Gremsmühle, Malente, Germany, 1901

1901 – A postcard shows the Gremsmühle, a water mill located in Malente in Germany. Photo by Glanz von M. Glückstadt & Münden, Hamburg

The story behind the image

This historic postcard was sent in 1907. It shows the buildings of the Gremsmühle near Malente in Northern Germany, shot probably in 1906 or 1907. The mill was owned and operated by my ancesters – the Ollandt family – up until the 1850s. The oldest record that I could find is my 5x great grandfather, Joachim Hinrich Ollandt (1732–1799).

This historic water mill can be tracked back into the 13th century, and it gave the village Gremsmühlen its name. As Gremsmühlen and its neighbor village, Malente, continued to grow, the two communities were merged into Malente-Gremsmühlen, the current name of the town.

The mill is powered by a side arm of the river Schwentine, formerly called Gremsau which gave the mill its name. Literally Gremsmühle means “the mill by the small river Grems.”

Until 1849, running the mill was a monopoly (and good business) because the farmers of the surrounding villages were obliged to use this mill. Millers were not just running the mill but usually had some cattle and farmland. In 1832, one of the Ollands started a distellery which burned down a few years later.

In 1956, the mill ceased business, and in the 1980s the mill wheel got replaced by a non-moving replica. The local homeland club began to restore the original mill wheel, and since 2006 it’s turning again.

You may wonder why I think this image was captured in 1901. That’s because I own another postcard attributed to Verlag von John Larsen & Co. It was sent in 1901 and shows the exact same image (albeit much smaller and rasterized.) Reviewing the images now I realize that they are not exactly identical, because some clouds have been added the 1907 postcard. This explains the artificial look of the clouds in that image. Go figure.

A postcard sent in 1901 shows the exact same image of the Gremsmühle as a postcard sent six years later. Photo by Verlag von John Larsen & Co.

The high resolution image

Capture Datec. 1901
PhotographerGlanz von M. Glückstadt & Münden, Hamburg
LocationMalente-Gremsmühlen, Germany
Image Source13.5 x 8.8 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 Dimensions4118 x 6462 Pixels
CopyrightPhoto © Glanz von M. Glückstadt & Münden, Hamburg, Scan © Mark Zanzig/

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