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History of the Wiesenmühle

In the past, there were numerous mills along the Fulda river, and the Wiesenmühle being one of them was used as a flour mill until the 1950’s. Therewith the Wiesenmühle was the last preserved mill in close proximity of the Fulda historic city center. Today, the mill is considered to be a cultural monument of important historic value.

The primary building-owners: the Benedictine monastery

The mill was built by the inhabitants of the Benedictine monastery. The people chosen to work the mill were obligated to pay certain dues and perform services for the monastery.

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First documented reference in 1337

The Wiesenmühle was mentioned for the first time in 1337, in a document of prince-Abbot Heinrich VI von Hohenberg. This document states „molendo situ Slagmule apud Wisemule propre monasterium fuldensis“.

Up until the middle of the 18th century, the Wiesenmühle was operated by feudal tenants and was property of the monastery in Fulda.

According to an old description of the property, dating back to 1676, the ‚weissmühl’ consisted of a residential building with a milling plant, four undershot grinding stones and a cutting gear a hammer- and a walk-mill. In addition to that, a barn, several pigsty and stables were mentioned.
Furthermore, extensive meadows on the banks of the Fulda river and three herb beds were part of the estate.

At the Wiesenmühle, not only grains were ground, but also wood was fitted, oil tamped and fabrics were turned into a type of loden cloths. Farming was also part of the activities. Cog-wheels and gear belts ran through the entire building; from the first floor all the way up to the attic.

Back then, the Wiesenmühle and its millers were of great importance to society’s social and political life. During several centuries, they were responsible for providing the people with the staple food bread.

Miller handicraft provided, but also required, a great deal of independence, because the millers had to be able to calculate and write, they had to be experienced in administrative tasks, as well as other business activities. Besides all that, they also had to carry out several handcrafts (like forging, timber and sharpening the mill stones) to keep the mill operating.

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Wiesenmühle as toponym for family names in Fulda

Names from Fulda like Wysmüller, Wiesenmüller or Weißmüller point into the direction of the Wiesenmühle. During the 15th century, the Wysmüller family was first connected to the Wiesenmühle. At that time, this family also had important positions in the city council.

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Original design of the mill destroyed by fire in 1803

In 1803 the Wiesenmühle burnt down and was rebuilt in its present form. After the blazing fire, grease residue started to burn. As a result of drawbacks at the city council and the fire brigade, the fire at the mill couldn’t be extinguished: the key of the fire fighting equipment was lost, only 50 of 500 water buckets were intact and the home of the tower guard was sublet to a certain “brick layer from the Schleifergasse” so the fire couldn’t be reported in time.

This incredible sloppiness had juridical consequences and ended in the punishment and reprimanding of the people involved. After the fire occurred, the entire fire department was reorganized.

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Turbine construction from 1929 onwards

The mill wheels were replaced by a turbine construction in 1929. This turbine construction produced electricity for the electric motors, which in turn operated the grinders. The fountain that is nowadays located at the entrance of the building, consists of parts of the old turbine.

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The last female mill operator

After several ownership changes, Daman Mans became the owner of the Wiesenmühle in 1921. In 1953 he left the property to his daughter Maria Mans, who was a master miller. She was the last person to practise the handicraft at the mill.

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The road to the present owners

In 1980 the city Fulda bought the Wiesenmühle property for half a million Deutsche Mark. . Because it was decided to preserve the building instead of tearing it down, an emergency securing was carried out at the end of 1985 and private potential buyers were sought. Because of the poor condition of the building, the price was reduced to 110.000 Deutsche Mark.

In 1988, architect Wilfried Renner developed the present concept for the Wiesenmühle as a brewery and guesthouse with hotel, restaurant, conference rooms and beer garden. Eventually, Wilfried Renner and his partner Willi Heurich received the contract to renovate the Wiesenmühle. The former mayor Dr. Hamberger had mentioned 33 prospective buyers.

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Opening of the guesthouse brewery with hotel and conference rooms

The Wiesenmühle was re-opened as a guesthouse brewery with hotel and conference rooms in 1990 and has been an integral part of life in Fulda.

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The present mill wheel

The Zuppinger water wheel with a diameter of 6,90 meters was installed in 1990 and supplies the Wiesenmühle with electricity through the use of a generator. The water wheel is 6,50 meters wide, weighs 55 tons and has 44 paddles.

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