Eppelsheim in the heart of Rhine-Hesse

City tour Zwerchgasse 17, 55234 Eppelsheim, DE

Get an impression of the livability of the Effenkranz community.

Author: Ortsgemeinde Eppelsheim



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Zwerchgasse 17, 55234 Eppelsheim, DE

On the ground floor of the old school building (1836) there is the office room of the local council and the Dinotherium Museum. The two former class rooms on the first floor serve as a conference hall for the local council and a meeting room for the different clubs and organizations. In 2000 the building was completely renovated and the square, which is used for local festivals, was newly laid out. Both measures were supported by a grant from the programme for the restoration of villages in Rhineland-Palatinate.

Eppelsheim on the prehistoric Rhine

Kirchgasse 9, 55234 Eppelsheim, DE

About 10.5 million years ago the “Urrhein” ran from Worms to Bingen right across our today’s Rhinehessia. From early on teeth and bones were found when the local people mined sand for construction. The findings in the “Dinotherium sands” made Eppelsheim famous all over the scientific world. Many fossil species of mammals were found here first and described. In 1820 the famous thighbone of a great ape was discovered, known as “Eppelsheim Femur”. It was in fact the first finding of a fossil ape worldwide.

In 1835 a world sensation happened! In the field of “Jörgenbauer” Johann Kaup and August von Klipstein recovered the complete upper skull of a Dinotherium giganteum (beast), a distant relative of the elephant with a height of 3.5 m. Its tusks are bent downwards and are located in the lower jaw. They apparently served to peel the bark of a tree. Of the then five known species of proboscidea (animals with a trunk) there exist only two related species worldwide today, in Southeast Asia and Africa. Findings of teeth of another genus of great apes prove the existence of upper primates in our region, which were named "Rhenopithecus eppelsheimensis" after their archaeological site. There are four species of bear dogs (predators); one of them carries our name throughout the world: Amphicyon eppelsheimensis.

The existence of rhinoceros, eohippus (the earliest horse) and sabre-toothed tiger was also proved.

Fossil findings from Eppelshein can be found in many museums, e.g. in Alzey, in Darmstadt and in Frankfurt. The original skull of the dinotherium giganteum can be seen in the Natural History Museum in London, but many museums in Europe exhibit replicas (e.g. Senckenberg Museum in Frankfurt, Hessian State Museum, Natural History Museums Mainz, Basle, Vienna etc.)

The Natural History Museum Basle represented by Dr. Burkart Engesser donated to the community of Eppelsheim a replica of this skull for the Dinotherium Museum on its opening day in August 2001. It is the centre of the exhibition and together with other exhibits selected byDr. Jens Lorenz Franzen from the research institute of the Senckenberg Museum in Frankfurt bears witness to the Eppelsheim archaeological excavations.

The museum goes back to the idea and initiative of the former mayor and honorary citizen Heinrich Roos. Concept and texts come from Dr. Jens Franzen. The project was financed by the community of Eppelsheim, lots of donations and last but not least through the commitment of volunteers.

Protestant Church with Stumm Organ

Gau-Heppenheimer Straße 1, 55234 Eppelsheim, DE

As early as 1070 a church consecrated to St. Martin was mentioned for the first time. In 1417 there were three altars (high altar, the Virgin Mary altar and St. Nicholas altar) in the parish church. In 1430 the three-part choir and in 1502 the steeple were renovated. In 1790 the house of God was pulled down and in 1790/91 rebuilt and enlarged.

The three-storey steeple dates from different times of construction. The first and second storeys are Gothic. The lower was once arched, proven by the brackets with the base of the ribs in the corners. The slender portal with the pointed arch, which once led into the old, small church, was bricked up but can still be seen in the east wall.
The upper storey is built with limestone from our region and has a tent-shaped roof. The present steeple structure also dates back to the year 1791. It was not until 1813 that the finishing work of the interior could be started as there were quarrells about costs.

In 2001 both windows behind the altar were replaced. The artist Robert Münch from Groß-Umstadt created the new colourful church windows.

The baroque organ built by the famous organ builder Franz Stumm from Rhaunen-Sulzbach in the Hunsrück mountains was first played on 18th December 1815.
The organ has 17 stops with 972 pipes. The biggest one is 2.80 m long and made of tin.
After the Second World War the organ was in very bad condition. Thanks to the excellent restoration by the organ builders Oberlinger Bros. in 1971, our organ now represents, with its fine and rich tone, the original ideal sound intended by its creator.

Equipment House of the Fire Brigade

Gau-Heppenheimer Straße 3, 55234 Eppelsheim, DE

Equipment House of the Fire Brigade
Equipment House of the Fire Brigade

The equipment house of the fire brigade was built in 1930 by the local community and in 1975 became property of the municipality of Alzey-Land, which is responsible for firefighting. A characteristic feature of the building is the integrated hose tower.
In 1991/92 the building was completely renovated by the members of the voluntary fire brigade of Eppelsheim. On the groundfloor there is the equipment room with a fire engine and on the first floor you can find a meeting room and some smaller rooms. On the front there is the coat of arms of Eppelsheim carved in sandstone, which was donated by the Women's Club of Eppelsheim.

Protected nature reserve at "The Huckenhof Track"

55234 Eppelsheim, DE

The area north of Eppelsheim was purchased by the German Wehrmacht in 1933 for a depot for anti-aircraft ammuniton. After the war the buildings were pulled down and from 1946 until 1953 the land was used as farmland. In 1953 the US Armed Forces again built an ammunition depot with 10 open and 24 closed buildings as well as several protective walls. Since 1970 ammunition has no longer been stored there.
It was not until 1991 that the area was given back to the Federal Republic of Germany and on 5th April 1995 after lengthy negotiations the municipality of Eppelsheim could purchase it with all the buildings for 31,000 DM.
In one and a half years it took 18 voluntary helpers 1756 hours to create a beautiful nature reserve on an area of 10 hectares. The buildings were pulled down, bushes removed from dry and half-dry lawn areas , 2500 new bushes and trees were planted, a "Benjes hedge" was laid out and two stone heaps for reptiles were piled up.

Today a lot of plants and animals find a refuge there. The changing of the former ammunition depot into an ecologically valuable area was celebrated with an open day on 8th June 1997. Since then people have really made use of the recreation area a lot. You can walk around the nature preserve on a 1.3 km long round course while enjoying the natural surroundings. When the weather is fine you can see as far as to the Odenwald, Donnersberg (Thundermountain) and the Pfälzer Wald (Palatinate Forest).

Open Air Theatre

Gau-Heppenheimer Straße 38A, 55234 Eppelsheim, DE

In 1953 the open-air theatre was built by the members of the Verschönerungsverein (club whose aim it is to preserve the natural surroundings and to maintain traditions). The official opening took place on 3rd July of the same year. Under director Phillip Hummel theatre plays were successfully performed every year up to 1960. The audience came to Eppelsheim from all over Rhine-Hesse by coach.
The following plays were performed:
1953 Black Tatjana (folk play)
1954 Katharina Knie (Carl Zuckmayer)
1955 When the Cock Crows (August Hinrichs)
1956 Marriage with Erica (folk play with singing)
1957 The Black Hannibal (Karl Bunje)
1958 New Lord on Linden Manor (R. Bars)
1959 Im weißen Rößl / In the Little White Horse (Oskar Blumenthal)
1960 Crab Apple (H. A. Weber)

In 2000 the Verschönerungsverein celebrated its 120th birthday. On that day the amateur drama club performed the comedy "The Unbelievable Story of the Stolen Stinking Cheese".

Dalberg Tower

Gau-Heppenheimer Straße 20-22, 55234 Eppelsheim, DE

Around 1500 the Dalberg Tower was erected by the Dalberg family of Worms, who, however, never lived in Eppelsheim. It was built as a defence and residential tower and today it is private property of the Odermann family.
In old documents the Dalberg Tower is known as "Waterhouse", as there was a moat around it, whose waters were fed by the nearby village moat. The building is completely made of natural limestone and covers an area of about 10 x 10 meters. Besides the groundfloor there are five more floors; the walls of the groundfloor are about 1.5 m thick.

In former times the entrance was on the first floor and could only be reached by a ladder or movable stairs. The tower was surrounded by an additional wall with a walkway for defence, which was integrated into the village fortifications. Originally the roof was steeper, the lower tent roof dates from later times. Windows and embrasures have red sandstone frames. Traces of heating systems could not be found, however, it is assumed that at least in times of war it was used as a residential tower. Later it was a storehouse and grain silo.

The Dalberg Tower and the appearance of the village with the moat have been under the protection of the Convention of The Hague since 30th September 1988.

Gold Medal - Let's make our village more beautiful

Bahnhofstraße 20, 55234 Eppelsheim, DE

In 1993 Eppelsheim for the first time - together with three other towns - qualified for the federal competition "Let's make our village more beautiful". It meant that many years of the community's efforts were finally appreciated. Since 1961 the village has taken part in this competition and has been quite successful. Among the many awards Eppelsheim received 4 first places of the district, a first as well as several second and third places of the next bigger administrative district and three silver and two bronze medals from the state (Rhineland-Palatinate). We also received honorary mention from the former Prime Minister of Rhineland-Palatinate, Dr Wagner.

In 1993, 47 towns altogether from 12 federal states took part in the final competition. Under the chairwomanship of the President of the 'German Gardening Society 1882', Countess Bernadotte, the assessment committee visited Eppelsheim on 9th September 1993.

Silver Medal - Our town has a future
In 2003, after a ten-year’s mandatory break, Eppelsheim returned to the competition for the most attractive town and finished second in the main class in Rhineland-Palatinate. In addition, Eppelsheim received the special award for “Exemplary Ecological Achievements”.

In the 22nd national competition Eppelsheim came in first on the local and district levels in the special class and won a gold medal on the state level (Rhineland-Palatinate). Along with 33 other communes Eppelsheim again qualified for the national competition in 2007. During the “Green Week 2008” 76 citizens of Eppelsheim attended the awards ceremony at the ICC Berlin where the silver medal was presented to Eppelsheim by the Federal Minister of Agriculture Horst Seehofer
It was a special honour for the mayor Ute Klenk-Kaufmann and her deputy Rainer Carl when they were invited to a reception in Bellevue Palace by the patron of the competition, the Federal President Dr. Horst Köhler.

Bronze Medal - Our town has a future
After a seven-year’s break Eppelsheim took part again in the nationwide competition "Our village has a future" and finished first both on the district and regional levels in the special class. This success was even crowned by a gold medal on the state level (Rhineland-Palatinate). In addition Eppelsheim was awarded the special prizes for exemplary urban development in November 2015 and for ecological achievements in July 2016. Thus Eppelsheim together with 33 other villages from all over Germany qualified for the national competition and was awarded a Bronze Medal by the federal commission on July 7th, 2017.
In January 2017 a delegation of 50 citizens travelled to Berlin to collect the medal at the village festival as part of "The Green Week”. We are now triple Federal Winner.