Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Darmstadt

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DARMSTADT, the capital of the grand duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt, in the province of Starkenburg, is situated on the River Darm, fifteen miles south of Frankfort-on-the-Maine. It is the residence of the grand duke, and the seat of the Government of the province and of the grand duchy. In 1875 there was a population of 37,253; including the neighbouring village of Bessungen, it was 44,088. Darmstadt consists of an old and a new town, the streets of the former being narrow and gloomy. The latter, which includes the greater part of the city, contains broad streets and several fine squares, in one of which is a column surmounted by the statue of the grand duke Louis I., the founder of the new town. There are four churches, the Roman Catholic church being the most imposing, and a synagogue, recently built. Of the remaining buildings the most noteworthy are the two grand ducal palaces, the arsenal, and the theatre. The Grand Ducal Museum includes a library of nearly 500,000 volumes, with 4000 MSS., a gallery of 700 pictures, a valuable natural history collection, besides coins, drawings, engravings, &c. In the Cabinet Museum there is a library of 60,000 volumes. The town possesses a gymnasium, two Real schools, and a technical school; and there are various societies, such as the Agricultural Society, the Historical Society, the Middle Rhine Geological Society, and the Society of Architects. Among the chief manufactures are carpets, hats, jewellery, and tobacco; and there is a considerable trade in seeds of different kinds, and in wine. There are many pleasant walks in the neighbourhood, which is well wooded, and several of the palace gardens are open to the public.

EB9 Darmstadt.png

Plan of Darmstadt.

    9. Ständehaus.
  10. Town Hall.
  11. Town Church.
  12. Gymnasium.
  13. Polytechnium.
  14. Palace of Prince Louis.
  15. Catholic Church.
  16. Palace of Prince Charles.
and Library.
  17. Cavalry Barracks.

Darmstadt is mentioned in the 11th century, but in the 14th century it was still a village, held by the Counts of Katzenellnbogen. It came by marriage into the possession of the house of Hesse in 1479, the male line of the house of Katzenellnbogen having in that year become extinct. The imperial army took it in the Schmalkaldic war, and destroyed the old castle. In 1567, after the death of Philip the Magnanimous, his youngest son George received Darmstadt and chose it as his residence. He was the founder of the line of Hesse-Darmstadt.