1882 – The Architectural Dream

Stephan Sarter was born the youngest son of a Bonn innkeeper in 1833. Following his apprenticeship at a bank and several stays abroad, he made his fortune by speculating on the stock exchange and, incidentally, helping to finance the Suez Canal. In 1882, he was ennobled by Duke Georg von Sachsen-Meiningen and, by 1882, Baron Stephan von Sarter had already laid the foundation stone for an imposing residence, namely, Schloss Drachenburg – a mixture of villa, mansion and castle. Two Düsseldorf-based architects, Leo von Abbema and Bernhard Tüshaus, drew up the original plans which were subsequently revised by Wilhelm Hoffmann, an architect resident in Paris and a former pupil of Ernst Friedrich Zwirner, a Cologne Cathedral architect. The historical architecture and splendid furnishings of Schloss Drachenburg were to find much admiration amongst contemporaries. Yet Sarter was never to live there. His chosen place of domicile was Paris where he died in 1902, still a bachelor, without having regulated his inheritance. Jakob Biesenbach, one of his nephews, bought the castle from the state.