Historic industrial culture

In the mid-19th century, Homburg v.d.Höhe was not just an aspiring spa town; it also developed a business and industrial sector that strengthened the financial power of the town. Initially, the manufacturing industry was largely located in the town center. Not until 1919 was a dedicated industrial zone developed –today's Gewerbepark Mitte.

Some witnesses to the historic industrial culture have been preserved, other companies continued their traditions in modern buildings, others still are remembered through names of streets, squares or bridges.

As part of the "Rhine-Main Industrial Culture Route", Bad Homburg offers its own local guide featuring 22 properties. Here is a selection.

Station complex

When Homburg was linked into the international rail network in the second half of the 19th century and, not least, the central station was completed in 1907, it allowed the manufacturing industry to expand its distribution network and to sell its merchandise more quickly. The reception building in neo-Renaissance style, which is due for restoration and modification soon, the neighboring Fürstenbahnhof – the station built for Emperor Wilhelm II, and his family and guests – and the water tower on the other side, where the steam engines obtained the water they needed to run, all constitute one architectural unit. South of the tracks are the freight station and the engine shed, which is one of the best preserved from this era. The renovation and utilization plans for these two buildings have not yet been finalized.

Möckel hat factory

It is here, in this former hat factory at Dorotheenstrasse 8, that the famous Homburg hat was created! The original idea in 1882 came from the Prince of Wales, who was later to become King Edward VII of England. He frequently came to take the waters in Homburg. As a "fashion trend setter" he desperately wanted a soft felt hat with rolled brim. Just a short while later, the Möckel hat factory, which had been founded back in 1806 and had expanded several times, was awarded the accolade "Purveyor to the Court of His Majesty the King of England".

Electricity plant

The steam power plant built by Frankfurt-based Lahmeyer in 1897 at Wallstrasse 26 initially supplied electrical energy for the small railway link between Alter Bahnhof (the old station which no longer exists) and Dornholzhausen, and later to the Saalburg. The electricity plant was extended when Kirdorf and Dornholzhausen – which were still independent villages at the time – also decided they wanted electricity shortly thereafter. Nowadays, the former electricity plant is a youth cultural center.

Melita vinegar factory

Between 1853 and 2010, vinegar was produced in the buildings at Kaiser-Friedrich-Promenade 12 and stored in the extensive domed cellars. Towards the end, twelve types of vinegar – some five million liters in total – were produced. Until 1968, the product range also included Reichs Post Bitter, different types of mustard, and brandies and sparkling wines.

Brewery tower

The tower at Castillostrasse 1 rises like a medieval fortress. It is the relict of a brewery where good Bad Homburg beer was brewed from 1840 onwards. The last name of the brewery, which existed until 1918, was "Actien-Brauerei Homburg v.d.H. vorm. A. Messerschmidt".

Zwieback factories

Neighboring town Friedrichsdorf was not the only widely known source of zwieback – it was also produced in the spa town of Homburg. The double-baked, dry rusks formed part of the "Homburg diet", for example. The two production facilities – one operated by Pauly at Bachstrasse 15-17, and one by Adolf Schwab at Gluckensteinweg 4 – were built around the turn of the 20th century. The factories closed down around the mid-1960s.

Packaging factory

The brick chimney on the building at Tannenwaldweg 6 still bears witness to the fact that this was once a production site. Packaging was manufactured in the former fulling mill, built in 1808, which later became a cardboard mill. From 1990 onwards, the complex was converted into apartments and also houses a gallery of the Artlantis art association.

Residential developments

As industry moved in, a need for homes for the workers arose in the 1920s. The then planning commissioner Dr. Ludwig Lipp designed two complexes consisting of multi-family homes with arches, and gardens, laundry and play areas in the inner courtyards, which still exist: "Lippstadt" between Gluckensteinweg and Kronberger Strasse, which is named after him, and the "Weber-Siedlung", which is named after spa physician Dr. Carl Weber, who died in 1922 and whose foundation financed part of the construction of the buildings, some of which have meanwhile been refurbished.

Villa Teves

In 1936, the founder of "Alfred Teves Maschinen- und Armaturenfabrik" in Frankfurt relocated his residence to Tannenwaldallee 6. He bought the land from Prince Adalbert von Preussen, a son of Emperor Wilhelm II, and built this villa on it. Since the end of the war it has been used by various companies.

The Reimers' villas

Werner Reimers, who founded the company P.I.V. in 1928, whose products include continuously variable transmissions, commissioned the construction of a stately villa in the midst of a spacious park at Herderstrasse number 6 shortly before the war broke out. The magnificent house was confiscated by the Americans between 1945 and 1953, and used to accommodate the highest echelons of the military, including the General who was later to become US President Eisenhower.

Since he couldn't live in his own home, Werner Reimers built a second villa, in the neighboring park Am Wingertsberg 4. The elegant premises later became the home of the Werner Reimers-Stiftung. Meanwhile, the foundation has turned the building and a new extension into the Human Science Research College, in collaboration with Frankfurt's Goethe University.