Stäffele (Steps) Tour
1,000 steps and 22 stairways
Post Office – Old town centre – Panoramaweg – Sonnenhang – Post Office
Owing to its topography, Waldenbuch has no fewer than 54 public stairways with around 1,778 steps in all. Many of them can be accessed using the following route description, helping you to get to know our town better. The complete tour takes c. 1.5 hours.
We start off in Waldenbuch at the "Postamt" bus stop in Stuttgarter Straße, then bear left for a short way and go down between the buildings of the post office and the car dealer for a short distance to a wooden bridge over the Aich, leading into the road named Auf dem Graben. Directly opposite, a sign saying "Museum der Alltagskultur, Schloss Waldenbuch" (Museum of Everyday Life, Waldenburg Castle) points to some steps leading upwards, which will take you to the castle hill. When you reach the top, you'll see in front of you the rear of St. Vitus' Protestant Church (St. Veit), dating from the year 1607 and last renovated in 1989. On the far right stands the castle – it's worth taking a look through the gateway into the courtyard. It was popular as a hunting lodge with the dukes of Württemberg, particularly with Duke Carl Eugen (1737 - 1793). The castle well dates back to 1650. Since 1989 the castle has been home to the Museum of Everyday Life, which is definitely not to be missed.
The little bronze statue on the right, depicting a boy playing a tuba, denotes the School of Music, which is located in the former parsonage. Today's structure was built in 1720, and was extensively refurbished in 1786 and 1834 and renovated in 1990. We go left past the School of Music, always following the row of houses along Kirchgasse. The following stairway leads down to Vordere Seestraße, where we turn right and up Marktstraße. En route we pass the attractive, half-timbered Schafhof, where sheep used to be kept. Seigneurial sheep farms were found in many places, as sheep husbandry provided wool, an important commodity. On the right, Marktstraße is joined by Danneckerstraße, named after Johann Heinrich Dannecker (1758 - 1841), a Swabian sculptor. His grandparents used to live here at No. 1. We follow it for about 20 metres, where we find the steps leading up to the New Town Hall. Opposite it stands the Old Town Hall, which we pass on our right, before going down the steps on the left next to the façade of the adjacent house. We find ourselves back on Marktstraße, which we follow to the left.
As we proceed, the beautiful Marketplace opens up on our left with the Old Town Hall, which is thought to have been built in 1575. This was originally the Gasthaus zum Rappen ("Black Horse Inn"). St. Vitus' Protestant Church and the castle can be seen in the background. The Market Fountain in Rococo style dates from 1728 and was renewed in 1953. The corner building on the right is the Stammhaus Wider (seat of the Wider family). It was erected in 1750 by Mongy as a guest house for court hunting parties and purchased by the merchant Daniel Wider in 1754. Among his descendants, who continued to live here up to 1923, was Immanuel Wider, Mayor of Waldenbuch from 1838 –1870. We turn right (at the streetlamp) down a narrow stairway, which leads directly into the road Unter der Mauer. Halfway down is a landing, to the right of which is the entrance to the clubrooms of the Swabian Alb Association. When you reach the bottom, it's worth taking a look at the Old Bakehouse on your right. As the information plaque tells us, it was built in 1847 as a public bake- and wash house.
We now turn left, past the Stadtmühle (town mill), which was documented as a grain mill as early as 1785. A water channel still passes through the mill today. We follow the course of the old city wall. Most of the section along the road "Unter der Mauer" still survives in fairly good condition. The "kleines Törlin" ("Little Gateway"), where there used to be a secret passageway leading to the castle, is already documented in the 1524 property register and served as an escape route from the castle via an underground stairway (no longer accessible). We bear left, slightly uphill, where steps lead downwards on the right, after the house No. 1, to Vordere Seestraße. We continue along this to the left, first noting the "Sonnenhof" residential complex for the elderly, which can be seen on the opposite right-hand corner.
We pass the house No. 35 in Marktstraße, where the lintel over the entrance door is dated 1892. Now we cross the wooden bridge over the Aich and find ourselves under a group of magnificent chestnut trees, which are protected under a preservation order. Some way to the left is the "Gänslieselbrunnen" ("Goosegirl Fountain"), one of fourteen fountains that enhance the cityscape. We proceed, bearing slightly right, and cross the busy thoroughfare of Nürtinger Straße at the traffic lights. The following flight of stairs is the longest in Waldenbuch, with 235 steps leading upwards to the Lange Steige and, immediately half-left, still further up to Panoramaweg. We are now in the district of Kalkofen. In front of us is the Oskar-Schwenk-Schule, with a primary and two secondary schools (up to 10th grade). We continue along Schulstraße and then join Pestalozziweg for a short way, past the kindergarten. Then we go between the houses along Jahnstraße, past the buildings Nos. 10-6 and opposite them uphill again to the shopping centre comprising a supermarket, several shops and the public library. On reaching the square we turn right and then go downhill at the bank to reach Liebenaustraße and the big car park.
We bear right along Pestalozziweg, past the indoor swimming pool, its chimney visible from afar, and reach the turning bay in Beethovenstraße, which we follow to the left into Mozartstraße. After about 90 metres there's a small green area, where we head downhill, going round the left of the playground to reach Panoramaweg. This lovely panoramic road lives up to its name, and we follow it to the right. It continues half-right into Oskar-Schwenk-Straße (Oskar Schwenk, 1892 - 1963, industrialist and freeman of the city, patron of Waldenbuch's school centre). You're sure to recognise this spot, because you arrived here earlier from the left on your way up from the town. We follow it as far as the junction of Forststraße. We see a little playground on the left, immediately after which steps lead downwards, back to Panoramaweg. On the right you see the New Apostolic Church. More steps take us down Echterdinger Straße, which we cross, heading downhill. We arrive at a large advertising clock, pass it on the right and immediately cross Stuttgarter Straße. Over the door of house No. 25 is another fine lintel dating from 1874. Between the buildings Nos. 23 and 25 a stairway takes us down to Steinenbergweg. Here we turn left and continue uphill, round the bend to the right and on as far as the cemetery car park. We cross it and turn left into the old part of the cemetery, walking through the avenue of birch trees to arrive at the cross, a memorial for those killed or missing in action in World War II (1939 – 1945). From here there's a lovely view over Waldenbuch and Schönbuch. On the right, following the cemetery wall, we see a covered way which we now head for, passing on the way the grave of the industrialist Alfred Ritter (1914 - 1974), another freeman of the city.
We leave the cemetery on this path, down towards to the road named Schönblick, and half-right find steps leading down into the road Am Sonnenhang, continuing into Alter Weg, which was formerly the main road to Schönaich. Across the narrow road more steps lead downwards, back to Stuttgarter Straße and our point of departure. When you have completed your circular tour, you'll have mastered more than 1,000 steps and 22 stairways.