Coleman Kaserne in
Gelnhausen is renowned for its well-kept buildings and peaceful
atmosphere. The housing areas there are currently being remodeled.
The Kaserne is home to numerous 414th BSB
family members. Although there is family housing at Armstrong, most
married soldiers assigned to 1-1 Cav "The Blackhawk Squadron" live in
the Gelnhausen Community (Coleman
Village Family Housing Area).
This community is about 18 kilometers from Hanau and has family housing, a small
commissary, and temporary billeting facilities. Most Single soldiers live in and around
the Budingen community or in neighboring towns.
Gelnhausens official history begins in the year 1170,
when Friedrich I., called Barbarossa ("Redbeard") founded the "Nova
"). The advantages of the town were obvious it is
seated close to the Kinzig-river, therefore vivid shipping was possible, and one of the
main medieval trade routes went through the area. Three considerably older villages were
united and widely enlarged to one new city.
In the southeast of the city on a Kinzig island, a
representative residence for the emperor developed called the Kaiserpfalz ("Imperial
Castle"). It is known that from 1180, when Gelnhausen was declared a free city at the
Reichstag (Imperial Diet), until his death, the emperor resided here for some time every
second year. His son, Henry V, called the castle his most beloved place. Although the
castle had been neglected some time in the past, the ruins still bear witness to the
impressive achievement in architecture and give an idea of medieval splendor.
The fact that Gelnhausen is seated close to the Kinzig-river
as well as the important trade route from Frankfurt to Leipzig made it possible for
Barbarossa to grant Gelnhausen privileges that supported Gelnhausens development to
a highly frequented trading center. Gelnhausen was amongst the richest cities in the
empire and attracted wealthy merchants as if by magic.
The most important part of the citys image is the
beautiful Marienkirche ("St. Marys Church"). Formerly a small village
church it was soon enlarged after the foundation of Gelnhausen. The western parts of the
church are built in a simple
Romanesque style, whereas the cross-house, the eastern
towers and the choir show important influences of the decorative French Gothic style. Soon
after 1200 several modern Gothic master builders came to Gelnhausen.
The streets of Gelnhausen were a feature of massive stone
buildings in former times. That saved the wares of the merchants from fire and theft. But
in the 30 Years War the trade routes were used as military roads. Gelnhausen was raided
and sacked, it was uninhabitable and depopulated. After the war the people came back only
slowly, poor craftsmen and farmer took the place of the rich merchants of the past. They
built their typical half-timbered houses on the ruins.
Today Gelnhausen has 23,000 residents and is the cultural
and economical center of the Kinzig-Valley.