Pader regulations against a „wildness“ of the Pader

Agriculture & Fishery

Mechanische „Reinigung des Schlachthofkanals“, Sommer 1940 (Stadt- und KreisA Paderborn, Foto A. Gellhaus, S-M4D, Nr. 7006)

With the exception of a few strip plots extending west and east of the „Neuhäuser Weg“, the flatter northern bank of the Pader was hardly suitable for agriculture and horticulture. Before the major Pader regulations of the 19th and 20th centuries, the original riverbed meandered through a wide strip of wet to marshy meadowland. Its banks were only suitable as pasture for sheep and small livestock. Field names on the original „Neuhäuser Uraufnahme“ (Neuhaus survey) (1837/38) such as “Wiesen auf den Pfühlen” (meadows on the ponds) near the fulling mill still refer to the former wetlands. The royal building officer Michaelis, who was in charge of planning the state regulation project in the 1870s, summarised the landscape as follows after a viewing of the course of the river (1871):

„The valley of the Pader is a narrow meadow valley. The meadows from the island bridge [Benedictine Island] near below Paderborn to the „Höpper-Brücke“ (Bridge) near above Neuhaus are, especially on the right [northern] bank of the Pader, in a state of advanced swamp formation.“[1]

At the lower reaches of the Pader, numerous riverbank properties from the town of Neuhaus were regularly flooded during unfavourable weather. Since there was no efficient drainage of the naturally wet meadow and arable land until well into the 19th century, Pader water stood on the flooded plots for many weeks after heavy rainfall, even in the summer months.[2] As an example of this, in August 1862 the landowner Schaefer zu Neuhaus complained to Dr. Grasso, the royal district administrator of the district of Paderborn:

„Although the present flooding was caused by the heavy thunderstorm that occurred here on the 22nd of the month [August 1862], the properties along the other rivers here were already freed of water 2 days later, whereas the meadows along the Pader are still so [flooded] that one can hardly see the tips of the grasses in many places. The second cut is totally spoiled both for hay utilisation and for pasture.“[3]

Increasing sedimentations, irregular plant pruning and half-hearted clearings of the riverbed, all of this being work that had to be done jointly by the state and the millers since 1830,[4] contributed to the „wildness“ [5] of the Pader in the 1860s. In order to counteract its unwanted renaturation, the district government of the town of Minden commissioned the „Baurat“ (building councillor) Michaelis to plan a comprehensive „Pader regulation“. Prior to this, a „police regulation for the large and small Pader“ was published in the „Amtsblatt“ (official gazette) of Minden on 5 March 1866.

„Polizei-Reglement für die große und kleine Pader“, Manuskript 1866 (LA Detmold, M1 III E, Nr. 151, unfol.)

„Polizei-Reglement für die große und kleine Pader“ (police regulation for the large and small Pader), Manuscript 1866 (LA Detmold, M1 III E, Nr. 151, unfol.)

The improvement of the communal water management included, among other things, the establishment of a permanent „Schau-Commission“ (viewing committee), consisting of the Paderborn „Landrat“ (district administrator), the mayor and some deputies from the circle of local landowners. These gentlemen had to walk the entire course of the river Pader attentively every year „after the spring clearing“ (§ 4) and propose improvement measures to the district government in Minden.[6]

Mechanische „Reinigung des Schlachthofkanals“, Sommer 1940 (Stadt- und KreisA Paderborn, Foto A. Gellhaus, S-M4D, Nr. 7006)

Mechanical „Reinigung des Schlachthofkanals“ (cleaning of the slaughterhouse canal), summer 1940 (Stadt- und KreisA Paderborn, photo A. Gellhaus, S-M4D, No. 7006)

[1] Assessment on the „Regulation of the Pader from Paderborn to Neuhaus“, Münster 10 July 1871. LA Detmold, M 1 III E, Nr. 151, unfol.

[2] In a petition to „Fürstbischof“ (prince bishop) Franz Egon von Fürstenberg, some „flood victims“ from the town of Neuhaus claimed in 1789, that the water „[…] stood on their fields, meadows and gardens, especially in the spring time, for more than two months, until it [was] consumed by the air“. Letter of 16 June 1789, LA Münster, Fürstbistum Pb, Hofkammer Nr. 3044, fol. 31r.

[3] Report by the Landrat of Paderborn to the district government Minden, 26 August 1862. LA Detmold, M 1 III E, Nr. 151, unfol.

[4] Cf. written complaint by the Paderborn mill owner Theodor Schwarzendahl to the district government Minden in May 1863. According to a rescript by the government sent to the miller by the then „Landrat“ (district administrator) von Metternich on 18 October 1830, the Prussian state was obliged to clean the Pader annually „from the city wall to the Hoppeker Bridge“. LA Detmold, M1 III E, Nr. 151, unfol.

[5] Quoted after the draft for a „River police regulation for the Pader“, 22 February 1864. LA Detmold, M1 III E, Nr. 151, unfol.

[6] Cf. publication of the Minden regulations in the official gazette of 5 March 1866. LA Detmold, M1 III E, Nr. 151, unfol.

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This is an excerpt from an essay by the historian Prof. Dr. Michael Ströhmer. The original title of the essay is: "Wirtschaftsregion Pader - Eine geschichtswissenschaftliche Skizze (1350-1950)". Should you have further interest in the economic history of the Pader, we recommend downloading the complete essay (PDF file).

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