The splendid late classicistic Radziszów mansion was built with the funds of the Dzieduszycki family in the early years of the 19th century.
The Dzieduszycki family was given the estate in Radziszów by the Austrian authorities on September 1, 1790 as compensation for their confiscated estate in eastern Galicia.
Up to that time Radziszów, being the property of Austrian State, had been managed by its tenants. The Austrian State, in turn, had taken Radziszów over from the Tyniec Benedictine monks just before the dissolution of their monastery.
The Dzieduszycki family chronicle states that the received estate was in very poor condition. The old buildings were dilapidated and the land had been managed badly. Probably one of the most important decisions made by the Dzieduszycki family just after having come to Radziszów was to build a new mansion. The new building likely replaced an older, possibly wooden one.
The commission to build the new mansion was given to a well-known and respected Jesuit architect, father Sebastian Alojzy Sierakowski, who lived in the years 1743 - 1824. He came up with its design just before his death. Upon his death, this great architect was buried in the crypts under Wawel Cathedral. Sebastian Sierakowski left many pieces of his architecture behind in Kraków ( Cracow ), Wadowice, Radziszów and Pleszów. He also wrote a book entitled " Architecture which includes all kinds of bricklaying and building" ( published in 1812 ).
The new building was built in the western part of the 8-hectare estate, thus being in the centre of the village, which lies in a bend of the Skawinka River. This is also not far from the church, to which an alley lined with trees led. The new mansion was surrounded by a landscaped park, flower and vegetable gardens, and an orchard. The building itself was constructed according to a rectangular scheme;it is a compact 2-storey structure with a pegged hip roof with a ridge.
The most richly decorated and best preserved parts of the elevation are windows with semicircular mouldings and stuccoed palmettes. The three central windows on the southern wall of the first storey were decorated with triangular pediments with eagles and cupids. The mansion is also ornamented with a decorative moulding going around the building, just below the roof. The ground floor is decorated with rustication.
The main entrance on the northern wall does not exist today, but, typical of such buildings, it must have been quite conspicuous in the past. There are two staircases in the mansion; one of them - a representative open-newel one - is in the central part of the building. The ground level was the mansion's habitable part; its rooms have barrel vaults. The 1st floor walls are 5.5 metres high. Two rooms have an area of 70 square metres each. There are two elements of note in the central representative chamber of the mansion on the 1st floor: a fireplace and mouldings just below the ceiling. The rooms on the 1st floor are entered through a decorative double-folding door. The rooms are light. The windows on the 1st floor are almost twice as high as the ground floor windows.
In 1826 the mansion was badly damaged by fire. In the first half of the 19th century the mansion was considerably re-decorated. An extensive two-level terrace was added in symmetry to the windows on the southern wall. Its upper part was propped up by four pillars. The terrace was ornamented with a balustrade and stairs on both sides.
This look of the mansion is documented by photos collected in the National Museum in Warsaw.
With the aid of one of these photos, Piotr Birówka painted a large picture which is now on display in a corridor of the new school in Radziszów.
In 1857 the mansion was inherited by Helena Pawlikowska of the Dzieduszycki family. She was visited here by her son, Tadeusz Pawlikowski, the director of the Public Theatre in Cracow ( today the Słowacki Theatre ). In 1877 Karolina Oksza Orzechowska bought the mansion, and Duchess Róża de Bessano lived here from 1880. Then the mansion came to be owned by Count and Countess Mieroszowski.
At the turn of the 19th century the mansion was bought in succession by two attorneys from Cracow, first Władysław Lisowski and then Stefan Kirchmayer.
The Radziszów community bought the mansion and the adjacent grounds for 21,500 krones in 1908. The mansion was turned into a school and before underwent a full-scale renovation. The ground floor rooms especially were adapted to the needs of schoolchildren who were to move in to the mansion from an old wooden school. The renovation was carried out by Marceli Kucharski, a builder from Cracow, and supervised by the school headmaster, Józef Cieszanowski.
A flat for the headmaster ( two rooms and a kitchen ), two classrooms, an office, a cloakroom in the corridor, and a special room for Manual Training ( a subject introduced to the school curriculum in the 19th century ) were created on the ground floor. There were four classrooms and two cloakrooms in the corridor on the first floor.
It is probable that the first floor portion of the terrace, which was already damaged, was demolished during this renovation. Only the ground floor portion of the terrace was left.
A solemn opening ceremony for the school took place on October 30, 1909 in the presence of the school supervisor, Seweryn Udziela. The school was blessed by the parish priest, father Marceli Zauss.
During the First World War, from August 10, 1914 to October 20, 1915, the mansion was occupied by the Austrian Army. The soldiers damaged the building to a great extent. Further damage to the building was caused by the fire of June 22, 1917. The fire was big: 53 houses and 30 barns in the village burnt down. The high temperature damaged the mansion's roof tiles and window panes. The interior was covered in soot.
In 1934 the elevation of the building was renovated and the ground floor rustication was removed. The renovation cost 2,500 zlotys.
On May 26, 1939 the school was honoured and inspected by the metropolitan bishop of Cracow, Prince Adam Stefan Sapieha.
1944 was the next difficult year for the mansion. It was then inhabited by German soldiers who caused its further damage. During the German retreat on January 17 and 18, 1945, the centre of Radziszów was bombed and the walls of the mansion cracked. However, after some minor repairs, the school began to function again on February 1, 1945.
In 1947 a committee for the renovation of school building was brought into being. The district architect, engineer Z. Sieniawski, worked out a plan for the renovation, but it was not before 1952 that the mansion was thoroughly renovated. The roof, some parts of the 1st floor ceilings, and some windows were repaired. Gradually electricity and central heating were installed.
The building underwent some additional minor renovations up to 1997 when the school was moved to a new building. For 88 years many Radziszowians attended school in the mansion.
The mansion is presently empty. Although it was registered as a heritage monument, the building is going to rack and ruin.
The "Nasz Radziszów" Association has undertaken efforts to restore the mansion to its former splendour and make it useful for the inhabitants of the village and the district community.
Compiled by Janusz Bierówka
Translated by Dorota Gawryła