Mainberg Castle in Germany in the 1940s

These photos were contributed by Susan Panioli and her sister Lorraine O’Dell, the daughters of Veteran Leroy F. O’Dell, who served with the 313th Infantry and the 79th Division during WWII in France, Germany, Belgium, and Czechoslovakia.

Leroy F. O’Dell

Susan believes the photos were taken of Mainberg Castle by her father sometime between September 1944 and May 1946. Leroy was also wounded during the war and received the Purple Heart. He’s now 93 years of age (born 16 May, 1925), and is living in a nursing home in upstate NY, USA.


I’m in the process of finding someone who can identify and verify the location of these photos.

Edited on 14 June 2018: I just got word from the expert himself – these photos were indeed taken at Mainberg Castle. (Source: Thomas Horling, Mainberg Castle Historian)

 

Postcards of Mainberg Castle

Ever since I started doing research for a blog reader about Mainberg Castle in northern Bavaria, I have become very interested in the topic myself, and started buying historical postcards.

Mainberg Castle in 1914

 

Mainberg Castle around 1930

 

Mainberg Castle in 1946

 

Mainberg Castle in the 1920/1930

Postcards of Mainberg Castle in Germany

These postcards of Mainberg Castle are part of my private collection.

Title: Deutsche Heimat

Dated 1924

Dated 1935

Dated 1953

Dated 1955

Dated 1961

 

The Current State of Mainberg Castle

A stateside reader, who plans on visiting Mainberg Castle this summer, inquired about its current state and whether the castle would be open to the public.

Based on various sources in the media, the castle is in urgent need of repair and restoration. The current owner, the real estate agent Ms. Renate Ludwig, bought the castle in 2005. She and her initial partners were in the process of running a restaurant there, until fire safety regulations deemed the castle not safe enough.

Now the castle is for sale on the internet, but there is no private investor to be found.

Price: € 3.850.000 €
Lot size: 15.646 m² (168.400 ft²)
Floor space: 4.716 m²  (50.700 ft²), 50 rooms

Interested? Then view: Mainberg Castle for Sale

 In November 2017, the State of Bavaria authorized public funds of euro 700.000 to provide immediate help as the castle has been classified to be in danger of collapse.

At first, a team of experts checked to see if the deterioration stemmed from the underground tunnel, which was built during the Sachs Family reign during WWII. Their results further stated, that the tunnel itself would  not be the main cause of a possible impending collapse. Wear and tear of a 700-year-old castle does run its course.

In 1915, the industrial tycoon Ernst Sachs bought the castle. Then from 1954 – 1960, the castle was owned by Wilhelm Heger, until it had to be auctioned off. The city of Schweinfurt bought it then and in 1982, it changed hands again. This time, the castle was owned Gerhard Eichhorn & heirs, until the current owner bought it in 2005.

Efforts are made to save the castle from its ruin. I wish the state funds would have been available sooner.

The current renovation is supposed to be finished by the summer 2018. Since we are in Germany, please add another two years for completion.

Mainberg Castle near Schweinfurt

This guest post is written by Lance M. Goolsby, who originates from Seattle, Washington. However, he spent 15 years in the U.S. Army, serving in the city of Schweinfurt, Germany for four of them. He says he is married to the most wonderful woman, Antje (Pronounced: Auntie-A), a local Schweinfurter. After leaving the army, he decided to settle down in Schweinfurt and place his roots in this beautiful small city. This is what he has to share with us.

Mainberg Castle

Mainberg Castle

A couple days ago, I was searching the internet to get some source photos for a renovation project I am conducting and came across Maria’s blog.

I had heard of a local castle, but had never gone. Many times the unit would hold a party in the castle, but somehow I was either deployed to some foreign country, or on duty. So I was always otherwise occupied.

A few months ago I was invited to a birthday party being held in the castle, and I thought it would be my chance to see it first hand. Somehow I met the manager, and we started talking. He was in the works of finalizing the plans for the renovations of the castle with the owner. Hours passed with him telling me stories of the history of the building, from its major involvement in the German Peasants war of the 1500s, to the unsavory occupation of the castle during the second world war by generals Hermann Goering, and Heinrich Himmler.

One thing led to another, and I was hired as the groundskeeper of the castle. My dream job. Bringing the long unattended gardens back to their former glory, which had not been seen by visitors since the renovations of the castle in 1924.

The castle name is Schloss Mainberg, located around 3 kilometers, or about 2 miles outside Schweinfurt.

The tower of the castle was the first thing built, in around the year 980 to 1005. In the late 1300s and early 1400s, the local duke built the original castle. The castle was mostly destroyed in the Peasants War in the 1520s. Twenty years later, the castle that stands now, was built. The only thing original to the castle prior is the tower, which only lost around 30 feet from its top in the war.

After the Second World War, the entire contents of the castle were either carted off under orders of General Goering, or looted by the American soldiers or the local towns people. All statues with the exception of one, were used by various soldiers as target practice or targeted by vandals, and all heads are missing. Later the castle was shortly used as a factory for a hair care products company. After that, it passed through a few hands, but never was renovated or repaired.

In the last 60 years, the castle has slowly fallen into ruin. Cracks are allowing water to seep into the building, staining and ruining many murals painted on the walls and ceilings.  Vines, crawling up the walls, are undermining the concrete and pieces are falling to the ground. Eventually without the proper care, the castle would fall to the ground.

My job will be to bring the grounds to the quality they were in after the 1822 renovations. In one author’s writings, he described the gardens as an almost heavenly walk. Looking right, the view over the local Bavarian valley afforded him the possibility to see for miles on end. Three fountains adorned with mythological creatures gave the area an ethereal sound and the flowers planted gave the garden a scent that he couldn’t forget for several years before he wrote the book.

Further investigation into the grounds has recently produced a second garden from the same era, which it seems no visitors has ever seen. It’s a garden for the woman of the house at the time to retreat to with one of her favorite books, to relax and read. We now refer to this one as the secret garden. It was built in the rear of the castle, which is on the uphill side. It was made up of one main terrace, and three others, adorned with flowers, and rock walls. They had in effect carved 4 level areas out of the castle, adorned them with flowers,  benches, and tables, then fenced it off from the main castle garden for privacy. It must have been a vision in itself and to me was much more beautiful than the main garden.

I thought for the readers of Maria’s blog it would be cool to see some recent photos of the same castle, of which she shared photos taken by Russell Satterthwait in the 60s and to compare how the castle has slowly fallen into almost ruin.

With luck, in the next two years, the castle will be back to its regal status. I also invite all readers to come by and take a tour with me when it is completed. You will not be disappointed. We will be able to have some coffee in its café, or if you like, spend the night in the castle hotel.

Mainberg Castle is one of the regions most important and beautiful castles. Soon it will be open to the public again.

Thanks for reading my long winded article.

— Lance Goolsby

grounds keeper at Mainberg Castle

Photobucket by Lance Goolsby: http://s60.photobucket.com/user/mordfilm/slideshow/Schloss%20Mainberg

YouTube by Matthias Breitenbach: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIUlhAwT9NM

Schweinfurt Garrison Dining Out at Castle Mainberg 2009 (Photo courtesy of Schweinfurt PAO) on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/schweinfurtpao/13404333633/

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