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Mountain houses near Empress Maria Theresia – tunnels


After the attack on the Empress Maria Theresia Stollen, which was called Kaiser Franz Stollen until 1808, with great solemnity on September 26, 1775, the kk Ministerial - Banko - Hof - Deputation approved the construction of a mountain house on Steinbalfen with a resolution of February 25, 1782 , the later so-called "Old Mountain House".

The building, which was built in 1783, originally contained one large and two small servants' rooms and a kitchen on the ground floor, on the first floor two master rooms, a kitchen and a room with a chamber for one spectator. The construction costs were 2,693 fl 30 kr. (in 2020 approx. €53,900 monetary value according to the “Historical Currency Calculator”,

The core substance of the Old Theresia Berghaus took up a floor plan area of 15.2 x 9.8 m, reached an eaves height of 6.9 m and a ridge height of 10.7 m. The double roof truss was covered with larch boards and in the eaves area with sheet metal strips . The living conditions can be illustrated by the fact that 24 servants slept on the ground floor on 44.5 m², while the viewer alone had a 18.5 m² bedroom at his disposal.

As early as 1784, the mountain forge was built as the second mountain building directly at the mouth of the Maria Theresia tunnel.



Figure 1: Forge and old Theresia Berghaus, around 1840, Archiv Salinen Austria AG


Figure 2: Old Theresia Berghaus, around 1845, Archiv Salinen Austria AG


Figure 3: Old Theresia Berghaus, sectional view, around 1845, Archiv Salinen Austria AG


Figure 4: Bergschmiede, 1841, Archiv Salinen Austria AG


Figure 5: Forge, sectional view with water wheel, forge and tunnel mouth, 1841, Archiv Salinen Austria AG

On October 22, 1791, a fire broke out in the servants' kitchen of the old mountain house , which was contained without causing any major damage.

Because of the dilapidation and the need to create new living quarters, the forge was rebuilt in the years 1846 - 1847 according to the plans of the draughtsman Drexler. In addition to the blacksmith's and grinder's room, the iron room and the turning room, the new mountain forge also housed the apartment of the third mountain juror and an institution room from the old Theresia mountain house. In the old mountain house , the space that was freed up as a result could be converted into urgently needed sleeping quarters for miners.


Figure 6: Bergschmiede conversion plan, Drexler, around 1845, Salinen Austria archive

In the middle of the 19th century, the number of employees at the Ischler Salzberg rose sharply. Therefore, there was a great shortage of accommodation for workers and office space. For this reason, the Ministry for Regional Culture and Mining approved the construction of a "New Theresia Berghaus" on the Bergmeisterwiese, which was only reclaimed in 1833, with a decision dated June 29, 1850.

In this building, built between 1850 and 1851, there was originally a living room and a storeroom on the ground floor, the mountain viewer's apartment and a consultation room on the 1st floor and the workers' apartment on the 2nd floor. The construction costs for the New Theresia Berghaus were 5,697 fl 50 kr. (in 2020 approx. €114,000 monetary value).


Figure 7: Mountain buildings, site plan, 1842, Archiv Salinen Austria AG


Figure 8: Bergschmiede, 1867, Archiv Salinen Austria AG


Figure 9: Old Theresia Berghaus, 1867, archive Salinen Austria AG

In 1878, three new stoves were installed in the old Theresia Berghaus in place of the two existing open fireplaces, and the two old fireplaces that could be stowed were converted into more modern Russian designs.


Figure 10: New Theresia Berghaus, 1867, archive Salinen Austria AG

As early as 1897, electricity was introduced into the apartments of the lesser servants (Mineral Masters) living in the Bergschmiede and in the New Theresia Berghaus . For the connection of one incandescent light in each apartment, the apartment owners had to pay an annual light interest of 3 K 70 h (in 2020 a monetary value of approx. 27 €) from 1903 onwards.

In order to meet the requirements of the health regulations laid down in the decree of November 11, 1899 with regard to the accommodation of workers, the Ministry of Finance approved an extension to the Alte Theresia Berghaus in 1901 to remedy the prevailing lack of space. In this extension, a washroom (master and worker's bathroom) was built in the basement and a worker's bedroom on the ground floor and on the first floor. From now on there were 1 kitchen, 1 pantry, 1 wardrobe and 2 bedrooms for 37 workers on the ground floor in the Old Theresia Berghaus, on the 1st floor 1 kitchen, 1 chamber, 1 wardrobe and 3 bedrooms for a workforce of 49 workers. In the years 1907 and 1908, 2 rooms and 2 chambers for the supervisory staff could be created through a conversion in the attic. Finally, in 1908, a worker's bedroom for a workforce of 32 was gained through further conversion. Altogether there were sleeping quarters for 118 workers in the old Theresia Berghau .


Figure 11: Old Theresia Berghaus, staff kitchen, 1936, Kranabitl archive


Figure 12: Old Theresia Berghaus, crew quarters, 1936, Kranabitl archive

In 1899 a 2nd floor was built onto the forge . This made it possible to create additional rooms for storing stuff and a foreman's apartment. After the introduction of a new climber's office, the stuff storage rooms had to be converted into another apartment.


In 1910, a ground-level extension was built on the east side of the forge for the installation of a power generator for the electrical lighting of the day buildings and for the forge shop. After the mountain forge was converted to electric operation, the water river built on the east side, including the water tank and wheel hut, was removed in 1913 and another ground-level extension was built on its foundations.


Figure 13: Bergschmiede, 1910, Archiv Salinen Austria AG

In 1911, a flush toilet meeting the sanitary requirements was built in the New Theresia Berghaus for the chancellery on the ground floor. In 1913, the vaulted chancellery rooms on the ground floor were fitted with new tram ceilings for better use of space and lighting.


Figure 14: New Theresia Berghaus, around 1910, Archiv Salinen Austria AG

The Empress Maria Theresia tunnel has been in use since 1933 as an entry tunnel for foreign visitors. For this purpose, a dressing room and lounge for visitors was created in the forge . When the visitors had cooled down and rested, they reported to the mine guide in the dressing room at the specified entry times and, after paying the tax and making an entry in the inspection book, were handed out their pit clothing.


Figure 15: Berschmiede, entrance for foreigners, 1936, Kranabitl archive


Figure 16: Mountain building, 1930, Archiv Salinen Austria AG

In 1949, a new toilet facility was installed in the old Theresia Berghaus , including a sewage system and a dining area for the staff. The factory pool in the old Theresia Berghaus , which consisted of a crew room with 4 showers, 6 wash basins and a master bathroom with 2 Roman bath tubs, proved to be far too small for the 120-strong workforce. In addition, it in no way corresponded to the necessary hygienic requirements. In 1952 the old factory pool was completely redesigned. From now on it consisted of a changing room, a team bathroom with 10 showers and 10 wash basins as well as 3 separate bathrooms. The old 200 liter bath stove was replaced by two 500 liter electric boilers. A hot air device was installed for space heating. In addition, all bathrooms were lined with wall and floor tiles.

In 1959, the extension of the existing extension of the mountain forge was raised by 3 m by building a 42 cm thick brick wall. As a result of the conversion, the changing room for foreign visitors was enlarged by 48 m² by incorporating the old material office and 2 new material offices with an area of 38 m² were created. In addition, a new material magazine of 29 m² was created.


Illustration 17 : Bergschmiede, forge workshop, 1936, archive Salinen Austria AG


Figure 18: Forge, storage of stuff, 1951, archive Salinen Austria AG

Until the mining company moved from Perneck to the Kaiser Franz Josef Erbstollen on July 1, 1989, the external miners were able to spend the night in the old Theresia Berghaus, also known as the "Miners' House". At that time the workforce consisted of 2 foremen and 26 workers. From now on, the Perneck mining area was driven through the central shaft by Emperor Franz Josef Erbstollen and the old and new Theresia Berghaus lost their purpose.

The old Theresia Berghaus was demolished in 1999 and the new Theresia Berghaus was sold for private use.


Figure 19: Demolition of the old Theresia Berghaus, 1999, Feichtinger archive

After the above-ground facilities were relocated to the Kaiser Franz Josef Erbstollen, the mine's visitor operations were maintained and partially redesigned during the summer months. In 1993, a showroom with exhibits and display boards from the Vienna Technical Museum on salt and brine production was set up in the former forge . In the year 2000, the mine visitor operation at the Ischl salt mine, now operated by Salinen Tourismus GmbH, was finally discontinued for reasons of expected, necessary investments and probably also because of insufficient visitor frequency. Now the building of the former mountain smithy had lost its purpose. The demolition of the mountain forge finally took place in September 2020.


Figure 20: Demolition Bergschmiede, 2020, Feichtinger archive

In addition to the 3 large mountain houses mentioned, there were a number of other important outbuildings in the area of the Maria Theresia tunnel:


The carpentry opposite the mountain smithy, which was created in 1936 from the conversion of an old barn, the carbide hut for the safe installation of carbide lamps and carbide supplies on the bridge over the Radgrabenbach , the lumber magazine built in 1951 in place of an old storage barn and the coal hut above the mountain smithy, the 1867 mountain saw transferred from the Steinberg next to the old mountain house and a powder depot built in 1883 on the access road to the Hinterrad.


Figure 21: Ladwerkstadl relocation, 1852, archive Salinen Austria AG


Figure 22: Carpentry, 2012, Nussbaumer Archive


Figure 23: Carpentry, joiner's workshop, 1951, archive Salinen Austria AG


Figure 24: Ladwerkstadl building, 1951, archive Salinen Austria AG


Figure 25: Ladwerkstadl building, 1951, archive Salinen Austria AG


Figure 26: Ladwerkstadl, 2012, Nussbaumer archive


Figure 27: Mountain saw, 2015, Kranabitl archive


Figure 28: Mountain saw, 2015, Kranabitl archive


Figure 29: Carbide hut, 2015, Kranabitl archive


Figure 30: Bauholzstadl on Radgrabenstraße, 1990, Feichtinger Archive


Figure 31: Powder depot at Sulzbach, 1883, Archiv Salinen Austria AG


Figure 32: New Theresia Berghaus, 2013, Kranabitl archive

Sources used:

Ischl camp book, no. 11 "Bergschmiede", 1908, transcription by Thomas Nussbaumer, July 1, 2018

Ischler Lagerbuch No. 12 "Altes Theresia Berghaus", 1908, transcription Thomas Nussbaumer, 13 06 2019

Ischl camp book no. 13 "New Theresia Berghaus", 1908, transcription Thomas Nussbaumer, 09 10 2020

Josef Hütter "The Ischler Salzberg in words and pictures", manuscript, Bad Ischl 1938

Franz Idam "Maria Theresia Stollen", manuscript Internet

Ischl home club "Bad Ischl home book 2004", Bad Ischl 2004

Georg Chancellor "Ischl's chronicle", Ischl 1881, reprint Bad Ischl 1983

Michael Kefer "Hand Karten des Ischler Salzberges", 1829, Transcription Nussbaumer, as of April 30, 2019

Leopold Schiendorfer "Perneck - A Village Through the Ages", Linz 2006

Carl Schraml "The Upper Austrian Salt Works from 1818 to the end of the Salt Office in 1850", Vienna 1936

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