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Wednesday, 19-06-2019

A Stele for Osthofen

In the lovely area of Rheinhessen Wonnegau, a few kilometers north of the Nibelungentown Worms next to the Rhine, we find the town of Osthofen.
As part of the redesign of the railway station entrance, I got the commission for a stele made out of sandstone.
In this context, I have been studying the history of Osthofen and the famous sons of the city. The stele made by Udelfanger sandstone impresses with its five meters heights in front of the station and welcomes the visitors to the city.


I started working in the quarry in Udelfangen near the Luxembourg border. I carved a flat plane on the stone, and four stainless steel pins were glued to the bracket.


The erection of the rough stele was a big challenge. Two cranes had to work on belts hanging and swaying in the air, as the horizontal is brought into the vertical position, then to be placed precisely on the base.


For pedestrians, passengers and visitors of the gelateria next to my working place it was an attraction. Interested citizens for several weeks followed the genesis of the stele with its symbolic references to people and events from the history of this town.



August von Pauli * 1802 Osthofen +1883 Bad Kissingen, senior Construction of the Bavarian State Railways was a brilliant engineer and inventor of bridge structures. One of those constructions I carved as a symbol into the stone.



The stele is crowned on the top with the malt silo Schill, no architectural fluke, but a highly visible symbol of the city. The building appears inverted on the stele and from certain angles it looks like a rock monastery in the Himalaya.


On the north side of the stele I have taken a rather dark chapter symbolically from the history of Osthofen city. A wooden door, which is currently at the first floor of the memorial site, reminiscent of the concentration camp.


Wendelin Weissheimer * 1838 Osthofen +1910Nuremberg was an important composer and conductor, Liszt's pupil and friend of Ferdinand Lassalle. He wrote operas, symphonies and many songs, conducted at La Scala and in his last years he also directed the mass choirs of the Social Democratic Party. At his funeral in Nuremberg were 30 000 people. The metronome used by him is still owned by the family Weissheimer in the mill Steinmühle was represented on the north side of the stele in memory of this famous son.



Richard Wagner was a friend of Weissheimer and often as a guest in their Steinmühle mill. Wagner, always in need of money borrowed from Wendelin's father, Mayor Johann Weissheimer, a considerable sum and left as a pledge the original handwritten score of his opera "Valkyrie". The beginning of the Valkyrie ride from the 3rd act, therefore I carved it on the north side of the stele.


Dietrich Gruen * 1847 Osthofen +1910at a cruise, was an eminent watchmaker in Switzerland and the USA. (Gruen Watch Company).He invented the first waterproof clock and the American military watch. In memory of him, I carved into the east side of the stele gears from top left to bottom right.


Friedrich Magnus Schwerd * 1792 Osthofen +1871 Speyer, surveyor, astronomer and physicist, developed special techniques for surveying. He measured the position of 1751 stars himself. His “Schwerdsche Small Base” is still used today for surveying.
The constellations of the big and small Dippers, were already used in ancient times as a guide. Symbolically, they are now on the south side of the stele. In clear nights you can see this constellation around the Pole star directly behind the pillar.



The construction of the railway line between Mainz and Worms in the 19th century brought an economic boom to Osthofen. Close to the station sumptuous villas were built.
The original block mining holes on the lower part of the stele I abstracted to form a track, creating a connection to the station and its redesigned entrance.


Here some more images: