History

The small village at the foot of the Taunus mountains and the Hohenburg (high tower), which was built around 1170 during the reign of Barbarossa, first flourished as a business center in the middle ages – making cloth that traders sold to the Hanseatic cities in the north, and to the Alsace region. Homburg was given market rights as early as around 1330.

Following the Thirty Years' War, the foundation of the noble house of the Hessen-Homburg Landgraves in 1622 triggered a second upswing, which was particularly fostered by Friedrich II, whom Heinrich von Kleist immortalized as his "Prince of Homburg". The Prince was an absolute ruler who not only built the baroque castle in 1680 to replace the fort; he also designed the "New Town" with Louisenstrasse as its central axis. He granted tax and other benefits to craftsmen and traders who settled here. These included Huguenot and Waldensian refugees.

Although his successors were mostly strapped for cash, one of them – Friedrich V Ludwig (1751-1820) – ensured that Homburg made its mark on Germany's intellectual history and on the art of landscaping. He played host to Goethe and Hegel, corresponded with Klopstock, Lavater and Voltaire, and he approved the appointment of Hölderlin as Court Librarian. Together with his wife Caroline, he started designing the Landgraves' Garden Landscape along Tannenwaldallee. The park landscape was further enhanced by his son, Friedrich VI Joseph and his wife Elizabeth, a member of the British royal family.

When the Landgraves discovered a mineral spring in 1809, they hoped to have finally found a fountain of wealth, but were initially disappointed. The town's progress as a spa got off to only a very modest start. It was not until two events occurred that changed the course of things: In 1834, the Elisabeth spring (Elisabethenquelle) was rediscovered and its quality deemed to be outstanding by Justus von Liebig, and in 1841, the rulers of Homburg allowed the French Blanc brothers to operate a casino on condition that the Blancs expanded the spa facilities.

This proved to be an excellent deal. Homburg evolved into one of the leading spa centers: A magnificent Kurhaus was built, landscaping expert Peter Joseph Lenné designed the Kurpark, new mineral springs were put into service, and hotels and B&Bs opened. Very soon, guests were coming from all over the world to take the waters. Especially when the Landgraviate became Prussian territory in 1866. The Imperial family loved Homburg and set up their summer residence at the Castle. They were followed by relatives, friends and acquaintances from the upper echelons of nobility: The Prince of Wales, for example, who was later to become Kind Edward VII of England and who invented the Homburg hat, or Czar Nicholas who laid the foundation stone for the Russian All Hallows Church, or King Chulalongkorn of Siam, who donated the Thai-Sala. From 1912 onwards, the town was officially declared a spa town and permitted to adopt the prefix "Bad", becoming Bad Homburg vor der Höhe.

World War I marked a turning point. Bad Homburg started to base its success on two pillars: the spa facilities that were recognized by the social insurance system, and as a consistently growing center of business.

The town archives in Gothic House offer a comprehensive selection of literature and source material for anyone who is interested in the history of Bad Homburg.

Stadtarchiv Bad Homburg v.d.Höhe
Tannenwaldweg 102
61350 Bad Homburg v. d. Höhe
Tel.: +49 (6172) 37882
Fax: +49 (6172) 935801

www.bad-homburg.de
Opening hours
dienstags 9.00 - 16.00 Uhr,
mittwochs 14.00 - 19.00 Uhr
freitags 9.00 - 12.00 Uhr