Arbeitskreis Historie Kappel- Grafenhausen
Arbeitskreis HistorieKappel- Grafenhausen

The Community Reform 1974

Kappel after the municipal reform in 1974                                             

In Kappel where we live, where we drive, where we shop, where we do sports, where we celebrate festivals, where we sometimes have fun and sometimes also sorrow, there were already people living more than a thousand years ago, as evidenced by the Celtic tomb, the Fridolinsaga or finds of Roman coins.  There was a proper settlement, but it was not until 1219 until 1974 that this settlement was named Cappel,Cappelle on the Rine,Capella,Capele or Kappel am Rhein, belonged for centuries to the Diocese of Strasbourg and was assigned to the newly formed land of Baden from 1803. In 1974, a new chapter was opened in the kappel history book. In the course of a municipal reform, smaller municipalities were to give up their independence and to merge with other municipalities. The aim was to strengthen the administrative capacity and efficiency of smaller municipalities. From 3379 independent municipalities in Baden-Württemberg, only 1110 municipalities were to become. For Kappel with a population of just under 2,000, there were several target plans for the country. First of all, Kappel was to become the central town of a trio with Rust and Grafenhausen. This failed due to Rust's resistance. At the end of 1972, a majority of the population of Kappler agreed to the next proposal to be incorporated into Ettenheim as a district. This proposal has also been revised again. Another year later, the ministry planned a unitary municipality together with Grafenhausen as its eastern neighbour. In January 1974, more than 90% of Kappler's citizens agreed to this new plan. It was interesting to note that the citizens of Grafenhausen, as partners, only agreed to this proposed solution by a razor-thin majority of 7 votes. But it was enough to pave the way for the future of the two communities. The main pupils of the two neighbouring towns had already been taught in common classes a few years earlier and thus became unintentional pioneers of the new unified community. It is also interesting that in the annals of the two municipalities there were no indications of land disputes between Kappel and Grafenhausen in long centuries, as was usual almost everywhere in neighbouring municipalities. In the historical documents there are even several joint ventures.  Thus, as early as 1592, it was agreed between the two Schultheißen to create common water drainage ditches against the threat of flooding. In 1618, at the beginning of the Thirty Years' War, men from Kappel and Grafenhausen had to form a flag together, which meant an earlier name for a kind of company as a unit in the military system. It was used to fight against other believers.

From 1779 we learn of joint processions on The Sunday of Prayer (5th Sunday after Easter) from one church to another and back again. During the Baden Revolution of 1848, Ratschreiber Richter from Kappel and Engelwirt Winkler from Grafenhausen were joint ringleaders on the front line when an assassination attempt was planned and carried out on the stately ordered new railway line in Orschweier.

In 1974, the state of Baden-Württemberg gave a premium of DM 75 per inhabitant for the completion of the municipal merger. In a merger agreement, it was stipulated that until a planned construction of a new community centre between the two districts, the administration would take its seat in Kappel and Grafenhausen would have a branch. The merger would almost have failed shortly before the deadline of 1 July 1974 because no common name was found. They then agreed on the double name Kappel-Grafenhausen . but first by the Governing Board . because it was too long. The higher authority only agreed that the merger would otherwise fail. After the merger, the Kappler municipal councillor Günter Benz headed the town hall business until the mayoral election in September. One of the first items on the agenda of the joint municipal council was the renaming of street names, which had existed in both districts - i.e. double. It was decided by lot that the Kirchstraße in Kappel should now be called Rathausstraße and the railway road in Grafenhausen should now be called Sportplatzstraße. In the first meetings it was repeatedly stressed that many tasks must now be solved together, but that the life of the new districts and former municipalities must be preserved. The first principle should also be to treat the two districts equally. For example, there are still 2 sports clubs in the municipality, 2 music bands 2 fools' guilds , 2 schools and other long-standing groups. The municipal council is also still divided with 7 (at the beginning 9 ) members from each district. The 2 fire departments were merged in 2011 into a powerful weir, new joint clubs such as the Turnerbund were founded. A newly formed working group with members from both districts has been taking care of the history of the unified community for several years. In the mayoral election on 8 Sept. 1974, the former mayor of Kappel Raimund Halter had prevailed against Gregor Kopf the previous mayor of Grafenhausen.

Common tasks were on the way. A multi-purpose hall was missing in both locations. But where should it be built? The solution found, however, cost money in the interests of local equal treatment.

In 1979, a hall to the two schools was built simultaneously in both districts. The municipality of Kappel had brought a building-saving contract of DM 500000 that was ready for allocation to the new community. The municipal council also proved the equal treatment by taking turns the council meetings in the town hall of the two town halls.
Much has changed in the 44 years since the community merger. Responsible mayors were Raimund Halter until 1998 then Armin Klausmann and since March 2008 until today Jochen Paleit The population has increased in 44 years from 3595 to currently 5107 people (July 2018). Of these, 2750 of them live in Kappel. New construction areas for residential and new commercial areas have been designated. In Kappel, the current new obergarten III area with 52 construction sites was handed over by the developer in April 2013 after Obergarten II had been completed. In the industrial area in Kappel there are still places to settle. A new common building yard has been fulfilling important tasks for citizens since 2001. A new fire station has been standing between the districts since 2011. The town halls have been renovated and rebuilt several times to meet the increased requirements. In 1989, for example, the town hall in Kappel was fundamentally updated for DM 750,000. A lot of money has been invested in the education system The municipality now has classes 5 and 6 of a community school in Grafenhausen together with Rust where the other classes are taught until the school graduation. In addition, there is a well-functioning primary school in Kappel as in Grafenhausen. For the preschool area existing kindergartens were expanded in Kappel and Grafenhausen and in August 1999 in Kappel the new kindergarten Rainbow was inaugurated. Another new kindergarten next to the primary school in Kappel is in the final phase of the Planung. An the Rhine now leads from Kappel a long-requested cycle and footpath to the safety of these road users. The new installation of the rain retention area Elzmündung is in full swing and is intended to protect the Rhine residents in the north from flooding. After the general renovation and optical and functional upgrading of the main road in Grafenhausen for almost 5 million euros, the Rathausstraße in Kappel will be renewed in the next few years as well and adapted to the modern traffic conditions. In the first years after the merger, Haupt-and Rathausstraße were overloaded by through traffic due to the newly created Europapark and a tin avalanche rolled through the town for hours in the morning and evening. Only additional long-contested motorway junctions provided a remedy. The Kappler village festival of the clubs is firmly anchored in the calendar in July and has already been held 32 times.

A slightly smaller anniversary, which one can also be very proud of in Kappel, should also be celebrated in 2019. On September 27, 1979, exactly 40 years ago, the Taubergießen area was designated as a nature reserve and thus a piece of our homeland was classified as particularly valuable.


Walter Batt July 2018




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