legacy of Franz Stephan von Lothringen lives on at "KAISERHAUS"
The house at Wallnerstraße 3
has a history as varied as it is interesting.
The history of the development of the Palais KAISERHAUS has not been
authenticated with certainty, but it is certain that there were originally two
houses in the area. There are still arches from a building constructed in the
15th century on the ground floor. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the buildings
were merged and rebuilt several times, and there was even a renovation in
accordance with plans likely made by J.E. Fischer von Erlach.
On February 13, 1740, Franz
Stephan von Lothringen, who would later be Kaiser, purchased the building at
Wallnerstraße 3, which had been the property of Karl Josef Graf von Lambert and
Sprinzenstein since 1706.
From 1740 until 1765, Kaiser
Franz Stephan von Lothringen, the husband of Maria Theresia, used the Palais as
his personal quarters and receiving house for visits related to the "Holy Roman
Reich", while the Hofburg Imperial Palace was used for the administration of
Maria Theresia's crown lands.
Contract for purchase of the
Palais at Wallnerstraße, original from February 13, 1740
Not only did the
KAISERHAUS offer Franz Stephan von Lothringen the option of getting away
from the hectic fuss of everyday life as Kaiser, but it also turned into a
subsidiary location for the Kaiser's diplomacy, secret negotiations and
unofficial activities. The Kaiser's laboratory was hidden on the
subterranean floors, where experiments that were necessary aids in making
decisions for commercial innovations were carried out.
Situated at a location
not far from the Hofburg Imperial Palace, the dimensions of the Palais
were scarcely different from those of the luxurious winter palace of Prinz
Eugen, but the simple facade communicated its owner's lifestyle of noble
restraint, which turned into a subsidiary location for the Kaiser's
diplomatic activities as well as everyday life.
This may have also been a
reason why the Palais was referred to as the "KAISERHAUS" in colloquial
language even at the time of Franz Stephan.