Destroyed in two hours, rebuilt in ten months: the history of the bad wildbad sawmill

Broken concrete parts at bus loop in Schomberg must be renewed

Part of the main road at the end of Engelsbrand completely closed off

Bad Wildbad. A major fire had destroyed the site where the spa gardens end today on Kernerstrabe on 18. May 1938 the Windhof sawmill was reduced to rubble in just under two hours. The river Grobe Enz had driven it at this place for more than 400 years.

Barely ten months later, the "Enztaler" reported that in a four-page special supplement of "February/March 1939" with the title, "The new Lautenhof sawmill driver& Bossert, Wildbad", about the reconstruction at a new location, where it was in operation until about 40 years ago.

In the special supplement it says:

"The dredged material was used by means of a sensibly designed roller conveyor system with diesel locomotives to fill the newly constructed main access road and as a protective dam on both sides of the artificially constructed upper canal. It was a pleasure to have a look at this shunting operation on a small scale."

The excavation work for the building pit, canal and rough grading lasted four weeks. Pioneers from Neu-Ulm, who arrived with the appropriate equipment and explosives, helped to remove the rocks.

Craftsmen from all over the city concentrate on Nebau

The 41-meter-long and 14-meter-wide sawmill building is bright and spacious, writes the reporter. "You can, as the sawyer likes to say, handle the thickest and longest ‘things,’ which is an advantage in the whole working process", he further states. Next to the saw hall were the "saw grinding chamber and the followers’ room".

The latter is also described as a meeting place where "on rainy days or during the winter, men on leave from work like to get together" gave. Obviously, the tradesmen from all over the city and the surrounding area concentrated on the new construction object.

In the advertising section of the supplement, four carpentry firms alone – Albert Prob, Louis Kuch, Robert Maier and Karl Schluter – are represented with advertisements. Master builder Richard Schill from Wildbad – who, according to the editorial text, was also responsible for construction management – advertises construction consulting and planning, while Wilhelm Schill identifies himself as a building construction and civil engineering company. Karl Wendel offers: "Expert execution of all tinsmith and installation work". installation work".

Older Wildbaders may still remember names like glazier Robert Vollmer, locksmith Eugen Lipps, master painter Karl Batt or carpenter Karl Gunthner. Hermann Brachhold advertised as a carpenter’s and furniture maker’s workshop. Obviously, the "Philippp Electrical and Broadcasting House" – which, like almost all the companies mentioned, has long since disappeared – was used for laying cables from Wildbad. For all kinds of "gas and electricity equipment advertised the "Stadt. Wildbad Works".

An old sawyer tells

"An old sawmiller tells", Christian Kallfass is one of the oldest living sawmillers in the Enz valley and has been working in the Windhof sawmill for 55 years."

The Treiber sawmill – as the Windhof sawmill was also called – brings back many memories for the vital 70-year-old, who is still at work. Corinna and Peter Aschauer, interested in the history of Wildbad, know that the interviewee was a great uncle of the woman. He still experienced the time of the wood rafting, in which occasionally rafters and sawyers were not green to each other, as he related.


This photo from the collection of Corinna and Peter Aschauer shows workers at the Windhof sawmill circa 1928 who lost their traditional jobs ten years later. Photo: Digital archive: Schabert

In times of water scarcity, it was often said: "Christian look for water"." He had then had to go to the weir to check that no unauthorized or, to play a prank, disgruntled rafters had pulled up the weir board.

Because often the boss did not let them pull up for an announced raft, which had led to return carriages by the later grumbling on the water past the sawmill. In the supplement, Kallfass also reports on the large water wheel that transmitted the power of the Enz River to the sawmill at the Windhof until 1889.

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