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Wintersdorf
Wintersdorf's origins are shrouded in mystery: with the name ending in "doff", it is probable that the town dates to the 6th or 7th century, but no records of the town can be found before 799 A.D. It was in 799 that the first written documentation concerning the town can be found when "Theoduni of Winiharesodorf" died and left his slave Otigis, along with all of his possessions, to the Benedictine monastery in Weissenburg.

968 is the next year when Wintersdoff is prominently mentioned in history. It was in this year that the Emperor, Otto I, presented to his wife Adelheid the King's Court of Selz, the town of Selz and 14 communities of which Wintersdorf was one. Adelheid then went on to establish the Monastery Selz and the town was a part of the monastery's holdings. This arrangement was to last till 1333, when the then Emperor gave the town to the Fleckensteins. This transfer of deeds was contested by the Margrave of Baden and in 1402 the "Zaeringers" purchased the total domain of Beinheim which included the town of Wintersdorf.

Before 1415, the vicarage of the "Reed" communities (Plittersdorf, Muffenheim, Ottersdoff, Dunhausen and Windersdorf) was located in Wintersdorf, but this changed in 1415 when the government of the day moved the vicarage to Ottersdoff. This was most likely prompted because of the large government estate located in Ottersdoff. The following years were not kind to the community as it was plagued by the ravage of war that swept the area. The consequences of the Palatinate War of Succession (1688-1697) were particularly disastrous. On Saint Bartholome's Day (24 August) 1689, the commander of the citadel Fort Louis appeared with his troops and not only burnt Wintersdoff, but the other "Reed" communities. The only building left standing in the town was the roofless church tower. It is due to the constant wars that moved through the area at this time that there is not a single medieval building left standing in the town. Most of the "old" buildings we see today in any of the "Reed" communities were built between 1699 and 1750.

Of the five "Reed" communities, only three remain to this day. This is probably due to the constant flooding of the Rhine River which could, after a flood subsided, leave these villages on the left or the right banks of the river. The damage and suffering which the floods caused was a constant threat to the inhabitants of this area and was not relieved till 1860 when Tulla regulated the rivers course with dikes and levies.

By the end of the 19th century, the Rhine course was completely regulated and ran in an artificial track between high water dams. It was at this time that a railway bridge was built at Wintersdorf to span the river. This structure had two 30m high towers at each end and spanned 400m. Unfortunately the bridge was destroyed in 1945 and only three arches, 90m in length, still bear witness to the most beautiful bridge that has ever spanned the Rhine.

In 1970, the three remaining "Reed" communities were incorporated into the city of Rastatt and, as all Canadians know, they are among the most picturesque villages along the Upper Rhine.


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