Actively exploring City History
A tour through Waldenbuch's past
22 information boards at various points throughout the historical town centre from the Town Hall to the Museum Ritter tell you all about Waldenbuch's 700-year-history. Set out on your own and experience at first hand how history comes alive. Be our guest, just as Schiller, Goethe and Uhland were in the past.
To complete the tour you'll need around 45 minutes (walking time only). Combine your circular walk with a visit in the two museums, and enjoy the culinary offerings and shopping facilities en route.
Three information boards at the Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus), the bus stop "Post" and the Museum Ritter provide an overview of the entire route. In addition, you'll find more information on the individual stations in the brochure "Actively exploring city history", which is obtainable from the Servicebüro in the Altes Rathaus, the Stadtkasse in the Neues Rathaus, the Museum of Everyday Life in Waldenbuch Castle and the Stadtbücherei (public library) for a token charge of 2 €.
1 Altes Rathaus / Old Town Hall
This building, thought to have been erected in 1575, was formerly the "Gasthaus zum Rappen" ("Black Horse Inn"). Around 1781 it was bought by a bailiff by the name of Klein. The earlier town hall, which was on the marketplace, was later demolished.
The inscription stone above the door is from Lamprecht Schlegg, the forest steward (1562-1583). On 15th June, the Feast Day of St. Vitus, a fair used to be held here.
2 Marktbrunnen / Market Fountain
"In 1728 it was decided to build a new market fountain from good stones to replace the previous defective one," (as recorded in Otto Springer's Waldenbuch Chronicle). The fountain was renewed in 1953.
3 Stammhaus Wider / Seat of the Wider Family
This was built around 1750 by Captain von Mongy as a guesthouse for court hunting parties. In 1754 it was purchased by the merchant Daniel Wider, whose descendants continued to live here until 1923. Among them were Immanuel Wider, the Town Mayor (1838-1870), and Otto Springer (1845-1910), Waldenbuch's chronicler.
4 Dannecker House
Built around 1620, this was the home of the grandparents of the famous sculptor Johann Heinrich Dannecker (1758-1841, bust of Schiller), who would come here to visit them from Stuttgart.
5 Stadtkirche St. Veit / St. Vitus' Parish Church
An earlier church is documented around 1360 as an independent parish church. It is consecrated to St. Vitus. Apparently victims suffering from the disorder known as St. Vitus' Dance pilgrimaged here. A relief of the saint from the previous church can be seen on the east gable to the right of the portal. The extension of the castle from 1562 onwards restricted the space around the original nave, which was on the west side of the tower. A new and larger nave was therefore built in Southwest German Renaissance style (with Gothic elements) on the eastern side of the old tower (1605-1607). The architect was Elias Gunzenhäuser, while the master mason Peter Pfänder from Leonberg was responsible for the construction work. The Renaissance east gable is particularly impressive. The church, which is a protected monument, underwent major renovation in 1988/89.
6 Kirchturm / Church Tower
(15th century) The bottom half of the tower was originally the tower quire of the previous church, which adjoined the tower on the west side. The beams in the wall of the tower have been dated at 1437. In the years 1605-1607 the nave was demolished and reconstructed on the eastern side of the existing tower. When the eastern façade of the castle was extended, the height of the tower was increased to its present 38 metres and it received a new form (surmounted by a Baroque bulbous cupola). The top of the spire contains the oldest bell, the "Schulglocke" (School Bell), c.1300. The five bells in the bell chamber were cast in the years 1458, 1950, 1962 and 2008. The steel bell cage was also replaced in 2008 by one made of oak.
7 Schloss Waldenbuch – Museum der Alltagskultur / Waldenbuch Castle – Museum of Everyday Life
The castle was popular with the dukes of Württemberg as a hunting lodge, particularly with Carl Eugen (1737-1793). The new east wing was commissioned by Duke Christoph (1562-1566) and probably constructed around the older castle, which was documented as early as 1381. The stair tower contains a spiral staircase; the castle well was dug in 1650. The west wing (kitchens) was built in 1687-1690, and the south wing followed in 1717-1719. This entailed the demolition of the old castle. Since 1989 the castle has been home to the Museum of Everyday Life.
Sitz des Waldvogts / Forest Steward's Seat
This was once the head forestry office for Schönbuch (1534-1807). Forest stewards' names include Lamprecht Schlegg, 1562-1583 (s. No. 1), Oseas Knapp from Reutlingen, 1615-1626, his son Thomas Knapp, 1626-1674, and von Röder, 1750-1792. From 1883-1975 this once again became the seat of a forestry office. At the last royal hunt, on 6.11.1812, the bag comprised 233 wild boar, 297 stags and 211 deer.
Inscription over the Castle Portal
"In the year 1687, on 4th June, Friedrich Karl, Duke of Württemberg, administrator and guardian of the young Prince Eberhard Ludwig, in this, the first hunting lodge in Württemberg, and nearest of all to the ducal residence, had it arched in order to increase its spaciousness and extend it by a second floor, adding another storey with seventeen rooms, thus making it higher and more comfortable for the annual diversion, and also felicitously completed this work at the end of the year."
8 Pfarrscheuer / Parish Barn
This was used to store the fruit and garden produce which parishioners had to give the parish priest as a small tithe. The seigneurial barn for the great tithes is located in Neuer Weg outside the city wall. (s. No. 16).
9 Altes Pfarrhaus / Old Parsonage
The first parsonage, under whose pillars pilgrims suffering from St. Vitus' Dance once gathered, was torn down in 1560 at the instigation of the reformer Johannes Brenz. Today's building dates from 1720 and was significantly upgraded in 1786 and 1834. In 1970 it was superseded by a new community centre and vicarage (in what used to be the castle and parsonage gardens). Since 1990 the building, now a protected monument, has been home to the municipal School of Music.
10 Gasthaus Krone / Crown Inn
The Landenberger family's bakers' crest dates from 1705. The building has been owned by the Kielmeyer family since 1761 (along with the "Lamm" and "Linde" inns). The "Krone" was a popular drinking place with the students of Hohenheim and Tübingen universities. A table top with several names carved into it still survives.
11 "Unteres Tor" / "Lower Gate"
Here, between the Schafhof (s. No. 12) and the road "Unter der Mauer" was the site of the "Lower Gate".
12 Schafhof / Sheep Yard
Many places had seigneurial sheep farms. Sheep husbandry provided a supply of wool, an important commodity.
13 Stadtmauer / City Wall
Waldenbuch already had town rights in 1363 when it passed into the possession of Württemberg. It is not known when the town was founded (probably by the Counts of Hohenberg). A protective city wall was one of the privileges of a town – along with its own court and market rights. The town was like a great castle (Burg), hence the German word "Bürger" (burgher). Most of the section of wall along the road "Unter der Mauer” still survives.
14 Kleines "Törlin" / Little Gateway
This is already mentioned in the property register of 1524. It served as an escape route out of the castle by means of an underground stairway.
15 Stadtmühle / Municipal Mill
Built as a grinding mill in 1785 by the oil miller Rudolf Haab, this later came into the possession of the Kielmeyer family.
16 Alte Zehntscheuer / Old Tithe Barn
In 1575 the ecclesiastical administrator of the Holy Cross Monastery in Stuttgart had this tithe barn built on a piece of land belonging to the local parish. Originally constructed with a more or less square ground plan, the core of the agricultural building has remained unaltered. It was entered through a large, round-arched barn door on the eastern side. The building served as a store for that portion of Waldenbuch's great (corn) tithes to which the Stuttgart monastery was entitled. In 1745 the barn was extended to the south by another threshing floor, giving it a second entrance and its present rectangular form. Today's half-timbered gable on the north side was built in 1755.
17 Altes Backhaus / Old Bakehouse
This was built in 1847 as a public bake- and wash house. The upper storey contained a schoolroom. The "bakery", which at times was supervised by a proper baker, was an important institution for the self-supporting townspeople, most of whom owned fields.
18 Altes Bauernhaus / Old Farmhouse
This historical half-timbered structure was built in 1585. It used to belong to the Necker and Ebinger families. Today it contains a restaurant.
The "Stag House" was once the property of the burgher Eberlin Kayser and was built in 1524 between the castle and the Upper Gate. Up until 1807 there used to be a deer enclosure between the Forestry Office and the city moat.
20 "Oberes Tor" / "Upper Gate"
This was formerly the site of the "Upper Gate", one of Waldenbuch's city gateways. From 1451 onwards it was also known as the "Wyler Tor”, because from here the road led to the town of Weil im Schönbuch.
21 Ehemaliger Gasthof Post / Former Post Inn
This is the site of the old post house on "Schweizer Straße”, the road from Stuttgart to Tübingen. In 1797 Kielmeyer rebuilt the house. Famous guests here include: Schiller (1793), Goethe (1797), Archduke Karl, commander of the Austrian army against Napoleon (1799), and Uhland. In 1984 the building was restored and extended by the Golze family.
22 Museum Ritter
The Museum Ritter was built in 2005 to house the art collection of Marli Hoppe-Ritter, co-owner of the Ritter Sport chocolate company. It presents alternating shows from the collection as well as special exhibitions on the theme of the Square in 20th- and 21st-century art. The building, which was designed by the Swiss architect Max Dudler, consists of two wings with a connecting passageway. One wing is devoted to art, while the other contains the Ritter Sport ChocoShop with the ChocoExhibition and the ChocoWorkshop.