Houses of Famous Residents of Küsnacht
Where the Famous Once Lived in Küsnacht
In Küsnacht a number of buildings still exist which were formerly home to acclaimed writers, poets, painters, thinkers and politicians. The following pictures show where these celebrated personalities once lived and worked.
Lux Guyer (1894–1955), Itschnacherstich 1, Haus Sunnebüel: Lux Guyer was the most significant and successful female Swiss architect of the 20th century. As the first woman in this country, she opened her own architectural office on the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich at the age of thirty. In addition to 15 other houses in Küsnacht, she also planned and built the novel Haus Sunnebüel which is surrounded by a picturesque garden, and lived there with her husband, the engineer Hans Studer and their son, Urs.
Thomas Mann (1875–1955), Schiedhaldenstrasse 33: At the end of September 1933, when the famous writer realized that he would never be able to return to their previous residence in Munich, Thomas Mann and his wife Katia moved into this house, one of the buildings designed by Lux Guyer. As a result of Hitler’s seizure of power in Germany in January 1933, the Manns had become emigrants. During the five years the couple lived in Küsnacht, Thomas Mann wrote two volumes of the “Joseph” tetralogy and the novel “Lotte in Weimar”.
Carl Gustav Jung (1875–1961), Seestrasse 228: The psychiatrist C.G. Jung, who was made an honorary citizen of Küsnacht on his 85th birthday, achieved international fame during his long life. Together with his wife Emma Jung, née Rauschenbach, he moved into this house which they built with much devotion on the lakeside of the Heslibach quarter in the spring of 1909. Ever since then it has acted as a magnet to people seeking advice, students and followers from across the world. In the year 2002, the house became the property of the C.G. Jung Foundation.
Ferdinand August Bebel (1840–1913), Seestrasse 176: Built with private means, the house Villa Julie was the home of one of the most prominent personalities of German politics in the years prior to 1900, the socialist leader and wily opponent of the German chancellor Otto von Bismarck, Ferdinand August Bebel. Having started life as a lathe turner, it was Bebel’s firm conviction that bourgeois capitalism was on its last legs. This brought him some success, but also prison sentences for treason and the offence of ‘insulting Bismarck’.
Ignaz Thomas Scherr und C.F. Meyer: Seehof, Hornweg 28: This house has a long and prestigious past. For a long time it was in the possession of a traditional military family of the city of Zurich, the Lochmanns, who had their roots in Küsnacht. Then from 1832 to 1834, the official teachers’ seminary of Zurich was founded here under the supervision of the brilliant educator Ignaz Thomas Scherr. During the years 1868 – 72, it served as the home of the up-and-coming poet and novelist C.F. Meyer and his sister Betsy. Since 1979, it has been the seat of the C.G. Jung Foundation.
Ludwig Snell (1785–1854), Theodor-Brunner-Weg 7: In the 19th century the Benedictine monastery of Engelberg’s regional office building, which is located next to the Zehntenhaab, a small harbor in Küsnacht, became the property of the Brunners, a family of long-standing in Küsnacht. Doctor Rudolf Brunner founded a convalescent home there, and in the 1820s, befriended the German emigrant Ludwig Snell. Ludwig Snell went on to produce the “Küsnachter Memorial”, a powerful publication, which between 1830 and 1832 brought about a profound democratization in the Canton of Zurich.
Meinrad Lienert, Ursula Isler-Hungerbühler and Frieda Wyss-Peyer, Hornweg 14/16: The Hornweg houses, dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries, for several hundred years belonged to a patrician family of the city of Zurich, der Grebel,. The poet Meinrad Lienert (1865 – 1933) spent the last years of his life in the lower house. In that same dwelling the art historian and writer Ursula Isler-Hungerbühler (1923-2007) lived from her childhood onwards. Frieda Wyss-Peyer (1881 – 1969), a pioneer of the Verband Volksdienst, an important voluntary institution that dates back to WW I, lived in the upper house.
Konrad Schmid (1477–1531): Konrad Schmid came from a farming family in Küsnacht. He probably attended school at the Order of St. John house (now the Kantonsschule) in Küsnacht, and went on to enroll at the universities of Tübingen, Germany and Basel. His appointment as Komtur (Head) of the order’s house in Küsnacht in 1520 was the zenith of his career. A friend of Zwingli, a leader of the Reformation in Switzerland, Konrad Schmid was a firm supporter of the fledgling cause. Together with Zwingli he fell at the Battle of Kappel.
Richard Weiss (1907–1962), Obere Wiltisgasse 35: In the late nineteen forties Richard Weiss-Steinbrüchel lived here before moving to the Allmend quarter.A pioneer of Swiss ethnology, he was the first professor nationwide in this field. He taught at the University of Zurich. Tragically Richard Weiss-Steinbrüchel died a premature death following a mountaineering accident. To this day his publications, e.g. “Häuser und Landschaften der Schweiz” (Houses and Landscapes of Switzerland) remain standard works of Swiss ethnology.