at the time, but it is possible that Mate had passed away.

We have a picture of the original Murković home and Vjera Prpić seems about 20 to 30 years old in it, so it was still standing in about 1920. We don't know if the Murković’s sold the original house or just let it fall into disrepair.


With the move to the new house, the family also changed it's main business from a grain mill to a saw mill. The business was successful and the Murković's invested heavily in the house and the mill. Extensions were built around the initial house, until there was a completely enclosed courtyard. There was a lockable gate at each end of the house and the doors were barred fom the inside, making the home into a bit of a fortress.

In 1941, the Dvor was attacked and Slave Murković died. The remaining family left the Dvor soon after that and sought refuge in Zagreb and later in Austria. Braco Murković stayed in Zagreb and requested that the home be returned to him. This was approved but then he heard word that someone from Lika was coming to Zagreb to kill him and he too escaped to Austria. Fifty years later the Dvor was returned to him.

"The Murkovic holdings (stables with treasure inside, the magazine, house, saw-mill, small and large stock of ready-prepared wooden goods for export) were set on fire on Wednesday, 17 September 1941. All that is family Murković had was destroyed that Wednesday not only by the armed partisans, but also by 60 unarmed Serb peasants from the Upper end - north Brinje who participated in the arson.  They took and plundered whatever they wanted as momentos." - Tominac

September 1941 - September 1943
Partizan forces took control of the Dvor and eventually made it into a hospital for their staff. It operated as a hospital from July 1943 to September 1943 when a German panzer division attacked the Dvor, killing about 24 patients and destroying the roof. Joško heard that this had happened and he went to the German headquaters (in Zagreb) to ask for reparations. They admitted the damage but said that they would settle up after the war. When the war ended, the Germans paid Tito's partizan government reparations for damage done during the war.
1944 - 1991
Under communism, the operations of the saw mill and house were managed by the town council of Brinje and by local Stajnicans. The communal workers used wood from the mill to rebuild the roof and to remodel the Dvor into their needs. The lower floor was used as a post office, convenience store and tavern while the upper floor provided a home to the family the ran the store and the main Hall was used as a meeting room, dance hall and theatre for school plays. Many of Stajnica's current inhabitants have fond memories of the Dvor during this period. 
At this place on the 17th of September 1941, Partzani completed their attack on the Murkovic's industrial operation and disabled it from the service of the occupiers (Germans). From the July until September 1943 this building housed the partizan hospital for the head staff in Croatia. 24 wounded partizans were killed here in the attack by German panzers on 24 September 1943. Memorial plaque erected by the municipal committee SBNOR-A Brinje 
4 July 1957.

In 1957 the council in Brinje placed a plaque on the wall commemorating the attacks by both Partizani and by the Germans.


1991 - 

The Dvor and the mill was returned to Braco Murković and he eventually came back to Croatia. The Dvor is in a poor state and the mill is a ruin. In about 2001, Braco sold two trees in front of the Dvor to a local saw mill to help him finance some repairs to the house. In 2010 Šandre (Mile), the owner of the mill recalled that when the logs were eventually milled they were unusable as they were full of lead from bullets, bombs and grenades that dated back to WW2. 


Research notes : 
Ferdinand Fröhlich, the last descendant of the Fröhlich family in Stajnica, was the machine operator on the Murković sawmill.
Bohutinski, Oto, dipl. ing. agr., (Križevci, 1.X.1912 - Zagreb, II. 2004), Zavod za voćarstvo, Zagreb Krpina, I., Ivković, F., Vrbanek, J., 2004. U sjećanje. Oto Bohutinski, dipl. ing. agr. Pionir i utemeljitelj hrvatskoga plantažnog  voćarstva 1912 - 2004. - Gospod. list, 2004(4): 2. <sin Augusta Bohutinskog>
Oto Bohutinski, pioneer of fruit growing in Croatia.
A certain Oto Bohutinski illustrated a book that was published in 1963.
Title Jabuka
Jugoslovenska pomologija
Editor Mihajlo Krstić
Illustrated by Greta Turković, Oto Bohutinski
Publisher Zadružna knjiga, 1963
Original from Cornell University
Digitized Nov 19, 2009
Length 218 pages
Subjects Gardening › Fruit
Book: "Jagoda - malina - ribiz - kupina"
Osnovne informacije
Autor Tvrtko Miloš, Oto Bohutinski
Broj stranica 110
Godina izdanja 1972.
Mjesto izdanja Samobor
Izdavač ? (knjižnica praktičnog voćarstva)
Mala voćarska tehnika
 Oto Bohutinski ; predgovor napisao Dr Ivo Modri
Takodjer, nagrade za rad na unapredjenju hrvatskog plantažnog voćarstva, posmrtno, dobili su Oto Bohutinski, Ivan Ciglar, Ante Medin i Ivo Modri.
Emil Bohutinki (1907-1996) had an artist exhibition in 1938
He also made a bust of Nicola Tesla in 1932
Professor Gustav Bohutinski was father of Emil Bohutinki. He was also the father of two other sons, one of which was also called Gustav. His son Gustav emigrated to the USA in 1949.
This park is named after the first Croatian plant breeder Gustav Bohutinski who was also an agronomist and a plant pathologist. In 1935
Gustav’s son and sculptor Emil Bohutinski sculpt a bust of him and placed it in the park.
In 1971, a law that was passed for the preservation of nature declared it as a nature monument.
Gustav Bohutinsky (1877-1914.) graduated agriculture in Wiena, and as a young agronomist started work at Royal College for Agriculture and Forestry in Križevci (Kr. više gospodarsko i šumarsko učilište u Križevcima). He became professor of “Plant breeding and crop protection” and the head of Plant breeding station. As Tchermak’s student he has the opportunity to learn about Mendel work, and later as a scientist and the first Croatian mendelist he starts genetic research in corn and other cereals. At the same time, but independantly of US scientists East and Shull, he conducts research experiments on selffertilisation and hibrid vigour at corn. Independant research findings of the three scientists are the basic principles of heterosis upon which todays hibrid corn production is organised. He developed the methods for cereal breeding from local and introduced populations. Well known are his cultivars of corn, wheat, barley and rye. His wheat cultivars were known under the name Bohutinsky wheats and were grown until 1925. He is one of the founders, and later the head edditor of Croatian scientific journal for agriculture “Gospodarska smotra”. He developed the basis for building of Department for plant breeding and Department for plant protection in Zagreb, but he had died as a soldier in the first WW from colera before this was realised.
Gustav was born in Szokola Hutt in Hungary. Youth was spent in Otočac (Lika), a high school in Karlovac. Agriculture Studies completed in 1902. in Vienna at the Hochschule für Bodenkultur (Fig.1.) and immediately took a job as an intern in the economic administration of the King. Hrv Slav Dalm. provincial government in Zagreb. He spent time training in Austria and in Neuhaus, Germany.
In 1908 he passed an exam for Professorship in Vienna. 
From Austrian govt archive re WW1 service:
Bohutinsky, Emil (11.2.1845 - ... ), 1900 pens., 23.7.1900 GM-Char. ad hon.