Dornbirn-Fischbach ice rink 1881
When the pond in Dornbirn-Fischbach froze over in 1880 everyone, young and old alike, rushed to see the ice and admire the skaters.
When the pond in Dornbirn-Fischbach froze over in 1880 everyone, young and old alike, rushed to see the ice and admire the skaters. It may have been this which induced partners of the F.M. Hämmerle Company to establish a reservoir next to their newly acquired factory in Fischbach the following winter, for use as a skating rink.
In April 1880 the Hämmerle Company acquired the Ulmersch works in Fischbach, originally built in 1870. The Turkey-red yarn dying plant was moved from the Glöckelehaus in Steinebach to the new premises, hence its future nickname the “Red Dye Factory” or the “Red Factory”. In addition to the factory itself, the Company acquired the adjacent meadows and the usage rights of the Fischbach catchment area. This marshy land was dammed to form a pond to supply water for fire extinguishing.
The first time the reservoir was used for ice skating was in January 1881. In this way Dornbirn acquired its first “proper ice rink”, to which an entry fee was payable. The “skating society” donated its entire income from the second Sunday, 16th January to the community for the so-called “miserable poor”.
Around the turn of 1884/1885 the Fischbach factory installed the first electric lights in Dornbirn. Even the company’s own ice rink benefitted from electric lighting - just in time for the Epiphany ice festival. Over a thousand curious spectators turned up to experience this unrivalled event. The ice rink still lives on in the name of a Dornbirn tavern, Gasthaus “Zum Eisplatz” in the Eisengasse, which was located on the opposite side of the rink to the “Red Factory”. Alongside various factory extensions, the construction of a new housing estate in Rüttenersch, on the Eisplatzgasse, completely changed the look of area around the ice rink - by the end of the 1920s the city had caught up with the factory.
The “Dornbirn Ice-Skating Society”, which also used and fully supported the ice rink in Fischbach, was founded in 1934. In 1946 a Viennese ice show was even held there. But in 1956 the reservoir was filled in using excavation material from the power station (Fischbach Works) and the large expanse of land between the Company and Niederer Furniture Manufacturers was created. And that was the end of Dornbirn’s very first ice rink.
Author: Werner Matt
Dornbirn City Archive