Cave Apartments of Langenstein

The first two cave dwellings were built after the abandonment of the Altenburg. Two caves in the area of the castle were converted into apartments. A first apartment has existed here since 1787. In the period from 1855 to 1858, ten apartments were built in the sandstone cliffs on the Schäferberg. In Langenstein there was a considerable housing shortage. Several young families from Langenstein and workers from the area of Goslar urgently needed housing. A request from the village school leader Hinze to the district councillor Gustav von Gustedt to support the community in the creation of housing was rejected. The community council decided that the possibility of creating cave dwellings should be given. The rock walls were sold to those willing to build for eight pennies each.

The work was carried out by the house seekers with hammer, pickaxe and chisel and lasted between two and five months. The small apartments, about 30 square meters in size, had similar designs and each had a living room, bedroom, children’s room and pantry. Chimneys lead through the rock upwards, among which there were originally brick herds. The only building materials needed were a door and a window. The dividing wall between the rooms was formed by standing rock. Only the front room had natural light. Columns over doors and chimneys should allow air circulation, which should prevent mould and moisture from forming on the walls.

There were pastures above the caves. By grazing with sheep and goats, shrubbery and tree growth should be prevented. There was the mocking verse: “In Langenstein, in Langenstein, the sheep were dumping in the chimneys.”

One of the apartments is called Schmidthöhle. To the left of the entrance is a memorial plaque with the lifetimes of the couple Karoline (1825-1909) and Ludwig Schmidt (1829-1910), who lived here. Ludwig Schmidt was active as a barrel organ player.