Infobox Ort in Deutschland
Wappen = Wappen_von_guckheim_2.png
lat_deg = 50 |lat_min = 31 |lat_sec = 46
lon_deg = 7 |lon_min = 56 |lon_sec = 57
Lageplan = Guckheim im Westerwaldkreis.png
Bundesland = Rheinland-Pfalz
Landkreis = Westerwaldkreis
Verbandsgemeinde = Westerburg
Höhe = 335
Fläche = 3.77
Einwohner = 916
Stand = 2006-12-31
PLZ = 56459
Vorwahl = 06435
Kfz = WW
Gemeindeschlüssel = 07 1 43 228
Adresse = Gemeinde Guckheim
Adresse-Verband = Neumarkt 1
Website = [http://www.guckheim.de/ www.guckheim.de]
Bürgermeister = Werner Kurowski
Guckheim is an "Ortsgemeinde" – a community belonging to a "
Verbandsgemeinde" – in the Westerwaldkreisin Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.
Guckheim, mainly a residential community with a well developed club life, lies in the low mountain range of the
Westerwald, part of the Rhenish Slate Mountains, roughly 330 m above sea level. The community’s highest point at 657 m above sea level is the Fuchskaute in the northeast Westerwald. Its lowest point at about 150 m above sea level is found in the Gelbachtal Valley between Kirchährand Dies. The community belongs to the "Verbandsgemeinde" of Westerburg, a kind of collective municipality found only in Rhineland-Palatinate.
The Elbbach flows right by Guckheim and empties into the river
As a legacy of a sea that once covered the area in
Devoniantimes, a great deal of clayunderlies Guckheim, having also been quarried for decades in the immediate vicinity. After clay quarrying is finished, affected areas are recultivated. The quarrying leaves typical traces on the land, such as loss of surface vegetation, unsightliness, and recultivation perceived as inadequate, which have been publicly controversial for years in Guckheim. In the past, there has also been limited brown coal mining (first mentioned in documents in 1746, lasted until 1847) and basaltquarrying (until 1928).
Ortsteile" are Wörsdorf and Guckheim. Both these once autonomous communities have over time have grown together into today’s united community. Nevertheless, in speech, the distinction between the two is still made. Older Guckheimers even still make the distinction between inhabitants who are "Guggemer" (from the old Guckheim) and those who are "Werschdörfer" (from the old Wörsdorf). The old placename Wörsdorf hardly ever appears on maps anymore (Google Maps is an exception), and is thereby dying out.
Settlement and placenames’ origins
As of the 13th century, the community belonged to the County of Diez. From 1490, Guckheim, together with Wörsdorf (Wersdorf), was assigned to the Salzer Zech.
On 27 July 1564, Guckheim, along with the parishes of
Salz, Meudt, Nentershausenand Hundsangenwas ceded to the Electorate of Trierin the Treaty of Diez, and thereby also ended up in the "Amt" of Montabaur.
Thirty Years' Waralso left its mark on Guckheim. In 1666, the only family names left in Guckheim were Göbel, Fasel and Gleser. In Wörsdorf, the names Kiep, Schumacher, Born, New (Neu), Fritz, Zeis, Göbel and Fasel can be confirmed from that time. Stories handed down by word of mouth tell of inhabitants being tortured during the war years in the constituent community of Guckheim opposite the village cross.
As of 1748, there was organized schooling in Guckheim, held at various people’s houses at different times. Once Matthias Fasel, a teacher from Wörsdorf, was appointed, instruction began in 1820 in a schoolroom rented by the community at the so-called "Perersch Haus". On the
Duchy of Nassaugovernment’s instructions, Matthias Fasel began the Guckheim school chronicle. In 1832 came a community decision to build a school building, which was dedicated on 4 November 1833. [Data lie mainly in research by Manfred Schaaf, Hainburg/Bilkheim]
The former building on the
Chapel’s current site stood until 1948 on the Rothenberg and faced the same way. The exact time when the old building came into being cannot be confirmed, but it is believed that it was built in two sections. A clue to the building’s origins can be said to be a stone with the yeardate 1771 chiselled into it. This was found while the building was being torn down.
The decision to build a new and bigger chapel was made in 1947. Grounds for a new building were the old chapel’s great repair needs, an endowment of about 6,000 "Reichsmark" – it had been pledged towards the construction before currency reform – and the hope that on some occasions church services could be held within the community, which did not have its own church. Building began on 27 September 1948, and the cornerstone was laid on 22 May 1949. The topping-out ceremony was held on 26 September 1949. As the architect who designed the chapel, Rudolf Hack from
Westerburgwas trusted with the planning work. On 12 November 1950, the "Muttergottes-Kapelle" received ecclesiastical consecration.
Since the building project had to be financed through the community’s own resources, the needed funds were raised on the one hand by monthly door-to-door collections, in which even neighbouring communities took part, and on the other hand by the community’s donation of a greater sum as well as the lumber. Further funds were raised by producing plays on the Römmel. There, plays were staged between 1948 and 1952 with presenters from the community itself. [Festschrift zur Einweihung der neuen Kirche in Guckheim am 16. Juni 1963, herausgegeben vom Vorstand der Kath. Kapellengemeinde Guckheim, aufgezeichnet von Karl Jung III.]
In the late 1950s, the seating room in the Mother of God Chapel was becoming less and less adequate to serve the growing community’s needs. A proposal to hold two services on Sundays and holidays could not be fulfilled owing to a dearth of priests. Given this, plans were made with the architect Hans Busch from
Frankfurt am Main, who was well known for his sacral buildings, to enlarge the chapel and add a new belltower.
Hans Busch was trusted with the planning, but only the third proposal won the Bishop’s blessing. On the Church’s recommendation, it was decided to forgo the belltower and the planned youth centre owing to cost.
Building began in the summer of 1961 on the Weltersbitz meadowlands. The cornerstone was laid on 1 October 1961. Until early 1962, the building shell was being put up. The topping-out ceremony was held on 17 May 1962. The consecration was finally done on 16 June 1963, although the first services had already been held the foregoing Christmas. ["ibid."]
The "St. Johanneskirche" (“Saint John’s Church”) is a markedly plain building with a rectangular plan, a shed roof that drops off towards the west and a sacristy in the side building adjoining it to the north. Owing to the roof’s shape, the east-facing altar has the highest headroom. The one-naved church room with gallery is girded with thick walls made out of quarried
basalt, a typical local building material.
The church room is lit through one horizontal and several vertical banks of windows with glass mosaics. The south-facing horizontal bank of windows has mosaics depicting the story of
Christ’s suffering. The belltower was never built.
Economy and infrastructure
Lying roughly 35 km east of
Koblenz, halfway between the agglomerations of Frankfurt am Mainand Cologne, Guckheim has at its disposal a good transport infrastructure with the new InterCityExpressstations in Montabaurand Limburg an der Lahn, the A 3 ( Cologne–Frankfurt; interchange at Diez/Nentershausen) and " Bundesstraßen" 8 and 255, all found nearby.
Sightseeing and recreation
Guckheim is framed by nearby broadleaf and fir forests in which it is worth going for a walk. Worthy of special mention are the nature trail for forestry and ornithology on the Rothenberg an the nearby ruins of the Weltersburg (castle), built after 1100, both of which can easily be reached on foot from Guckheim. The Elbbach flows right by Guckheim to the
Lahn. With its water power, the mill was powered centuries ago. Some 5 km away is found Schloss Westerburg (residential castle), first mentioned in 1192. Furthermore, lying roughly 10 km away, between Pottumund Stahlhofen is the Wiesensee (lake) and its accompanying recreation area. The lake is some 450 m high and has an area of about 80 ha.
About 750 m from Guckheim, an 11-km-long, popular hiking trail leads from the direction of
Wallmerodto the former railway area in Westerburg. The trail, which is also used by cyclists and skaters, is to be extended in the next few years by 10 to 20 km towards Höhn/ Rennerodacross the railway bridge, a protected monument, in Westerburg.
Barbara Krekel; "Guckheim, Geschichte und Geschichten aus einem Westerwald-Dorf", publisher: Ortsgemeinde Guckheim, 318 pages, ISBN 3-929745-71-2
* [http://www.guckheim.de/ Guckheim] de icon
* [http://www2.genealogy.net/vereine/ArGeWe/wewa4/VG-Westerburg/guckheim.html Further information on Guckheim from Manfred Schaaf] de icon
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