Postcard motif from the 1950s
Since its inception, the Wiesbauer has accompanied a moving and remarkable history.
The tragedy that took place at the Wiesbauer in 2009 had already happened some time ago. Also in 1910 the building burned. At that time the whole farm was burnt down. Josef Köpf, the great-grandfather of Hermann Köpf, inherited the indebted farm. After the fire, he was faced with ruin. The rebuilding of the Wiesbauer also entailed costs.
In 1928 Josef Köpf opened a summer inn in the main building. In addition, he managed to provide overnight accommodation. He let five rooms to travelers, and also to vacationers. With the revenues, the debts were gradually settled. However, over the winter months the inn had to be closed because the rooms were not heated, and no hot food could be prepared. Another source of income promised to be the dairy farming, which was run alongside the restaurant.
Josef Köpf with his grandchild Otto
Otto and Gregor Köpf with a pike from the Hopfensee
Until 1946, Josef Köpf was the host of the estate until he handed over the farm to his son Gregor Köpf. Gregor Köpf continued the inn and dairy industry. In addition to this work, he also pursued his activities as a fisherman. It was his passion to look for pikes in the neighboring Hopfensee. His son Otto accompanied him often.
After the Second World War the Wiesbauer was transformed into a children’s home of the protestant church. Between 1948 and 1958 more than 60 children found accommodation here with Gregor Köpf. They were all children of the “ruined women” and came from the Augsburg area.
18 years later, in 1964 Gregor Köpf handed over the estate to his son Otto Köpf. The enthusiasm for the profession of a fisherman also spilled over to Otto Köpf. Like his father, Otto took his son Hermann to the Hopfensee. The catch from the Hopfensee was put out in an aquarium, which stood in the restaurant. The guests could then choose which fish they wanted to eat.
Until 1964 Gregor and Walburga Köpf led the Wiesbauer
The Wiesbauer was well known for its good cuisine. Also with the excellent fish specialties the restaurant became a good name. Agriculture and the guest house – managing them both was time consuming and a lot of effort. That is why Otto Köpf decided to give up agriculture in 1994.
Since the excistense of the building, it has always been renovated. In 1990 the kitchen was enlarged. 1995 the barn and stable were modified into apartments and rooms.
The first major construction activities took place in 1998/1999. The restaurant was torn down completely, and a new generous annex, as it is still found today, was built up. Over the years the family renovated and renewed again and again rooms and apartments, in order to ensure a consistently high standard. In 2005 the terrace was extended to a large beer garden with a view of the mountain Säuling and the Neuschwanstein Castle. Josef Köpf was the one who planted the old linden tree 100 years ago, which still gives shade to visitors in the beer garden today. In 2004, the apartments were renovated.
The senior citizens Otto and Vicky Köpf (front) and the management Hermann and Zeljka Köpf with their daughters Marija (left) and Ivana (right)
Since 2001, Hermann Köpf has had the reins of the Wiesbauer in his hand. Otto Köpf, who has discovered his fate as a bee master, still supports his son actively. Mother Vicky is still there with advice and deed to help and occasionally helps in the kitchen.
Then fate struck a second time.
It was a devastating fire, which had ruined all the rooms of the hotel in May 2009. It took hours for the 200 firemen of the surrounding fire brigades to get the flames under control. The Köpf family had to witness how everything built over decades had been destroyed.
The cause of the fire which started in a small barn and spread quickly to the adjoining apartments and guest rooms is unexplained up to now. The entire attic floor as well as large parts of the upper floor burned down, including the living quarters of the Köpf family, situated under the roof. Hermann Köpf, wife Zeljka and the two daughters had to move in with the parents in the neighboring building. In addition, there was immense water damage on the ground floor due to the fire water and also in the kitchen. It was only possible to prevent the flames from reaching the restaurant. The fire caused several million Euros of damage.
The Wiesbauer is the life’s work of the family. Therefore, the reconstruction of the country hotel was started promptly. After eleven months of construction, the Wiesbauer shone in old splendor. Not much has changed on the outside. The previous dormer windows have been omitted. The battered intermediate ceilings were replaced by solid ceilings. On the whole, a quality improvement for hotel accommodation was achieved. The spa and meeting area as well as an elevator have been added. And, of course, the fire protection is up to date. Apart from that, the Wiesbauer looks the same as before the fire.
At Easter 2010, Familie Köpf resumed both the restaurant and hotel business. They have survived this terrible tragedy and the long-awaited everyday life has returned to the family’s life. Friends and relatives supported the Kopf’s during the reconstruction. After this experience, one thing is clear to Hermann Köpf. One for all and all for one. “It doesn’t work without a family. They give support and courage to continue. Even without my wife, Zeljka, who always stands behind me, I would be lost.” says Hermann Köpf.
Text: Regina Berkmiller/AZV | Foto: Martin Peter/AZV