Strong Women and the Kaiser's Blessing
Heavy industrialisation in the second half of the 19th century meant many children not yet of school age needed looking after because their parents worked in factories all day long. This prompted the two catholic families Greven and Schülgen to join forces with the women’s association St. Severin to co-found in 1881 a little nursery for infants on Annostraße. Due to lack of space 10 December 1891 then saw the inauguration of a new building at Dreikönigenstraße 1. The nursery was run by sisters from the »Schwestern der Christlichen Liebe« order from Paderborn. Until the First World War the building housed up to 400 children. Soon they also began to feed poor schoolchildren and also set up a needlework school for young girls as well as a home for young women. To cover the »housekeeping costs« 1891 also saw the acceptance at St. Josef-Haus of wealthy »retired ladies«.
In 1904 the »St. Josef-Haus« foundation was set up with the permission of Kaiser Wilhelm II. This was followed in 1906 by the first extension into the building next door. During the hyperinflation of 1923-24 the order sisters set up a »people’s kitchen« serving 400-500 meals a day. In the Second World War »St. Josef-Haus« suffered huge damage but the large majority of the old building could still be saved. After the Second World War, a gradual shift occurred. By 2006 all that remained was the kindergarten, crèche and old people’s home. After the rebuilding and relocation of the kindergarten and old people’s home and the closure of the crèche in 2006 the building was largely empty until its renovation and establishment as a hotel in 2009.