December 3, 1878

The Alsfeld town hall 1874 (photo by Ludwig Bickell)

1878The town hall is to be demolished!

In the 19th century, Alsfeld’s town hall was in a poor state of repair. The turrets were dilapidated and had been dismantled, the arcades on the first floor were walled up, parts of the façade were covered in slate and the roof was leaking. In view of these problems, on December 3, 1878, the town council made a snap decision to demolish the town hall.

However, this met with resistance from district councillor Robert Hoffmann, who refused to approve the city council’s decision. The town then turned to the district committee, which also voted in favor of the demolition. However, this decision was also overturned by the county council, which appealed to the next higher authority, the Provincial Committee, which opposed the demolition. It is important to emphasize that Alsfeld belonged to the Grand Duchy of Hesse at this time and democratic structures were only in their infancy.

The restoration required financial resources that the town did not want to raise. District councillor Hoffmann therefore took care of the financing, partly out of his own pocket. A specially founded citizens’ initiative called “Comitees” also provided support. In 1880, Hoffmann succeeded in winning over Grand Duke Ludwig as a sponsor, whereupon the necessary funds flowed in.

Despite some successes, the road to renovating the town’s landmark was long and rocky. It was not until 1912 that the restoration work on Alsfeld’s town hall was completed. (JP)