Elisabeth Ludovika
Oil painting by Karl Wilhelm Wach
[Berlin 1787 – 1845 ebenda]

Elisabeth Ludovika [Munich 1801 - 1873 Dresden],
Queen of Prussia, was also known as Elise; the Elisentower was named after her.
Her Highness, née Crown princess of Bavaria, became the spouse of His Highness, the Crown prince and future King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia in 1823.

The Elisentower is situated on the Elisenhöhe 1 [Elise height], the highest point of the Botanical Gardens [230 m height over sea level] auf der Hardt” in Wuppertal-Elberfeld, on the right-hand side of the river Wupper, and the north side of the Hardt mountain. Around 1850 it was converted into the 21.40 metres high Elisen-observation tower.
The tower was named in honour of Elisabeth Ludovika of Bavaria, known as Elise, who was the consort of Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia. In 1820 the textile manufacturer and town councillor Engelbert Eller founded his country seat with villa, orangery and office “auf der Hardt”. In1838 on the foundations of an old windmill from 1812, Engelbert Eller had the tower converted into an observatory with a powerful telescope.

Der Elisenturm in den 1840er Jahren
Elisentower in the 1840s
Eller‘s contemporaries knew this tower also by the name of Eller-Tower.
His merry widow, according to the legend, is said to have celebrated well into the 1940s, literally “nude culture” in the beautiful big domed hall. Mme Eller transferred the ownership of this estate to the German Red Cross which in turn, in 1907, transferred ownership to the City of Wuppertal. In 1910 the Elisenpark, which surrounds the tower, was integrated into the Botanical Gardens of 1890.
In World War II the lookout post of the Elisentower was used for spotting enemy fighter and bomber squadrons. On the handrail of the bannisters metal plaques with the names of national and international towns and their distances in flight kilometres could be seen. The soldatesken had left their traces which were then in need of refurbishing. However, as reported in the press on 10th September 1953, the Elisentower was not in a “dilapidated” state.
Elisenturm mit Schornstein und Späherhäuschen
Elisentower with chimne
and lookout post
After World War II - from March 1946 to 1954 - the futurefashion designer for DOB,
Werner LoeCherbach, spent his childhood together with his parents in the Elisentower.
He is a first-hand witness who can clarify any misunderstandings.
Model 1964
Elisenturm mit Gerüst versehen.
Today, after a thorough renovation of the Elisentower in the 1960‘s, it is possible to visit it as a member of a guided tour. The magnificent and elegant domed hall can be reached via a narrow staircase, passable only in single file, nevertheless it is very popular with couples for wedding ceremonies.
Elisentower with scaffolding.
Lookout post still visible.
heute

References:
Lomberg, August: >Was uns die Hardt erzählt< c. 1928
Carl Wilhelm Wach: Elisabeth Ludovika v. Pr.
With kind permission from the SMPK
Franz Koenen:>Die Elisenhöhe bei Elberfeld< 1840er Jahre, Lithographie.
With kind permission from theHistorisches Zentrum Wuppertal
Postkarte Bbc 7:>W.-Elberfeld, Botanischer Garten< vor Angriff 1943
Ausschnitt: Elisenturm mit Späherhäuschen. Sammlung W. LoeCherbach
LoeCherbach, Werner: >Im Elisenturm – Zeitzeuge von 1946 – 1954<
General Anzeiger, 10. September 1963: >Auf der Hardt kann man bald fernsehen<
Elisenturm. Photo: Neumann, Zeis.
MWith kind permission from Dr. S. Leckebusch of the Bergischen GeschichtsVerein

 

Copyright © 2012, Werner LoeCherbach

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