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Zollern colliery

Zollern colliery

Art Nouveau coal mine

In 1890, coal mines were popping up like mushrooms in the German Ruhr area. The Zeche Zollern was one of the seventy newcomers you can still visit today.

The coal mine consists of several shaft towers, a coal preparation plant and a coking plant, which was shut down and demolished in 1918 because it was unprofitable.

The mining company called on architect Paul Knobbe to design the buildings. Only his design for the machine hall ended up in the trash and was replaced by a steel half-timbered facade, designed by the Berlin architect Bruno Möhring. The portal is constructed in Art Nouveau style, which is unique for industrial buildings in Europe.

No original headframes

The 36-meter-high headframe above the 491-meter-deep shaft II originally stood in the Zeche Wilhelmina Viktoria coal mine in Gelsenkirchen and was moved to the Zeche Zollern in 1988, where the original headframe was torn down in 1969.

The second headframe above shaft IV is also everything but original. This specimen was moved from the Friedrich der Große mine, and was rebuilt in 1988. The original headframe here was destroyed in 1941.

More than 1,500 to 2,500 employees have been earning their living here for many decades. However, the coal crisis in the 1960s led to its closure.

Today, the monumental machine hall is one of the highlights of the German industrial heritage in the Ruhr Area, but it was a narrow escape. A rescue operation organized by architect Hans Paul Koellmann and the photography couple Bernd and Hilla Becher saved the machine hall from being demolished.

There are still several old freight wagons and locomotives on the coal mine premises.

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