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Duhnen Historical

A cultural-historical tour through Duhnen

1 - Chapel at Robert-Dohrmann-Platz

An old farmhouse became the chapel at Robert-Dohrmann-Platz. The Duhn Chapel, located in the centre of the village, has existed since 1953 and was created from a converted farmhouse that was originally built around 1860 and last belonged to the farmer Charles Meeks before the former parish of St. Gertrud Döse was able to purchase the property from his widow in 1952.
The building department of the regional church office under the architect A. Küchenmeister was responsible for the conversion of the former hall and stable into a church room. The room was equipped with chairs for about 120 church visitors and a small organ, which was first used on 2 September 1966. Since 1962 there has been a kindergarten in the rear building, but since 1992 it has moved to Sahlenburger Weg No. 40. The former kindergarten has housed a "One World Shop" since 1993. The last major renovation of the exterior facade took place in 1990.

Since 1971, the chapel has been the venue not only for church services but also for a variety of events organised by the holiday chaplaincy, such as bedtime stories, discussion evenings, holiday choir and much more.

On Sunday, 5 June 2005, a new bell cradle and bell were inaugurated with a festive service at the chapel on Robert-Dohrmann-Platz. The bell carrier was made by the Beckmann joinery in Oxstedt, and the bell, weighing almost 500 kg, was delivered from Sinn in Hesse. The top inscription on the bell reads as follows: "Lord, your goodness reaches as far as the sky". In the middle of the bell is written: "In memoriam Ernst-Otto Metscher". On the lower edge of the bell is the inscription "Cuxhaven-Duhnen 2005".

2 - Gasthof Zur Post, Cuxhavener Straße 101

Today's inn "Zur Post" on Cuxhavener Straße - formerly Dorfstraße - is located on an ancient "Bremersche Hofstätte", which already had a juggery around the middle of the 17th century. There is evidence that the farmstead was owned by Peter Hußmann, son of Claus Hußmann, in 1668.
At that time, Hußmann already had a licence to distil schnapps and brew beer, which could also be served there. The house has had numerous owners. The oldest document of the property with the name "Gasthaus zur Post" dates back to 1809. For locals and guests, the house was especially important in the 19th and early 20th century, because the mail to Cuxhaven regularly went from here.
In 1871, Jürgen August Diederichs took over the property by marriage and ran not only the inn but also agriculture and a grocery store. Therefore, this inn was of considerable importance for the members of the painters' colony founded in Duhnen in 1895 by students of the Karlsruhe Academy.

Since the merchant Robert Dohrmann and six other enterprising gentlemen had launched the seaside resort in the "Gasthof zur Post" in 1902, the "Post" is regarded as the nucleus of the North Sea resort of Duhnen. In the years between 1903 and 1909, under its new owner Wilhelm Schmarje, the "Post" served simultaneously as an inn, a grocery shop, a postal agency and a telephone exchange. In 1906/07, Schmarje had built the Art Nouveau-style hotel "Am Meer" on the adjoining garden plot, which was inaugurated on 3 July 1907. He sold the inn "Zur Post" to Hermann Fischer in 1910.

During the Second World War, soldiers were quartered in the hotel "Am Meer", and after the end of the war, the occupation by the British occupation forces followed. It was not until the 1951/52 season that the hotel was able to accept spa guests again.

3 - Duhner village fountain

The Duhnen village fountain was inaugurated in 1935. During levelling work in April 1935, an old well was discovered in what is now the village of Duhnen in front of the former youth hostel (since 9 April 1934; referred to as Ove-Ovens-Haus) on the former grounds of Hinrich Ringe's farm. The well reached down about four metres into the sandy soil and medieval vessel shards dating from around 1300 were found in its deposit layer.
In the lower area, the well had a square shape with an edge length of 1.30 metres, above it a circular shape with a diameter of 1.25 metres. The Cuxhaven prehistorian and early historian Karl Waller (1892 -1963) excavated the site and published his findings in a newspaper article in the Cuxhavener Zeitung of 24 April 1935.
The upper part of the well shaft was reconstructed from sandstone and covered with a thatched roof. The village well gave its present name (Am Dorfbrunnen) to the community square surrounding it. It was inaugurated on 23 June 1935 and is considered a landmark of Duhnen. On 14 July 2005, the village fountain was renovated and given a new thatched roof.

4 - Fischerhaus Duhnen, Wehrbergsweg

The Fischerhaus Duhnen is a restored relic from the time when Duhnen was indeed still a small remote fishing and farming village. This thatched house was built around the middle of the 18th century (1745). The Fischerhaus thus represents the oldest house in Duhnen and is an example of the typical building form of old coastal houses. A central door on the street side led directly into the hearth room, to both sides of which small parlours with wall beds, the so-called alcoves, adjoined. Other small rooms were once used to store small livestock, household and work tools or fuel. For some years now, the old fisherman's house has housed a clothing shop.

5 - Strandhotel Duhnen, Duhner Strandstraße 5-9

The Strandhotel in Duhnen was founded in 1896. Inaugurated on 23 March 1896 by its builder Amandus Mangels, the first hotel located close to the beach was one of the most eye-catching buildings in the up-and-coming seaside resort. In 1905, Mangels had an extension built to the west of the main building, and finally a hall with a turret and a beer garden in front of it.
Mangels ran the hotel until 1910, after which the former barman Petersen, followed by Karl Richter, became the hotel's short-term tenants and operators. The next owner is Albert Krüger, who was first mentioned in the Duhn address book in 1912. Only for a short time, the innkeeper Heinz Narten is listed as another owner, until finally Friedrich Wilhelm Kamp, who came from Lengerich in Westphalia, opened the Strandhotel as the new owner on 1 April 1922.
Since then, the hotel complex has been constantly improved and enlarged in the course of numerous renovations and modernisations. During the Second World War, the hotel was confiscated by the German Wehrmacht and, after the war was lost, was only released by the British occupying power in 1946.
In 1957, the hotel was considerably extended and only one year later a second hotel was built, the Seehotel Kamp. The two hotel buildings were connected by a corner building in 1964/65 - now under the auspices of Klaus Kamp, who gave his name to the foundation that publishes this cultural-historical guide. Further extensive building measures followed in 1972, 1976 and 1992, until in 1998 the Strandhotel Duhnen was extended by the Aparthotel Kamp. The Kamp family still owns the hotel complex and the associated catering facilities.

6 - Reading Hall Duhnen, Duhner Strandstraße 35

The Duhnen reading hall once had a beacon.

At the end of Duhner Strandstraße, so named since 18 May 1935, the reading hall was officially opened on 10 July 1938 by the then Lord Mayor Wilhelm Klostermann (OB from 1 April 1937 to 19 May 1945).

A further extension to the western wing was added in 1951. The Duhn beacon was installed on the roof of the reading hall in 1958, and its task was later taken over by the Neuwerk lighthouse (from 1 June 1980). After that, only a dimly burning lamp reminded people of the original meaning of this light, to serve as orientation for night-time mudflat walkers.

On the roof of the reading hall is a swimming master's station, which had gone into operation on 16 August 1980. At the beginning of April 2006, a restaurant was opened in the "Lesehalle": the "Leuchtfeuer". A handicapped-accessible shower and public toilet were also installed in the renovated building complex.

Before the Duhnen beacon started operating on the roof of the Duhnen reading hall in 1958, there had been a small house on the dyke on Duhner Strandstraße near the property of the farmer and post driver Willy Brütt since 1931, in which the Duhnen auxiliary beacon had already been set up. Otto Brütt was responsible for the proper operation of the Duhnen beacon for the first time. He was also responsible for cleaning the lantern glass and the coloured panels of the lamp room during the day.

The optics of this beacon consisted of a belt lens and glass rings were ground to a high gloss. The light source for the beacon was an electrically operated 100-watt spotlight lamp with a three-second flash followed by a one-second pause, so that the return frequency was four seconds in total. When the beacon had to be put out of operation, the beacon lamp was switched off as well as the aperture drive clockwork stopped with a brake.

7 - Duhner Schule, Rugenbargsweg 7

A secondary school had already existed in Duhnen since 1756, which was housed in a rented room of a Duhnen resident. However, at that time lessons were only held in winter.

The plan to build a school building of its own did not mature until the beginning of the 20th century. On 13 April 1915, a newly built school building was inaugurated on Rugenbargsweg. Until then, the school-age children had had to attend the Stickenbüttel school every day. The school was finally separated from the Stickenbüttel school association in 1925. In 1931, an extension building was put into use. After the Second World War, the building briefly housed English occupation troops, so that school lessons could not be resumed until February 1946. Plans are currently being discussed to close the Duhn school in the foreseeable future due to adverse demographic developments.

(Source: Flyer Duhnen - A cultural-historical tour with texts by Peter Bussler, Klaus Kamp Foundation)
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