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Ottersdorf
According to thc Archive General for the State in Karlsruhe, Ottersdorf is mentioned for the first time in a document of the King, Otto III. In this document, dated 990, Empress Adelheid, the grandmother of Otto III, established the Benedictine cloister in Selz. In 994 Otto III, upon a request from his grandmother, donated to the Selz cloister 40 acres of former woodland which had been turned into arable land in the town of Ottersdorf.

The "Reed" communities, a name which was applied to the five villages of this area, formed an administrative area with their own special court known as the "After or Lower Court". In 1493, this court as well as the Iffezheimer Court belonged to the Office of Stollhofen. One of the Reed communities that does not exist today was Dunhausen. This village was first mentioned in the 14th century in connection with the church in Ottersdorf. This village must have had a long history as the grave inscriptions found there in 1521 refer to the names of soldiers of the 8th Roman Legion.

It is interesting to note that in those times, emergencies were notified to the people by the ringing of the "citizens' bell". This bell was rung in cases of fire, flood, war and wolves, indicating that wolves were a problem of considerable concern in this area.

The "Buergerstubenordnung" from the 16th century allowed the citizens and visitors of Ottersdorf to gamble, for small amounts of money, in card games and other games of chance. There is an indication that not all went smoothly in the local pubs; an ordinance was passed which indicated anyone causing trouble, wrecking furniture or getting into fights, would have to pay a fine of 6 Pfennig.

The village had its own chapel as far back as the 14th century. This chapel was dedicated to Saint Aegedius who had been an abbot in southern France around 700. In 1371 Pope Gregor XI directed that an independent chaplaincy be established in the area as the communities were too far from the church in Selz and were separated from it by the Rhine. The church which was constructed was completely destroyed in the Thirty Years War and the church of today dates to the year 1833.

Ottersdorf was the center of the "gold washing association" to which all the Reed communities belonged. Gold washing was an important source of income for the area and its importance is still celebrated annually with a festival on the 16th of October.


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