History, Architecture, Gardens
The property was first mentioned in a charter book of the monastery of Fulda between 750 and 779 and was initially a fief of the Lords of Eppstein until the Archbishop of Mainz acquired it completely in 1369. From then on the vassals called themselves Lords Rau of Holzhausen, one of the knights on the eastern bank of the Rhine.
The last member of the Rau family served as an officer in the Hessian army. When Hesse-Kassel became part of Prussia he refused to join the Prussian army and sold all his property to the ambassador's delegate, Stumm.
The new owner, Ferdinand Stumm, was a member of a famous family of industrialists. He became imperial ambassador in Madrid and was ennobled by Kaiser Friedrich in 1888. Many famous lords, earls, and dukes were his guests, among others Kaiser Friedrich and the Duke of Hesse.
He resigned as an envoy in 1890 and died in 1925, which left him 35 years to take care of the castle and its park. His eldest son, Ferdinand von Stumm, inherited the castle and sold the complete Holzhausen property in 1937. The castle was bought by the Kerkhoff Foundation in Bad Nauheim and then leased to the University of Giessen as a site for experiments in agriculture.
The forest was sold to Mr. von Waldhausen, while the castle and the adjacent park were made available to the public. A school was founded in the castle for the training of kindergarten teachers.
After having been confiscated as Nazi property by the Allied forces in 1945, the castle and the park became property of the state of Hesse and were put at the disposal of Justus Liebig University Giessen as a conference centre.
The castle of Rauischholzhausen was designed by the architect Carl Schaefer, a student of Gottlieb Ungewitter, in the style of Klein-Potsdam. The construction lasted from 1871 to 1878 and the castle was lavishly decorated. In 1873 the building collapsed, because the foundations had been badly laid. Carl Jonas Mylius and Alfred Friedrich Bluntschli, both students of the architect Semper, were commissioned to redesign the castle according to Schaefer’s original concept. In 1875, construction of the roof and the south-east wing was completed. The main building, reminiscent of an English manor house, was finished a year later. In 1878 the half-timbered wing of the building was completed.
When Rau von Holzhausen first lived on the location of today´s castle he stayed at the castle mill, which is located at the lower entrance to the park and was built in the 16th century. In today’s pond there was a water castle which could be approached through the large portal which still adorns the atrium of the castle. The door frame is decorated by a lion’s head with a ring in its mouth and the Ionic columns may be identified as belonging to the Renaissance style.
The extensive park is designed in English style and contains almost three hundred different types of trees. Two creeks run through the park and form several ponds connected by artificial cascading waterfalls.
There are several marble sculptures in the gardens. The statues often show figures from Roman mythology. The sculptures are part of the art collection of Ferdinand Eduard von Stumm, who built the castle in the 1870s. Today they belong to the Giessen University Collections. For further information on the sculpture collection, please consult the website of the collection coordination.