When the revolution 175 years ago is commemorated next year, the Hornau district of Kelkheim can be sure of increased attention. No other place is so closely linked to the work of those from Gagern. They have long been part of the local identity, despite the rather coincidental relationship thanks to the acquisition of a large estate by the Nassau diplomat Hans Christoph von Gagern in 1818. To be precise, it took a while before the baronial rank was symbolically and publicly corresponded to. It would probably no longer be permitted today to give up the property sold in 1866 after changing uses, for example as a “spa house”, which was demolished in 1907, and to sell the property as a plot. In the end, only the servants’ wing, which was later rededicated as a vicarage, remained. At least the buffalo horns that Friedrich von Gagern received as a gift in 1845 as a military inspector in the Dutch service on Java are still hanging on the outside.
A “Gagernweg” through Hornau knows this, which connects authentic sites, such as the graves of 22 members of the Gagerns in the mountain cemetery, with memorial sites such as twelve granite boulders in a small complex. For the 150th anniversary of the National Assembly created the city Kelkheim Here is a special memorial for the entire Gagern family – father Hans Christoph and his wife Charlotte and their ten children. The fact that some stones are larger is intended to emphasize the importance of three of the offspring: In addition to Maximilian, 1848/49 Undersecretary of State in the Reich Foreign Ministry and later Austrian diplomat, and Friedrich, who died as a general in April 1848 against the Hecker rebels, this naturally means Heinrich, President of the Frankfurter parliament.
Comparatively young is also a visible memory of the legendary “Staufen oath” of the three when walking together on Kelkheim’s local mountain, the 450 meter high Staufen. Since the fall of 1838 was only vaguely recorded in her memoirs, a bronze plate was attached 15 years ago to mark October 3rd. The inscription confirms the brothers’ solemn pledge to “loyally support one another and to dedicate their strength to the unity and freedom of Germany”.
The location of her promise will have contributed to the solemn atmosphere. They were standing on the Großer Mannstein, a group of rocks just below the summit, whose grandiose view over the Taunus hills, lined with castles, to the top of the Frankfurt cathedral overwhelms even less heroic natures.
The Taunusbahn, which runs to Königstein, also stops in Kelkheim-Hornau. From the stop it is only a few minutes’ walk to the town center through the street Auf der Herrenmauer, at the exit briefly turn right and left into Rotlintallee. There, at the cinema, there are parking facilities as well as in the Gagernring near the train station. Towards the end of the avenue are the Neue Martinskirche on the left and the twelve granite stones on the right.
The (deconsecrated) Old Martin’s Church can be seen after turning right into Hornauer Straße at the parish center. With a view of the Staufen, continue down this street to the mountain cemetery. For the continuation we keep to the right beforehand along the path along the fence, seamlessly changing into open terrain. The grassy trail meanders through fruit trees and dense shrubbery and exits at a sports park. Behind the hall on the right, the neo-Romanesque tower of a former Franciscan monastery shows the way. Opposite the parking lot it goes half left again in dense growth. Soon open to the meadow, a slight left turn ends at a roundabout. Here you have to turn right into Frankenallee, past the old cemetery and below left into Breslauer Straße.
After just 100 meters, a sign points to the Sindlinger Wiesen on the right, with Hirschberger Straße narrowing to the passage. He lets us off at one of the wooden bridges that were built in 2016 as part of the renaturation of the Liederbach. We accompany the body of water provided with basalt stones to the third bridge for the change to Beuthener Straße.