he Gernsbach region was first settled around the year 1000 and is first documented in the year I219 at which time it is referred to as the "Genrespach Villa". The Eberstein castle was first occupied in the year 1250 and Gernsbach became the center of the Ebersteiner sovereignty. In 1387, half the town became the property of the Margraves of Baden and a shared dominance of the area between Eberstein and Baden came into existence. In 1417, the town was almost completely destroyed by fire.
Starting in 1555, the age of reformation, religious discord stuck the town following the awarding of the Saint Jacobs Church to the Protestants. Serfdom and chattel slavery was abolished in this region in 1583. The Ebersteiner Earls' line was broken in 1660 and the poverty stricken town was passed to Speyerische-Badische sovereignty.
Like most of the local towns, the village of Gernsbach was pillaged in 1796 and a major fire completely destroyed the buildings. It was shortly following this, in 1800, that the forest the town relied on so heavily was destroyed and the town sank into abject poverty.
The replanting of the Black Forest was commenced in 1840 and forest management was instituted. Following the Badische revolt of 1849 there was mass emigration to North America from this area. The completion of the Murgtal railway line in 1869 brought some relief to the local residents as both tourism and industry began to increase.