Station: [2] The History of Petershauser Hof

These roof tiles from various centuries embody the eventful history of the building. In 1591, Petershauser Hof was mentioned as a liege farmstead of the ancient Benedictine monastery of Petershausen. Today, an entire district of the city of Constance is named after the monastery.

1591 was the time of the Counter-Reformation, when the damage to religious monuments and images that had occurred during the Reformation was made good. Following the Council of Trent, which had finally ended in 1563, Roman Catholicism was regaining strength. Reforms were carried out, and the church consolidated its position.

But the relationship between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism was out of kilter – a situation that escalated in the Thirty Years' War, which lasted from 1618 to 1648. By the late 17th century, the farm had passed to Überlingen hospital. It was mortgaged to the princes of Fürstenberg, who ruled one of the largest territories in the southwest of Germany. They gained possession of the farm in 1779.

In 1806, the House of Fürstenberg, by then allied with Napoleon, was swept up in his defeat. Its territories were "mediatized" – in other words, reduced in rank and annexed; they became part of the new central German states of Baden, Württemberg and Hohenzollern.

Subsequently, ownership of Petershauser Hof passed to members of the middle class. In 1853, the farm was acquired by vassal farmer Matthäus Bernhart, and then purchased by one Karl Allweier in 1899. That’s why the building was first known in the village as Bernhartshof, and later as Allweier Hof – Bernhart’s Farm and Allweier Farm.

It’s simply fascinating, how the passage of time is reflected in such a typical farm, from big picture to tiny detail. There’s a display panel on the threshing floor where you can trace the farm’s history.

Even now, you can tell by looking at the building’s layout that this was a mixed farm with a comprehensive range of activities. From the equipment that’s survived in the barn, we can see that livestock farming continued until the 1960s. But the farm’s business operations were also based on arable farming and fruit-growing. Today, only fruit growing remains economically viable for farms of this size.

Most farmers in the village have moved on from mixed farming to just growing fruit. Locally, there’s a choice of being either a full-time fruit farmer with about 15 to 20 hectares (or between 37 and 50 acres) of arable land, or a part-time fruit farmer, for which an area of 1 or 2 hectares (or between 2 and 4 acres) is sufficient. Only a small number of dairy farms survive.

All depictions: © Gemeinde Fricklingen