In the late Middle Ages, more and more hospices were set up in which poor and sick people from their own locality, but also pilgrims traveling through, could find refuge. In the southern Ostallgäu , such welfare institutions were established in Füssen in 1465 , in Marktoberdorf in 1501 and in Nesselwang in 1503 . In between (1475) such a foundation took place in neighboring Vils in Tyrol and two years earlier in Pfronten. The name for this "social station" is not always the same. In Pfronten they were called the Seelhaus or Elendenherberge, and later the hospital .
According to tradition, two single sisters in Pfronten-Ried donated the house "for pilgrims to Rome and as a hospital". In the still existing letter of foundation, however, it says that all residents of Ried have designated a farmstead in fulfillment of the works of mercy with good free will, well-considered synn and courage to start and foundation ains newen selhaus and ellendherberg .
Coordinates of the 1st location
The place of this farmstead is indicated in the document as in the Weydach bey dem vilssteig . With this location, it can be localized roughly where the houses Allgäuer Straße 7 or 9 are now. This area used to be at high risk of flooding due to its proximity to the uncorrected Vils . That is why it was already determined at the foundation of the Seelhaus that it could be relocated to a different location if a different or better court act could be invented at sollichem selhaus and ellendtherberg .
It was also agreed that he could keep two cows with the village herdsman on the common pasture of Ried , so that he had the same house inside and was worthy of the poor people .
Coordinates of the 2nd location
It is not known when the Seelhaus was moved to Pfronten-Heitlern. It is assumed that this happened after a few decades, possibly 1523. The new location was on the flood-free south side of the Vils in an area where, for unknown reasons, the local communities of Ried, Steinach, Ösch, Dorf and Heitlern shared property. The relocated Seelhaus came to stand on Steinacher land. Here the nearby St. Leonhard Chapel could be used as a hospital church and the deceased found their final resting place in the former St. Leonhard cemetery, which the church maintained.
However, there were problems because of the hospital's two cattle drive rights, who now grazed his cows with the farmers from Heitlern. In 1701 the von Heitlern people discovered in the foundation letter of 1473 the passage that the Spitaler had the two driving rights in Ried. He had to drive his animals there even after the house had been moved; if necessary, the common land of Steinach would also come into consideration, because the Seelhaus was now on Steinacher soil. The Heitlerner also brought in a former village shepherd as a witness who testified that 50 years ago he "kept" (looked after) in Ried and at that time the cows of the hospital with those of the Heitlerner host of St. Lienhart (Gasthof Adler), Hans Suiter, drove to Ried. The farmers of Ried countered this by stating that Suiter actually had the right to graze there because he had previously passed the Widumgut (leased) as a bailiff. The fact that the Spitaler also drove to Ried could only have happened " precario ".
The members of the parish of Steinach stated that the Seelhaus was not on their floor and that they already knew four hospitals who had expelled from Heitlern. "With this statement, the Heitlerner had two parishes against them and therefore it remained unchanged the expulsion of the hospital in the Heitlerner cattle pasture.
In the deed of 1473 the hope was expressed that the hospital would be protected and preserved "with the help of other pious people, if they give them tax assistance and alms". But such donations apparently remained small. It should have been administered by the so-called "hospital nurse", while the "hospital manager" had to look after the house and its residents. This separation of offices emerges from the parish accounts, where two men are named for the various tasks at the same time.
From the parish's invoices it can also be seen that it has taken care of the structural condition of the Seelhaus. In 1727/28 extensive work was carried out on the hospital, which "was almost completely renewed". The community also covered expenses for inmates. In 1743/44 Rupert Steidel from the hospital received 1 guilder for "waiting and burial" of a poor woman who died there.
The hospitaler's salary , however, was very low. He was therefore dependent on additional income. In 1687/88 Hans Bertle also held the office of path maker and pledger, and the gravedigger and hospital father Alois Erd received only 15 guilders for both activities in 1822/23.
After the bishopric of Augsburg fell to the Electorate of Bavaria in 1803 , a political community of Pfronten was created in addition to the parish of Pfronten. Now it was no longer clear who owned the Seelhaus. The Pfronten pastor Georg Guggemos (* 1796; † 1833) wrote in a list about the house in 1832: "The house belongs to the parish". In fact, however, the municipality of Pfronten has borne all expenses and they also had to take care of the local poor who lived there. Therefore she now found herself in possession of the house. The property tax cadastre 1836 also reads "The parish hall and apartment of the parish servant, hospital for vagabonds and detention center".
After the Second World War , refugees were taken in here, and afterwards more and more socially disadvantaged people found accommodation. For the poor house , as it was now commonly called, the community only did the bare minimum, so that it looked more like an eyesore in the townscape. It was therefore thought of removing the building in its desolate condition.
Coordinates of the current location
In 1977 the municipality of Pfronten decided to demolish the poor house. On the other hand, the Heimatverein Pfronten turned first and a long-term discussion about the preservation of the building began. It was only when the crumbling plaster was chipped off and the old wooden construction was impressively revealed on the south and east sides that public opinion changed. In 1982, a makeshift roof repair was approved and carried out. In 1985 the local council decided to move the poor house to another location.
That happened in 1990, when important parts of the house, especially the south and east façades, were integrated into a new building that was placed on the Kirchsteige on top of the former ice cellar of the Gasthof Kreuz. In the renovated ice cellar, which can now be heated, cabaret events are now held at intervals.
The new Heimathaus, which was inaugurated in 1995, now fulfills two functions. A "local history collection" is now housed in the former residential wing with its historical components. Devices from home and yard are exhibited there, mainly in the 19th and 20th centuries. Century and originate from Pfronten.
The former agricultural part in the west has been redesigned, but well adapted to the historical building. The community library is now located here on three floors.
- Rudibert Ettelt: History of the City of Füssen , Füssen 1971, p. 217
- Martin Dömling: Oberdorfer Heimatbuch , Gemeinde Markt Oberdorf 1952, p. 65
- Luis Dürrwanger: Nesselwang in Culture and History , Marktgemeinde Nesselwang 1954, p. 179
- Otto Stolz: History of the City of Vils in Tirol , City of Vils 1927, p. 37
- Liborius Scholz: Chronicle of Pfronten . In: entertainment sheet on the Pfrontner Bote 1911 No. 32
- deed of foundation from 1473 in the Pfronten community archive
- Annemarie Schröppel: Contribution to the documentation on the Heitlern Hospital Foundation 433 . (Unpublished work)
- Pfronten parish archive, files 103 (1701TR01)
- Pfronten parish archive, parish calculations, e.g. 1687/88, 1740/42 and 1772/73
- State archive Augsburg, Rentamt Füssen 87 / I
- Around the Falkenstein. Volume 1, number 1, p. 11
- Around the Falkenstein. Volume 1, number 15, p. 282
- Around the Falkenstein. Volume 1, number 17, p. 330
- Bertold Pölcher: Inauguration of the Heimathaus . In: Around the Falkenstein (bulletin of the Heimatverein Pfronten). Volume 2, Number 36 (1995), pp. 896-898.
- Bertold Pölcher: Because of the Selhauß in Pfronter Pfarr . In: Around the Falkenstein (bulletin of the Heimatverein Pfronten). Volume 1, Number 10 (1982), pp. 153-160.