The history of Wilhelmstrasse 1

Briefkopf des „Victoria-Hotel“ (Stadtarchiv Wiesbaden)
Letterhead of “Victoria-Hotel”, 1905 (Photo: Stadtarchiv Wiesbaden)

Something many people are unaware of is that the property on which the Reinhard & Sonja Ernst Foundation plans to build its new museum for abstract art looks back on an intriguing history. In 1842, the Hotel Düringer was built on this site. With its bathing facilities, it was not only a particularly modern spa hotel but also a popular rendezvous for aristocrats and celebrities (the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky was also a welcome guest, for example).

The hotel changed hands in 1857 and was renamed the Victoria Hotel und Badehaus –Wiesbaden’s reputation as a spa resort played a key role in this. At the time, the Kleine Wilhelmstrasse still existed as well as the old brick-lined Salzbach Canal, which ran underground. It was later shut down and replaced by today’s Salzbach Canal under Wilhelmstrasse. Part of the old Salzbach Canal still runs under and across the property at Wilhelmstrasse 1 even today. In March 1945, the Hotel Victoria was destroyed in an air raid and was not rebuilt. The surrounding historic villas from the Wilhelminian era, however, remained largely spared and have graced the cityscape of the state capital to the present day.

Postkarte: Terrasse des „Hotel Victoria“, ca. 1910 (Foto: Stadtarchiv Wiesbaden)
Postcard: terrace of hotel restaurant, c. 1910 (Photo: Stadtarchiv Wiesbaden)