Renovation of Town Centre
Between 1600 and 1800 in and around the historical town centre, many Frankonian half-timbered houses were built and dominated the sight of the narrow alleys and corners of the place, conveying an atmospgere of harmony and safety.
But as early as 1800 another concept was introduced. The territorial lords perceived the half-timbered buildings as something peasant and rural and therefore instructed to render the houses. Some half-timbered houses were still built during that time, but most were buffed immediately.
In Herrstein, buffing houses began after the 20th century started. Most of the houses had neoclassicist frontages, the ornaments had partly been removed for buffing.
After World War II the historical buildings were covered with cement and synthetic rendering or with eternit panels. That's why Herrstein does not differ much from the other villages in the area.
Many of the houseowners were willing to pay the expensive restorations, but sadly there weren't any resources on hand for historic preservation, so the negative development continued.
When after the oil crisis in 1973 the depression set in, for the first time there was the chance to support houseowners with the restoration of the buildings. The employment agency provided within the scope of ABM some workers, who were capable of conducting the restorations. Because of the omission of labour costs, which would have made up about two thirds of all costs, the sanctions for the houseowners became fundable, because they only had to pay material expenses.
The restoration started with the house Hermann Weber next to the clock tower. The residents were in astonishment as they saw the beautiful frontage that had been covered by an unattractive rendering for decades.
Some problems about the restoration method and the search for suitable coulouring materials could soon be solved. Further houseowners were (at first hesitantly) showing their interest. Lots of long talks of clarification were needed to convince them.
Again and again it could observed that the initial hesitation was quickly overcome as soon as the front was uncovered and the beauty of the half-timbered houses was seen. As the restorations proceeded, the historical town's centre undertook its former function as the heart of the village. It attracts more and more people, especially tourists and foreign visitors, but also artists.
The residents got a whole new sense of life. They don't live in old houses anymore, but in houses that have a value no modern building could ever achieve.
Small forged plates on the house fronts explain the history and the meaning of individual historical buildings.
This was also expanded onto the restored half-timbered houses. Furthermore, there are seats, adjusted to the style of the house, which can be found in different romantic corners. They are gathering places for locals and visitors.
The goal of all these efforts is to create a village that invites people to take a rest from every day stress in an idyllic and comfortable atmosphere.
In 1983, Herrstein was given a diploma from the EUROPA NOSTRA, an international association of unions to protect cultural and natural heritage in Europe. On March 17th 1988 Herrstein got the DIPLOMA OF MERIT from the European Union and the Council of Europe for the „excellent restoration of a municipality of big historical importance, that is almost an ideal image of the past“.
All inhabitants of our beautiful village are very proud of these awards...