Rödelheim is richer by a cultural institution: on Monday, June 24, the "Atelier PetriHaus Wolfgang Steubing" was inaugurated here. The new building expands the historic Petrihaus by an urgently needed event hall, as only very few visitors could be accommodated in the previous building. "Today, almost exactly 300 years after the completion of the Petrihaus, we are celebrating another inauguration, a building that does not obscure the old - the romance remains," said Mayor Peter Feldmann at the opening.
Wilhelm Bender of the Petrihaus development association said, "We are very pleased that Lord Mayor Feldmann is inaugurating the ‚Atelier PetriHaus Wolfgang Steubing' with us today. The new event building will not only complement the ensemble around the Petrihaus very nicely, but also represent a new attraction for the Rödelheim district."
The new building will be used from September. From then on, readings, concerts and other events are to take place in the studio house. Until then, a garden is to be laid out. The construction of the new building took a good two years. The historic Petrihaus fell visibly into disrepair in the 1980s and was once even on the verge of demolition. This was prevented by committed citizens. On the initiative of Wilhelm Bender, former Chairman of the Fraport Executive Board, a sponsoring association was founded that restored the building and established it as a cultural meeting center. The Petrihaus shone in new splendor, won a monument protection award, attracted more and more visitors and became too small in the long run, which is why the extension was built - again thanks to the active support of the citizens including Bender. Namesake Wolfgang Steubing, entrepreneur and chairman of the supervisory board of Eintracht Frankfurt, made a decisive contribution to the realization of the project as a patron.
Feldmann explicitly thanked all supporters of the project in his speech, acknowledged Bender's work and underlined the long tradition of civic engagement in Frankfurt: "Nothing has changed here in Frankfurt over the centuries - and that's a good thing!"
The Petrihaus, idyllically located in Brentanopark, was built around 1720. In 1819 it was sold by the then owner, the master baker Johannes Petri, to the banker Georg Brentano - who had bid for it for a long time. Georg, brother of Clemens Brentano and Bettina von Arnim, had the building rebuilt in country house style - it became part of a large garden area that Brentano had laid out. From then on, the history of the house was linked not only to the Brentanos, but to the Romantic era as a whole. Bettina von Arnim was not only considered a pioneering poet of this era, she also used her popularity for social criticism, later meeting with Karl Marx and is considered a companion of the revolution of 1848.
The large garden area of the Brentanos was sold by the descendants of Georg to the city of Frankfurt in 1926, partially destroyed during the Second World War. The country house had to be demolished, there is now the Brentanobad. The Petrihaus became part of the depot of the city drainage system and served as a dwelling until 1968. After that the decay of the house began - of which today, thanks to the recent civic engagement, nothing can be felt.