Composers / Fryderyk Chopin / Places catalog

Wola Tollhouse

The last day Fryderyk Chopin spent in Warsaw was 2 November 1830. He boarded the mail coach heading for Kalisz at the Wola Tollhouse on the evening of that day and finally alighted in Paris a few months later, having travelled via Dresden, Prague and Vienna. He was never to return to Poland.

Chopin first handed his baggage to the postman at the Saxon Post Office on ul. Krakowskie Przedmieście on that memorable afternoon of 2 November. After that, he took a hansom cab to the outskirts of the city with a group of friends, so that they could say their final farewells while waiting for the mail coach.

In those days, Warsaw was surrounded by forests and trenches. ‘[…] there were only ten places where people could enter or leave the city’, explains Piotr Mysłakowski. ‘Thoroughfare was via tollhouses (Mokotów, Czerniaków, Wola etc.). These usually consisted of two twin buildings, one on either side of the entry/exit road, and served as border inspection posts’. Jerzy S. Majewski adds that ‘The blades of dozens of windmills whirled in the suburb of Wola. Cultivated land stretched out towards Ochota, Szczęśliwice and Raszyn, as well as Włochy and Babice, and there were vast tracts of forest along the Vistula and on the Praga side. Forests grew in Gocławek and Grochów. Białołęka was forested, as was Choszczówka as far as Jabłonna Palace. Bielany Forest stretched out along the Vistula and joined up with Młociny Forest and Kampinos Forest further on. To the south, Piaseczno was surrounded by forest. As you drove there from Warsaw via Mokotów and Wierzbno, i.e. along today’s Puławy trail, the road at Pyry entered Kabaty Woods, which extended considerably more westward than they do now, for several kilometres. There were also numerous farms, manors, mills on meandering streams and, finally, taverns, in the environs of Warsaw’.

On that afternoon of 2 November, Chopin bade an emotional farewell to his friends in one of these taverns, or wayside inns. Those present mainly included his friends from the conservatory, as well as the vice-chancellor, Józef Elsner, who was also one of his teachers. They most likely spent their time waiting for the mail coach somewhere near the Wola Tollhouse. It used to be the norm to imagine them in the ‘yellow tavern’ (on ul. Połczyńska) or possibly the ‘iron tavern’ (near what is now ul. Twarda). Piotr Mysłakowski convincingly argues, however, that both those taverns were too far from the Tollhouse and that it is much more likely that the group waited for the mail coach in the nearby ‘Pod Wolą’ [Wola] restaurant, in the Aleksander Unruh Gardens (now the corner of ul. Wolska and ul. Młynarska).

We know how the send-off went thanks to an account placed in the Kurier Warszawski [Warsaw courier] the next day: ‘a number of the artist’s friends – led by vice-chancellor Elsner – took him to Wola. While saying their goodbyes, the music school students sang “Zrodzony w polskiej kraini” [Born in the land of the Poles]’. Elsner himself composed the cantata to Ludwik Adam Dmuszewski’s lyrics. In his memoirs, he noted that it was ‘performed by his [Chopin’s] fellow composition students from the conservatory at the “Pod Wolą” tavern, where we waited for the mail coach that was to take him away’.

Henryk Nowaczyk notes that the mail coach on which Chopin supposedly travelled was equipped for ten passengers, sat on eight steel springs, and was built according to English designs. The coach got to the Tollhouse around seven in the evening. Chopin boarded and left Warsaw, and soon Poland, forever.

Place Category
Antoni Brzezina’s bookshop Publishers / Bookshops
Antonin Manors / Palaces / Castles
Apartment of Dominik Magnuszewski Flats
Apartment of Stefan Witwicki Flats
Apartment of the family of Alfons Brandt Flats
Augsburg Evangelical Church of the Holy Trinity Churches / Places of worship
Belvedere Appearances
Bielany, Camaldolese monastery Churches / Places of worship
Blue Palace Manors / Palaces / Castles
‘Botanika’ Other
Brochów Churches / Places of worship
Brühl Palace Appearances
Buchholtz’s instrument store Other
Casimir Palace Flats
Chopin Monument in Łazienki Park Other
Czapski (Krasiński) Palace Appearances, Manors / Palaces / Castles
Dal Trozzo bookshop Publishers / Bookshops
Duszniki Zdrój Hotels / Inns
Dziewanowski home Flats
Engraving studio of Fr Izydor Józef Cybulski and Antoni Płachecki Education
Franciszek Klukowski bookshop Publishers / Bookshops
Fryderyk Chopin Museum Other
Fryderyk Skarbek’s apartment Flats
Gdańsk Hotels / Inns
Gładkowskis' apartment Flats
Golub Other
Holy Cross Church Churches / Places of worship
Home of Jan Matuszyński Flats
‘Honoratka’ Coffeehouses
Jabłonowski Palace Manors / Palaces / Castles
Jan Böhm’s townhouse Flats
Kalisz Other
Kikół Manors / Palaces / Castles
Kolbergs' apartment Flats
Kowalewo Manors / Palaces / Castles
Kozłowo Manors / Palaces / Castles
Krakow Other
Ludwik Dmuszewski’s house Flats
Magnus's bookshop Publishers / Bookshops
Marceli Celiński’s apartment Flats
Maurycy Mochnacki’s home Flats
Miss Kicka's Salon in Lubomirski Palace Manors / Palaces / Castles
National Theatre Appearances
Obory Churches / Places of worship
Obrowo Manors / Palaces / Castles
Ojców Other
‘Old’ Merchants' Hall Appearances
Patisserie Lourse Coffeehouses
Pieskowa Skała Other
Płock Other
‘Pod Kopciuszkiem’ and ‘Dziurka’ Coffeehouses
Poturzyn Manors / Palaces / Castles
Powązki Cemeteries
Poznań Other
Presbytery of St Jadwiga (Hedwig) parish church in Milanówek Other
Pruszak Palace Manors / Palaces / Castles
Residence of Józef Reinschmidt’s parents Flats
Rościszewo Manors / Palaces / Castles
Sanniki Manors / Palaces / Castles
Saxon Palace Flats
Saxon Post Office Other
Skating rink Other
Sochaczew Other
Sokołowo Manors / Palaces / Castles
Staszic Palace Manors / Palaces / Castles
Strzyżew Manors / Palaces / Castles
Szafarnia Manors / Palaces / Castles
Toruń Other
Turzno Manors / Palaces / Castles
‘U Brzezińskiej’ Coffeehouses
Ugoszcz Manors / Palaces / Castles
Viceroy's Palace Appearances
Vilnius (Wileński) Hotel Hotels / Inns
Visitandine Church of St Joseph Churches / Places of worship
Waplewo Manors / Palaces / Castles
Warsaw Other
Warsaw Charitable Society Appearances
Warsaw Conservatory Appearances
‘Wiejska Kawa’ Coffeehouses
Wieliczka Other
Wojciech Żywny’s apartment Flats
Wola Tollhouse Other
Wrocław Appearances
Żelazowa Wola Flats
Żychlin Manors / Palaces / Castles