If you want to go back deep into the past, you should first climb high up in the present. The entrance to the Hindenburg tower (built in 1934) in the Saarland Mining Museum in Bexbach is situated at a height of 40 metres. From here you can get an outstanding view of the “neglected Saar area”, the Saar Palatinate.
Making money was the big attraction for August Ferdinand Cullmann, a lawyer from Zweibrücken and a liberal member of the Frankfurt am Main National Assembly. In 1879 he took over the pit in the Bexbach suburb of Frankenholz and in the process turned it into the largest coal mine in the southwest. At its height it had a workforce of over 3000. Prussia mined coal from the Wellesweiler pit, as did Bavaria from the Mittelbexbach state pit that was operating between 1817 and 1936. In 1954 the St Barbara pit in Bexbach went into operation. From now on Frankenholz coal was brought to the surface here until it was also forced to close down in 1959.
The “Consolidirtes Nordfeld“ near Höchen had an even shorter life. In 1899 a joint stock company erected highly modern mining equipment here as part of a huge financial swindle. A misleading survey lured investors with the promise of huge seams of coal, but when it was closed down the mine was left sitting on a massive debt of 7.500.000 Reichsmarks. Two historic rambling paths lead to the remains of the two private pits. At the time the longest cable railway in the world transported the Frankenholz coal through the air to the railway station at Bexbach, from where it was further taken by the first railway line in the Saar region – it opened in 1849 –to the “Rheinschanze”, now known as Ludwigshafen.
Large photos on the staircase of the Hindenburg tower recall the original pits, the kitchens, the sleeping quarters, and the life of the miners’ families. The path to the miners washrooms and the lamp room informs visitors about the region’s geology, mining techniques and the industrial history of mining in the Saar. Here you can take a ride into a 200 meter long mining gallery in a hands-on experience with original sound effects. At the end of the shift you can be rewarded, on request, with a “half shift” (a sausage and a roll) or a “coffee plate” (coffee and cake). The museum is surrounded by a flower garden, adjacent to which lies “Monte Barbara”, a disused greened over mining tip on which stands a statue of St Barbara.