St. Wendel, Germany: A Timeline
1st century A.D.
In the center of the current suburb of Alsfassen, a Roman country house is built. People reside here until 4th Century. Then it is abandoned. In the 10th century its remains are used to bury the dead.
About 600: Historic Wendelin is said to have lived here.
634: Through the last will of Adalgisel called "Grimo", a Merowingian noble, nearby Tholey is given into the hands of the bishop of Verdun. Later the hamlet Basonisvillare is bought (by whomever) and donated to Verdun (which belongs to the Diocese of Metz).
7th until 9th centuries: The worship of Wendelin begins and increases to super-regional size. Pilgrims visit his grave at a local church.
10th to 13th centuries: A result of the pilgrimage and worship is a change of names: Basonisvillare becomes St. Wendel.
1318: The Chapel of St. Magdalena ("Magdalenenkapelle"), St. Wendel?s oldest existing building, is erected.
1328: St. Wendel belongs to the Duke of Saarbrücken and the Lords of Kirkel. Balduin of Luxemburg, Archbishop of Trier and Prince-Elector, purchases the village of St. Wendel and surroundings. Our diocese still is Metz.
1332: The "Sammelprivileg", granted by Emperor Ludwig IV, permits Balduin to apply the laws of the town of the Town of Frankfurt to St. Wendel and 28 other villages. This document does not make St. Wendel a town, but it is now on its way to becoming a town.
About 1340: Balduin orders the alteration of the (most probably Romanic) local church to the recent Gothic church. First the chancel is erected east of the old Romanic nave. Then the steeples are replaced. Third phase is the demolition of the old and building of the new nave.
1388: The town wall with its towers and gates are erected. The Electorate of Trier invents a new tax to finance it - a wine tax, the "Ungeld".
1441: The Brothership of St. Sebastian, a citizens? association that collects money to support citizens in distress, is founded. It still exists and does its work.
1446-1464: Nikolaus of Cues ("Cusanus") owner of the parish.
1455: Noble Johann von Oppenheim and his wife Trine donate their house and money to establish a house for the poor, called the "Hospital".
1461: St. Wendelin Parish is transferred to the Diocese of Trier to which it still belongs.
1463-1464: Cusanus organizes the painting of the "Wappenmalerei" under the ceiling of the parish church - it is his legacy to the town.
1512: German Emperor Maximilian visits the grave of St. Wendelin.
16th century: Big fires destroy the medieval town of St. Wendel.
17th century: The 30-Year-War doesn't harm the buildings of the town, but ruins its economy. It doesn?t really end before 1700.
1674: French marchal Turenne orders the walls of the town to be blown up.
1677: Turenne's sucessor, Comte de Bussy, a French noble, orders the town to be burned into ashes. No mercy for the citizens: they have to tear down the burned out ruins to the ground. To be spared are the church, the chapel of St. Magdalena and the house of the mayor (today: restaurant "Canape"). The castle between Schloßstraße and Mott is demolished as well.
1680: St. Wendel becomes French territory ("Reunionen"). The bishop of Metz transfers St. Wendel into his diocese. Slowly but surely the reconstruction of the town begins.
1697: As a result of the Treaty of Ryswick, St. Wendel returns to Kurtier.
1710: One of the town?s most striking houses, the " Bruchsches Haus" at the corner of Schloßstraße and Fruchtmarkt, is erected by an Italian merchant named Vacano.
1742: Franz Ernst von Hame, bailiff and mayor of St. Wendel, sees to the building of the recent Mayor's hall near his private home (?Canape?)
1776: On August 16, the musican and composer Philipp Jakob Riotte is born in St. Wendel. He dies in 1856 in Vienna, Austria.
1794: The geologist, teacher and historian Johann Steininger is born in a house at the Fruchtmarkt (currently ?Angel's? hotel). He becomes the teacher of Karl Marx in Trier, a researcher, and namer of a type of rock called Tholeyite. Dies in Trier in 1874.
1793-1815: As a result of the French Revolution, the Electorate of Trier falls. St. Wendel remains mainly Catholic, but is now occupied by the French. The French government introduces the Code Civil (civil law) and public record office system (Personenstandsregister).
1806: Pastell painter Nikolaus Lauer (1753-1824) returns to St. Wendel and establishes his famous painting school.
1815: At the Congress of Vienna the Duke of Sachsen-Coburg is given a territory of 22,000 souls. The capital of this new Principality of Lichtenberg - the "Coburgian Colony" as the Duke calls it - becomes St. Wendel (that's how all the citizens of St. Wendel got the nickname "Coburgers"). Along with the new government the first Protestants came to St. Wendel.
1820: Helene Demuth ("Lenchen Demuth") is born in St. Wendel on December 30, 1820. She becomes the servant and later the housekeeper of Karl Marx in Trier, and in his exile in London, where she died in 1890. Her birth house is the current "Kaffee Lerner" in upper Balduinstraße.
1825: The Duke of Coburg exiles his wife Luise and sends her to St. Wendel. She becomes the great-great-great-grandmother of Prince Charles, the current Prince of Wales.
1829: Painter Nikolaus Marschall emigrates to the America and designs the first Confederate Flag, the "Stars and Bars", in 10861. His birth house is currently "Bogart's" pub.
1832: Four citizens of St. Wendel - a teacher, a priest, a lawyer and a notary - visit the Hambach Festival, a political gathering in the Palatinates, and return with crazy ideas like ?democracy". The Coburgian government gets mad, which results in scenes of uproar and near rioting.
1834: The Duke of Sachsen-Coburg sells the Principality of Lichtenberg to Prussia. From now on St. Wendel shares the political fate of the rest of the Saar Region.
1840s: The Protestant church is erected through a donation of the King of Prussia.
1855: Johanna Riefer (later called "Dollar-Aunt") is born in Alsfassen. She moves to Paris and later to the United States where she works as a maid for Araballa Huntington (wife of the American "Robber Baron" Collis P. Huntington). Deceased in 1943 at Wiesbaden, Germany, buried in St. Wendel.
1859: The villages Alsfassen and Breiten - which have shared the rights and privileges of St. Wendel for centuries - are incorporated with St. Wendel into the town of St. Wendel.
1860: St. Wendel is connected to the railway from Saarbrücken to Bingerbrück. Within a couple of years its population doubles. Jewish merchants from surrounding villages move to St. Wendel.
1919: After the Great War is lost, the Saar region falls under the protectorate of the "Völkerbund".
1935: First Saar election. By overwhelming majority the Saarlanders vote for the return to Germany. Tragically the Jewish citizens vote the same way. They want Germany and get Hitler.
1945: The Thousand-Years-Reich only lasts ten years in our region. On March 19, units of George Patton's Third Army (10th Armored and 80th Infantry Divisions) occupy the town. The Americans stay only three months, then provide the territory to the French (who stay until 1999 in the old German barracks on Tholeyerberg Hill).
1955: The "Saarstaat" - an independent Saarland (besides its economy and military) - turns out to be a totalitarian regime under the hands of the French. The second Saar election campaign is ruled by hard feelings and propaganda. Finally the "No-Independent-Saarland" movement wins. People want to go home to Germany.
1957: The Saarland becomes Germany's first new federal state after the founding of the Bundesrepublik Deutschland.
1973-4: A reorganization of territory and government forms the new St. Wendel: 16 single villages, among them the city of St. Wendel (Alsfassen and Breiten included) are put together to become the Town of St. Wendel.
Today the town has about 30,000 citizen (about 10,000 in the city).