Louis Jacobi

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Louis Jacobi
Louis Jacobi and Wilhelm II in the courtyard of the Principia of the Saalburg (around 1900)

Louis Jacobi (born April 21, 1836 in Homburg vor der Höhe ; † September 24, 1910 there ) was a German architect . His name is primarily associated with the reconstruction of the Roman Saalburg fort .


Jacobi, son of the Hesse-Homburg steward Heinrich Jacobi (1797-1854) and his wife Susanna, née Kessel (1812-1885), moved to the United States at the age of 15 and practiced his training there largely on his own initiative, in technical professions. In 1856 he returned to Germany and studied at the Karlsruhe Polytechnic before settling in his hometown as an independent architect in 1861.

He was also politically active; from 1886 to 1910 he belonged to the district council of the Obertaunuskreis , from 1886 to 1902 he was a member of the district committee. He was also a co-founder of the crafts school and from 1864 to 1891 a member of the Bad Homburg volunteer fire brigade , its honorary fire director and member of the church council of the Evangelical Lutheran congregation, member of a Frankfurt Masonic lodge , from 1868 lay judge and jury and co-founder of the history association. He was particularly interested in Roman architecture . The idea to rebuild the Saalburg fort goes back to him.

Jacobi was honored with the honorary title of Secret Building Councilor , on his 70th birthday in 1906 with the honorary citizenship of Homburg and in 1907 with the title of Professor .

He is buried in the Evangelical Cemetery in Bad Homburg vor der Höhe . A bust of Louis Jacobi is in the Saalburg Museum. His manuscripts are kept in the Bad Homburg city archive.

His son Heinrich Jacobi continued his work as an architect and Roman provincial archaeologist.

Architectural works

Bust of Louis Jacobi

Louis Jacobi created several public and sacred buildings as well as many private buildings in Bad Homburg and shaped the cityscape, so that it is exaggerated in the Zentralblatt der Bauverwaltung (October 22, 1910) that “there is hardly a house in Homburg that he has not built or at least rebuilt ". The most important buildings, as far as possible, here in chronological order; all in Bad Homburg, unless otherwise stated.

  • Jacobihaus Dorotheenstraße 12
    The home of the builder and his home was a typical Huguenot house , built in 1719 and provided by Jacobi with a largely unique facade ornamentation, which is now a listed building.
  • 1861–65: Reconstruction of the Kurhaus
    Louis Jacobi took over the construction management and worked according to the plans of the Belgian architect Jean-Pierre Cluysenaar .
  • 1869–71: Landgrave monument in the English Garden
  • 1870: Hospital barracks as a wooden structure on brick pillars.
  • 1870–71: Version of the Elisabethenbrunnen. The fountain was later redesigned.
  • 1874: "80s monument" in Wiesbaden, with a Germania statue by the Wiesbaden sculptor Schieß
  • 1876–77: Evangelical Church Gonzenheim
    The newly built nave in the Bad Homburg district of Gonzenheim was inaugurated on December 23, 1877 after the dilapidated church tower had been replaced 30 years earlier.
  • 1877: Jewish community center
  • 1878: wooden Herzberg tower, forerunner of the later built Herzberg tower
  • 1879: Cemetery chapel, Catholic cemetery on Gluckensteinweg
  • 1883: Holderlin memorial
  • 1883: Mortuary / mourning hall in the Jewish cemetery on Gluckensteinweg in an oriental style. The building was renovated in 2010.
  • 1883–1910: Ritters Park Hotel
The "Kaiser Wilhelms Bad"
  • 1887–90: Kaiser-Wilhelms-Bad Bad Homburg
    On March 22, 1887, the 90th birthday of Kaiser Wilhelm I , the foundation stone was laid for the "Kaiser Wilhelms Bad", an important facility in today's spa town of Bad Homburg August 1890 could be inaugurated. This opened an economically successful tourism development in the now prosperous bathing city.
  • 1892: Villa Hammelmann
  • 1892–1901: Reconstruction of Kronberg Castle
Landgrave castle with park and the castle tower
  • 1892–1910: Reconstruction of the Landgrave's Palace
    The Hesse-Homburg Landgrave
    House was heavily in debt and its palace was in poor structural condition when it fell to Prussia in 1866 . In the following period it was used as the emperor's summer residence and continuously expanded under the direction of Louis Jacobi, although not all plans could be implemented.
Russian chapel in the spa gardens of Bad Homburg
  • 1896–99: Russian Chapel
    The Russian Chapel was a gift from the Russian Tsar Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra. It came as a kind of kit and Louis Jacobi took over the construction management, the chapel was built according to the given plans. However, the planned wall paintings could only be executed decades later.
  • 1901: Romanesque hall, extension to Bad Homburg Castle
  • 1901–04: Engelapotheke, conversion of the half-timbered building from 1684.
  • 1903: Clubhouse of the Croquet Club
    Louis Jacobi's plans were accepted and signed by the emperor, but not implemented due to objections.
  • 1903-08: Church of the Redeemer
    Louis Jacobi was temporarily in charge of construction.
  • 1905: Conversion of the Jacobus Church (formerly French-Ref. Church) into the gym of the Homburg gymnastics community 1846 e. V.
  • 1907: Marktlauben
  • 1908: lobby
  • 1908: Well dispatch building
  • 1909–11: Russian parsonage
  • 1910–11: Herzberg Tower
    In June 1911, after his death, the Herzberg Tower was completed according to the plans of Louis Jacobi and his colleague H. Foeller. The plans submitted in 1903 were only approved by Kaiser Wilhelm II in April 1910 . It was a lookout tower on Homburg's “local mountain” next to an excursion restaurant not far from the Saalburg, which is very popular among Bad Homburgers, based on the model of a Roman watchtower - much smaller in the original. It was a replacement for a wooden tower in the same place. The tower was not accessible for a long time due to its dilapidation, but the citizens and the city had donated generously, so that the listed building has been accessible to everyone again since December 2008 for an entrance fee of 50 cents.

Archaeological services

As part of the Reich Limes Commission , Louis Jacobi was route commissioner for the Limes section in the Taunus.

He also participated in several excavations in the Taunus as well as in Italy (1889 in Pompeii ). Some excavations, such as a Roman water pumping system in the area of Friedrichsdorf , were again secured by earth and have not been archaeologically examined again to this day.

The Saalburgbahn around 1900

His most significant building for posterity was the reconstruction of the Roman Limes Fort Saalburg on its Roman foundation walls. Excavation work began in 1853, and in 1870 the work was supported by the establishment of a Saalburg Museum. From 1894 the archaeological excavations of the fort on the Taunus Pass were carried out under Louis Jacobi, parallel to the exploration of the Limes by other scientists and lay people (Reichs-Limeskommission). The world's only reconstruction of a Roman fort took place from 1897 to 1907 on behalf of Kaiser Wilhelm II under Louis Jacobi. The inauguration of the Saalburg by the emperor was one of the most glamorous days in the history of Bad Homburg. Today it is the center of the Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site .

Jacobi's son Heinrich Jacobi was the second director of the Saalburg Museum and ran it for several decades.

The Saalburg also had a Roman-style tram stop, which was in the tram service until 1937, but has been used for beekeeping since the tram was shut down.


  • Johann Christian Rind, the founder of the Bürger-Hospital in Homburg vd Höhe: messages about his life, [work and legacy]. In communications from the Association for History and Antiquity in Homburg vd Höhe. 2, Homburg 1882.
  • with Friedrich von Duhn: The Greek temple in Pompeii: in addition to an appendix on chimneys and a bathing facility in the women's pool of the Stabianer Thermen in Pompeii. Heidelberg 1890.
  • About abuses at weddings, baptisms, funerals etc. in Homburg in the 17th and 18th centuries. In: Communications from the Association for History and Antiquity in Homburg vd Höhe. 4, 1891, pp. 11-20.
  • The holy grave in the reformed cemetery in Homburg vd Höhe (formerly in Gelnhausen). In: Communications from the Association for History and Antiquity in Homburg vd Höhe. 4, 1891, pp. 21-35.
  • The Roman fort Saalburg near Homburg vor der Höhe. Homburg vor der Höhe 1897.
  • The Alteburg-Heftrich fort. In: The Upper German-Raetian Limes of the Roman Empire. Dept. B, 9, Volume 2.1, Heidelberg 1904.
  • Feldberg Fort. In: The Upper German-Raetian Limes of the Roman Empire. Dept. B, 10, Volume 2.1, Heidelberg 1905.
  • Kapersburg Castle. In: The Upper German-Raetian Limes of the Roman Empire. Dept. B, 12, Volume 2.2, Heidelberg 1905.


  • In memory of the secret building councilor Professor Louis Jacobi zu Homburg vd Höhe, who died on September 24, 1910. Biographical description and memorial service compiled from articles from the Homburg “Taunusbote”. Homburg 1910.
  • Jacobi, Louis . In: Hans Vollmer (Hrsg.): General lexicon of fine artists from antiquity to the present . Founded by Ulrich Thieme and Felix Becker . tape 18 : Hubatsch – Ingouf . EA Seemann, Leipzig 1925, p. 246 .
  • Dietwulf BaatzLouis Jacobi. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 10, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1974, ISBN 3-428-00191-5 , p. 231 ( digitized version ).
  • Adrian Clemens: Louis Jacobi - citizen, architect and local researcher. Comments on the 70th anniversary of his death on September 24, 1980. In: Alt-Homburg. No. 9, 1980, pp. 144-145.
  • Alfred Biallas: Louis Jacobi 1836–1910, master builder and citizen of Homburg. Exhibition, Gotisches Haus from April 23 to June 8, 1986, Bad Homburg v. d. H. 1986.
  • Friederike Ulbricht, Silke Fiebich: Architecture and photography: from the Jacobi estate; a trip with the camera; an exhibition in the Bad Homburg Castle Church. Bad Homburg v. d. H. 1989.
  • Barbara Dölemeyer: The builder and his emperor. Kaiser Wilhelm II., Louis Jacobi and the Saalburg. In: One hundred years of Saalburg. Zabern, Mainz 1997, pp. 28-32.
  • Barbara Dölemeyer: Louis Jacobi and his time. Homburg architect and citizen - reconstructor of the Saalburg (= messages from the Association for History and Regional Studies in Bad Homburg vor der Höhe. 59). Association for History and Regional Studies Bad Homburg, 2010, ISBN 978-3-933921-12-3 .
  • Ruxandra-Maria Jotzu: Louis Jacobi. Bad Homburg and its builder. Societäts-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2010, ISBN 978-3-7973-1244-0 .

Web links

Commons : Louis Jacobi  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Freemasons open a newspaper article by Anke Hillebrecht; Taunus Zeitung from March 18, 2017 on the Frankfurter Neue Presse website
  2. ^ Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. September 4, 2010, p. 55.