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Brief history of the community of Groß-Bieberau

Natural conditions attracted settiers nearly 5.000 years ago to this small region at the intersection lines of the streamlets of Fischbach and Gersprenz. The location at one end of the triangular basin giving access to the montainous area of the Odenwald from the Rhine-Main plain seemed to be of great importance for the settlement. At the borderline of these completely different morphological structures of the surface which developed into a range of hills Sediments of loess were deposited. This fertile soil was used by early farmers in the Neolithic period. Even today these fertile loess and clay soils are the basis of intensive wheat and sugarbeet cultivation.

In the early Neolithic period makers of band ceramics from the Danube basin in Hungaria and of string ceramics from Thuringia settled in the Gr.-B. area. Numerous archeological finds, tumuli in the forests and the ancient roads along the watersheds inform us about continuous settlement in prehistory. In those days the first landmark of the region a hill fort 'Heuneburg' - still vivible today near Lichtenberg on a hill called Altscheuer - was buüt which became the centre of the settlement and the economical development of the region; the ancient roads developed into political borderlines lateron.

In early history the Romans, Alamannians and the Franks had the political control. They came as conquerors taking the place of their predecessors. Relics of Roman estates hidden in the ground remind us of these settiers. One of these estates situated in the central area of Gr.-B. was on the site ofthe 'Schönberger' brewery.
There are not many finds of Alamannian origin; so far these have been restricted to the area of the 'Heuneburg' which seems to have served as a refuge camp for the settiers of the region. But there are more finds from the period of the Franconian settlement when another estate on the old Roman site served the same purpose. The importance of this estate can be seen from the fact that it was situated at the junction of two ancient roads of neighbouring ranges of hills which connect the low plains of the upper Rhine with the Rhine-Main basin merging near Reinheim.

The first reference of Biberaha in a document is dated from 787 (September 2nd) during the reign of Charlemagne. In the Middle Ages there was a further development of the settlement. The heyday of the development in those days was the granting of privileges by Emperor Heinrich VII - like those for the town of Oppenheim - in favour of Earl Dieter IV of Katzeneinbogen for the 'village Bibera beneath the castle Lichtenberg'. The pronunciation 'Bibera' still exists in the local dialect. Apart from that the village was granted the privilege of a weekly market on Tuesdays in a document dated from July 19th, 1312. Thus it became a so-called market covering for the demands of the medieval castle of Lichtenberg which had already become a second landmark and the political centre of the region. Gradually there were 4 annüal fairs added which developed into cattle markets and ended only recently. Thus the name market for Gr.-B. on signposts was justified. A privilege dated from 1312 allowed the Earl of Katzeneinbogen to have 12 Jews as 'guests' in his territory who had to pay high taxes for their pro-tection. They were the predecessors of a lateron large Jewish community. With all those privileges the emperor granted Gr.-B. in connection with eastle Lichtenberg rights as a 'Minor Town' as it is called in terms of modern research on the history of towns, because the term 'town' as well as the privilege of fortification (town walls) are not mentioned in the document.

But life was not always peaceful. The settlement with the restricted privileges of a town was caught up in the whiripool of politics and thus in armed conflicts. We are informed about pillage in the years 1422 and 1518, involvement in the Peasants' War in 1525 and the very hard period of distress during the 30 Years'War impres-sively described in his chronicie by Joh. Daniel Mink then vicar of the village.

Lateron Gr.-B. developed into a prosperous village again with numerous large farms. With the crafts necessary for the farms lathe shops thrived which are the basis for the industrial development of today. On this background a 'höhere Bürgerschule' was built which gradually developed from a 'Realschule' (Secondary Modern School) to a 'Gymnasium' (Grammar School). They were combined to a Compre-hensive School (Secondary Modern and Grammar and Sixth Form School) which forms the educational centre of the Fischbach and Upper Gersprenz valley.

Typical of the 'town' - a title given to Gr.-B. in 1962 - is apart from the half timber houses of past centuries the Protestant Church built in 1730. It can be traced back to a chapel (dedicated to St. Michael) of the Franconian period on which later a medieval church was erected. Parts of it can still be traced in the spire. In 1957 a Catholic Church was built after numerous expellees from former East German and Sudeten territories had found a new home in Gr.-B.

Other important buildings are the War Memorial on the Haslochberg, the Element-ary school built in 1950 to 52, the Fire Station of 1954 enlarged in 1979, the Hall on the cemetery erected in 1961, the Comprehensive School completed in 1967, the new kindergarten of the Protestant community opened in 1972, industrial buildings and the new premises of the Sparkasse (bank) built in the seventies housing the day centre for elderly people which was opened recently. The erec-tion of a building for the Fischbachtal area providing for social Services is planned. Less obvious are the Townhall and the former school; they are rather plain buildings. The centre is surrounded by modern housing areas which made the rural and industrial community into a mainly residential area.

Since January Ist the former village Rodau has been incorporated. Its so-called 'domain' - situated close to the village - was an estate belonging to Lichtenberg.

(By H.H. Weber and W. Wackerfuß, transl. R. Liste)

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Stadt Groß-Bieberau | Marktstraße 28-30 | 64401 Groß-Bieberau | Tel.: 06162 / 8006-0 | E-Mail: Kontakt | Datenschutz

Stadt Groß-Bieberau
Marktstraße 28-30 | 64401 Groß-Bieberau | Tel.: 06162 / 8006-0 |
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