Let us allow the Powder Tower to be introduced by someone who lived in it for more than 20 years, someone who loved it and breathed life into it – Dr Heinrich Schützinger, Lindau’s mayor from 1894 to 1919: “I have never seen a structure of this type that can be measured against Lindau’s Powder Tower in terms of its unusual and outstandingly beautiful location.”
From defense tower to powder magazine
This solid edifice was built on the island’s western point in 1508 as part of the town walls. In 1629 the canopy roof on the low round tower was dropped by a further two metres in order to make it less of a target for enemy attacks. It proved to be a good move, as the tower survived the Thirty Years War undamaged. Towards the end of the 18th century the defensive tower was turned into a powder tower, where Lindau’s militia stored their gunpowder.
Get-together in the Powder Tower
In 1898 the “watchtower against enemy attack” was turned into a “place of lively conviviality” – as it was described by the mayor, Dr Heinrich Schützinger, who moved in as “lord of the tower”. The famous airship manufacturer Count Zeppelin, poet Paul Heyse and many other famous guests held a get-together on the ground floor, which had been turned into a lounge area. A newly built staircase led to the upper floor, which provided elegant surroundings for numerous receptions. Schützinger lived in the Powder Tower until 1919, and he wrote down his memories of the 2,000 guests that he received there in a “Golden Book”, which his family still have in their possession.
Conference and event location
After Schützinger moved out, the tower had a rather less glittering history. The French occupied it in 1945, only returning it to the town in the spring of 1952. Since 1969 the Powder Tower has been owned by the town of Lindau, which carried out extensive renovations in 1988. Today its three floors can be hired for meetings and celebrations, but it is unlikely that it will once again scale the heights of its glory years when illustrious guests attended tea soirees and Bacchanalian nights…
A little footnote: Lindau’s local militia consisted of two riflemen, who once got into trouble during an inspection. Can you guess why? They were making a profit from the gunpowder that was stored in the tower. When it was time for the annual target practice, they only put a little powder in the cartridges, then sold the rest. They used this money to pay for a boozy trip to Switzerland every autumn. They were only found out when it became clear that the detonations of the rifles were getting weaker and weaker.
The Powder Tower can only be viewed from outside.