Bruhnskoppel, Malente, Germany, 1891

1891 – A postcard sent in summer 1891 shows the buildings on top of the Bruhnskoppel near Malente-Gremsmühlen in Germany. © Mark Zanzig/ Alb. Giesler

The story behind the image

This is one of the oldest images in our archive, a postcard shot by photo pioneer Albert Giesler. It shows the buildings of Bruhnskoppel near Malente-Gremsmühlen, probably taken between 1885 and 1890. It was owned by my great-great-grandfather, Johann Hinrich Grebien (1826-1903), father of Dorothea Christine Grebien.

In 1870, Johann Hinrich opened a restaurant on the top of the Bruhnskoppel, a tiny hill near Gremsmühlen. Tourism in the area had slowly been picking up, and the restaurant was pretty successful. So successful in fact, that he extended the business with a hotel around 1895, which was run by his son, Friedrich Rudolph Grebien, who added a 21 meter high tower that provided stunning views across the landscape. There are many images on the web showing the site with that tower which makes the photo without the tower quite unique. Friedrich operated the hotel until the end of 1907 when he sold it.

The hotel continued a wild ride through the decades until it closed in 2010. It followed a bizarre story of several investors who were talking about investing into a new, fully restored hotel. But these plans were never realized. At the same time, the buildings were destroyed by the weather and by vandals. Today, has become a shame for the community, labeled a “lost place”. See the change over time on

A few words about Albert Giesler. He was born in May 1862 in Eutin in Germany and pursued a photography career after graduating from school. He got trained by various photographers across Northern Germany and opened his photo studio in Eutin in 1886, at the age of 24. Starting with landscape photos, he constantly explored new and promising technologies like stereographic photos or artistic portrait photography. His work quickly became popular and many customers started collecting his photos. No surprise that he was appointed as official photographer of the Oldenburg court very soon. Even today, his work is outstanding both from technical and artistic point of view (considering the limitations of his time.)

It’s exciting to see how Johann Hinrich actually lived in Bruhnskoppel, in the 1890s, a beautiful place for sure.

1899 – View from Bruhnskoppel across the landscape.

The high resolution image

Capture Datebefore 1891
PhotographerAlb. Giesler
LocationBruhnskoppel, Germany
Image Source7.5 x 4 cm postcard image
Digital Image SourceEPSON Perfection 4870 Photo
Digital Image Source FormatTIFF, 48 bits/pixel, sRGB
Edited Image FormatJPEG, 24 bits/pixel, sRGB
Edited Image Dimensions7156 x 4025 Pixels
Copyright© by Alb.Giesler/Mark Zanzig/


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