Visitors rarely see attics. They are a warehouse, retreat or a place for technical installations. In the new TZ series, we dedicate ourselves to the hidden floors in Bad Homburg buildings and check what relics and secrets are hidden under the roofs. Admission is the primary school of Dornholzhausen.
Bad Homburg – When the Dornholzhausen Primary School was inaugurated in October 1954, after about fourteen months of construction, an independent site was given a modern building that offered space for four classes. Almost 70 years have passed since then and the school had to be constantly adapted to the growing number of students or to more modern teaching requirements. New parts of the building were built, the old ones had to be rebuilt and renovated. Today, the complex, which now houses twelve classes, is nothing like the local small school. Only if you climb the stairs to the first floor of the former old building and turn right into the student library will you come across an old wooden staircase that not only leads to the roof but is possibly the last visible original feature of the old school building.
The stairs go up 18 steps, and then there is a view into the attic of the primary school – a huge room about 30 meters long and 10 meters wide. The gable roof is about four meters high at its highest point. The roof rests on brown steel girders. Between them there are wooden beams supporting the blue insulation material. Together with the sunlight that enters through the light openings in the ridge, the room has a bright, pleasant atmosphere.
“It’s a bit chaotic here,” says director Monika Arens. Indeed, at first glance, chairs and tables are scattered around the room in some places where toy boxes are stacked here and there, in the back of the badger on the floor and benches there are colorful papier-mâché structures of various sizes.
Tiger as a farewell gift from 4c from 2010
However, if you look closely, you will see that there are notes hanging on the crossbars that define which area of the school the items belong to and give the whole a certain order. For example, a small, colorful plastic kitchen and a wooden toy store are part of ‘surveillance’. On the right is a handmade Advent Calendar waiting for you to replenish your handmade bags in four months.
Props small and large are stored in the back. Children, parents and educators performed them and painted them for many musicals that have been played over the years. Huge colorful lollipops and pieces of yellow cheese, red pepper and a teapot with a cup saucer and lying next to each other. All things are used over and over again in new performances. Next to the “vegetables” there is a tiger, also made of paper mache. It is – as it is written on its two front legs – a farewell gift from girls and boys from class 4c who went to junior high in the summer of 2010. If there were ever to be a wild animal musical, the tiger would have to go to the “vet” first – it has a broken tail and is in danger of falling off sooner or later.
Pictures adorned the lantern float in 2004
On the table next to the large kettle are two paintings on thin wooden panels. They are almost square, about three meters by three meters. One picture shows an elementary school with the entrance to an old building, the other is designed like a blackboard. “These photos are from 2004,” says Arens. At the time, primary school was 50 years old, and some parents and their children designed a Lantern Festival float for the occasion.
And this is what it says on the picture with the blackboard: “Homework: Have fun at the Lantern Festival!” Truly historic things, such as the school desks from the first days, no longer exist. Most of these items were thrown away during the major renovation of the primary school in 2004 because they were either taking up too much space or were mostly useless. Only an old sewing machine from the 1930s, operated with a foot, stands unnoticed in the corner by the chimney and reminds us of the times when older girls were still learning needlework in elementary school.
Diagonally there is an old music board, on which on the left side there is a keyboard for hitting the notes, which can then be written by ear on the staff of the board next to it.
“Unfortunately, the great globe does not exist anymore,” the director regrets. In the late 1950s, some students, under the guidance of a teacher, made a human-sized paper-pulp globe on which countries and mountains were carved. For about 20 years it stood in the corner of the last class on the first floor, which also served as a music room and an auditorium for school enrollment. The globe has accompanied generations of students and for many it was a kind of symbol for those times. “In fact, people still come to school every now and then and ask if the great globe still exists,” says Arens.