The Old Canal

Room 2 information

In Knoblauchsland, the Ludwig-Danube-Main Canal (Ludwig Canal) is simply called “The Old Canal”.

Where nowadays the Poppenreuther bridge crosses the Frankenschnellweg (A73), there used to be the Poppenreuther trading port. Fürth was therefore a port city. In 1843, the section of the Ludwig Canal in the Fürth area was completed.

In the long term, the canal failed to achieve its hoped-for success as a shipping route for transporting goods. Lack of water depths and widths limited freight possibilities and the invention of steam railroads allowed goods to be transported faster and became the big competitor.

Nevertheless, the “Old Canal” has written over 100 years of history and offered versatile recreational activities. He became famous especially for the so-called whipped cream steamers. The citizens loved to travel a few kilometers by boat and then stop at the Weigel Inn, which is still intact today. Coffee and cake with lots of whipped cream were the treat for young and old.

After long planning and the realization of a large shipping route from the Danube to the Rhine, the water was drained from “The Old Canal” from about 1950 in order to be able to build the Frankenschnellweg later.

Thus, on the left of the large picture you can see the replica of the former kilometer stone 12 (= 120 km to Kehlheim) of the former Ludwig Canal. The plaque reads:

Today’s Frankenschnellweg, opened in 1972, runs along the route of the former Ludwig Canal, which the Bavarian King Ludwig I had built between 1835 and 1845 from Bamberg to Kehlheim as a connection between the Main and the Danube. The Bamberg-Nuremberg line was completed as early as1843. On May 20 of the same year, the first ship docked in the canal port of Fürth, which was then located on the territory of Poppenreuth. It consisted only of a rectangular harbor basin and extended northward from the present bridge. On both sides of the canal were “towpaths”, because the ships were initially pulled by horses. Because of this and its 100 locks, the canal was far inferior to the railroad, so later it was used mainly for excursion traffic. In memory are the “Schlagrahmdampfer”, the motorboats Antonia, Karl and Hansi, which brought many people to the Gartenwirtschaft Weigel in Kronach at the weekend. The kilometer stone is the last relic of the old canal. It originally stood a few hundred meters further north on the western side directly on the waterway, so that the skippers could easily read the distance information.

On the right side of the large picture you can see the aerial view of today’s Poppenreuther Brücke in modern surroundings.

On the first floor in the hotel hallway you will also find a representation of an old map, on which you can clearly see the former Poppenreuther canal port. The marked position of the Hotel Grüne Elster gives you a good orientation.

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