History of the Villa and the Regenharts

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VILLA REGENHART, THE ARCHITECTURAL JEWEL OF JESENÍK, HAS BEEN A LOCAL LANDMARK FOR ALMOST ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY YEARS. LET US TAKE A BRIEF LOOK AT THE STORY OF THE VILLA AND THE REGENHARTS, THE FAMILY WHOSE NAME THE VILLA PROUDLY BEARS

The town of Jeseník (then known under the German name of Freiwaldau) became popular in the 19th century not only because of the curative treatments practiced by Vincenz Priessnitz in the spas there, but also because of the textile production connected with the firm of Regenhart & Raymann.

The Textile weavers of the house regenhart

The Regenhart name is closely associated with the production of textiles. The beginnings go back all the way to 1774, when Johann Jacob Regenhart , based in Perchtolsdorf near Vienna, started trading with spices and linen cloth and  also began doing business with linen cloth weavers in Jeseník. In 1799, a Jeseník-based gingerbread maker named Josef Raymann decided to set up a business with linen cloth. Adolf Raymann then met the brothers Jacob and Alois Regenhart in Vienna and decided to go into business with them.

Raymann founded Raymann & Co. in Jeseník and assumed responsibility for the production of linen table cloths and placemats. The Regenhart brothers founded a firm called Gebrüder Regenhart & Co. which traded with the Jeseník textiles in Vienna. Back then, all merchandise had to be transported by horse-drawn wagons, so the journey from Jeseník to Vienna took 8 – 10 days in summer, and even longer in winter, depending on the weather.

THE IMPERIAL COURT AND WORLDWIDE ACCLAIM

In 1845, the company was awarded the right to supply linen merchandise to the Imperial Court. In the same year, a very distinguished guest was visiting with the Raymann family in Jeseník, Archduke Franz Karl from the House of Habsburg-Lorraine. He was the father of the future Austrian Emperor Franz Josef I. The Emperor himself was welcomed by the Raymanns in Jeseník in 1860, at a time when Maximillian II, the King of Bavaria, was also a guest at the spa. In 1871, Ernst Regenhart took over the management of the Vienna-based Regenhart & Co. The firm also acquired an excellent reputation abroad, successfully exhibiting at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. Thirteen years later, the management of the firm was transferred entirely to the Regenhart family. Towards the end of the 19th century, the Jeseník-based company became the largest manufacturer of linen cloth in the region of Silesia.

The firm took good care of its 2500 employees, having established a company health-insurance fund and a pension scheme from which it provided sickness and invalidity benefits, as well as old-age pensions. To the Imperial Court, it supplied products from fine damask cloth, always decorated with the erb of the relevant aristocratic family. The present owners of Villa Regenhart received one of such rare damask tablecloths from the descendants of the Regenhart family on the occasion of the grand opening of the new Villa Regenhart. Hotel guests can view it in one of the public area of the hotel.

AN ARCHITECTURAL TREASURE IN THE HEART OF JESENÍK

The history of Villa Regenhart also dates back to 1898.  Ernst Regenhart, together with his wife Louisa, hired local builder Adolf Nietzsche to construct a luxurious residence for them. The building was to be constructed on the hillside under the hill top called Zlatý Chlum in accordance with an architectural design prepared by Viennese architects Karl and Julius Mayreder. The building was completed in 1899, and a year later, a garden guest-house was additionally built on the property. Both buildings were constructed in a Neo-Baroque style.

The ground floor of the main building, referred to as the Bergvilla, featured salons and ancillary rooms, while on the first floor there were bedrooms, guest bedrooms and bathrooms. In the asymmetric front of the building, the architects had combined elements of Central-European Baroque and Rococo. In the interior of the building, the imposing wooden staircase, the coffered-ceilings, doors and other wooden elements drew inspiration from the Scandinavian Neo-Renaissance,  combined with floral Secession details.