Mystery Bridge Nr. 102: An Ancient Bridge near an Ancient Steel Factory

Photos taken in August 2018

Our 102nd mystery bridge keeps us in Saxony but takes us deep into the mountains and further into history. The Frohnau Hammer is one of three iron hammering facilities left in operation in Saxony and the first historic site to ever be declared a state historic monument. Dating back to the 15th century, it was an iron mill that operated during the iron rush before it was converted into mills producing flax, oil, copper products and even scissors. Yet its return to glory came in 1621 when it became an iron hammer mill, producing sharp tools made of the abundant resource. It was very popular during the 17th and 18th centuries before closing in 1895. It was the first historic site declared by the state in 1907 and today, a tour of the facility can be given. A museum across the road used to be a manion that was owned by the blacksmith running the facility. A 230-year old linden tree also occupies the faciity and is protected by law.

And this leads us to the mystery bridge. This rather small stone arch bridge, approximately 20 meters in length, spans the River Flöha, carrying the road connecting Frohnau and the Annaberg portion of Annaberg-Buchholz (AB). One needs to keep in mind that even though AB was officially declared a city in 1949 and has remained a joint community legally ever since, the double-community has existed since the 15th century and even had villages of Frohnau, Geyersdorf and Kleinrückerswalde that belonged to the conglomerate. This would explain the engravings of AB on the west side of the arch at the keystone. On the railings, the western side is all made of stone, decorated with iron street lamps. On the eastern side of the bridge we have a different set of markings worth noting. For instance, we have the railings with the letters A and F. One needs to assume that they stand for Annaberg and Frohnau, respectively, and the bridge served as a border crossing between the two villages. Why A instead of AB as seen in the keystone is unclear. But in the keystone on the eastern side, the building date is 1805, which was directly in the period of high productivity at the Hammer.

The question is whether the blacksmith ordered the bridge to be built, or he constructed it himself with the help of his workers. Or did the community order it to be built, and the Hammer had no involvement but benefited the use of the crossing because the previous one was no longer feasible due to age?

This is one that require some research to solve this case. Look at the pics below and if you know anything else about the bridge, then send a comment. If anything, the bridge deserves to be mentioned as part of the tour complex of the Frohnau Hammer. Good luck and looking forward to your findings! 🙂


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While we are still on the topic of bridges and Saxony, the Flensburg Files recently completed a three-part quiz on the German state of Saxony, designed to test your knowledge on the history and culture of this unique state, starting with part 1 on Sächsisch, part 2 on the general facts and part 3 on the inventions that we have Saxony’s  creators to thank. To access them, go to this page and scroll down to Saxony. Good luck! 🙂