You are here

Station 1: The History of the Leinbachtal

General Information

The Leinbachtal has existed for a very long time. Learn about the etymology of its name and the uses it fulfilled in the past.

Functionality of the Station

Pull the arrow above the annual rings of the tree pit. Now you can read inside the window, what happened in the world once, when the annual ring arose, how old the tree is and which experiences it already has.


The History of the Leinbachtal

The Leinbachtal, located near Frankenstein/Pfalz, lies in an area that was once largely agricultural in nature. The name originated in the Middle Ages, and refers to the Norway Maple or Large-leaved Linden, which were collectively called “Leinbaum”. Both of these tree species often grew on the banks of Palatinate streams. Pertaining to the naming of this area, the Modern High German “Leinbach” derives from the Middle High German “Lînbach”, which in turn was a modification of the preexisting form “Lînaha”, adding the suffix “bach”(stream) and reducing “Lîna” to “Lîn”. “Lînaha” is also the source of the Modern High German word Leine, meaning “cord, tether, or line”. In the course of time many variants of the name “Leinbach” have appeared: alongside “Lînbach” and “Leinbach”, variations such as “Lîmbach” and “Leimbach” pop up in old texts. The variations are many: In 1252 the stream was referred to as “Limbach”; in 1304 on the other hand it was called “Limpach”; in 1426, 1489, and 1551 it was referred to as “Lynbach”, “Linbach” and “Leymbach” respectively.

In essence however, The Leinbachtal describes the valley through which the 11,600 meters of the Leinbach flow. Earlier it took its place as one of the main streams in the Palatinate that allowed log drifting, with 11,300 meters of its length suitable for this task. Karl Friedrich Wilhelm, Prince of Leiningen, was a progressively-minded and active territorial sovereign, and he promoted log drifting in the Leinbachtal in the 18th century. 1816 saw the first beginnings of the systematic development of streams for log drifting in the Palatinate, which at this time was unified and attributed to Bavaria. Copious funds were available, and this provided momentum for the development of log drifting region-wide. The structures that were built in this period are still in a good state, but it must be said that they were partially refurbished in order to protect them from deterioration. Log drifting was mainly developed to comfortably provide the sparsely wooded regions along the Rhine with firewood for industrial and household use. Log drifting was mainly carried out in the months of March and April when the water levels were at their highest, aided by the melting of snow and high precipitation. In this period of time between 18,000 – 20,000 cords of wood were driven down the streams. However, the emergence of the railroad signaled the abrupt end to the log drifting trade.

The term „Ungertal“ originated from the time of day around midday where herds of cattle from Hochspeyer stopped here to rest, “geungert” being an old word for resting.

The Martinsbrunnen, a well first tapped in 1906, is named after Hochspeyer’s forester of the time, Martin. The names “Finstertal” and “Dunkeltal” refer to the comparative darkness of both of these narrow valleys that admit very little light.