Vis á vis the Tomson-Trestle, you’ll find the landmark of Dortmund’s city district Derne: the two-story tower scaffolding over shaft 4. Its master builders constructed it in the years 1933/34 in solid wall building style and were forced to set up the scaffolding’s struts in an unusual way: almost perpendicularly. This was due to the two machine houses that had to stand close to the headframe because of confined space. To achieve a favorable cable inclination angle, the persons in charge decided to install the twin steam-driven hoisting machines on the machine house’s first floor. The two devices were manufactured in 1924 and 1934 by the smeltery Gutehoffnungshütte in Oberhausen, and are still preserved up until now.
The proclamation of the German Empire (1871) and the following economic upswing had hardly begun when today’s Dortmund city district Derne entered into the industrial era. In 1873, the first shaft sinking activities began at Gneisenau mine. But instead of being able to get excited about hard coal, the mining company initially had to battle against masses of water. The inflows were so strong that regular production could only start in 1886. But the path was now clear and an incredible success story began.
In 1891, Gneisenau mine transferred into the ownership of Harpener Bergbau-AG. The persons in charge continually looked for new ways to develop the coal agreement. The company therefore acquired various additional mines which they had to discontinue again until the start of the 1930s. This didn’t have a negative impact on Gneisenau mine’s success. That’s because at the end of the 1920s, the company started to expand the mine into a large-scale pit. Harpener Bergbau-AG started up operations of a new large-scale coking plant in 1928 and merged Gneisenau with the hard coal mine Scharnhorst in 1931. As of 1934, coal was only produced through the new central hoisting shaft 4 at Gneisenau.
It still took a little bit of time until the mine was considered as the number one in coal production in the Ruhr region. Gneisenau was heavily destroyed in the Second World War. And nevertheless, the employees managed to already start up operations again in June 1945. The large-scale coking plant’s gates opened up a year later. Harpener Bergbau-AG continued its expansion strategy and acquired the entire construction field of Victoria mine between 1963 and 1964.
From now on, the mine only knew one way to go: higher and higher. Gneisenau achieved this goal in 1970. With around 6000 employees and annual output of more than three million tons of coal, it was the most productive mine in the Ruhr region at that time. The mine was even able to increase this remarkable result: In 1974, it produced altogether over four million tons and therefore attained the highest annual output in its history.
The monument ensemble is a building block steeped in history in the "redevelopment area Derne" and is being integrated into the development concepts for this northern district (more information under following link). The Förderkreis Zechenkultur Gneisenau e.V. is continually vitalizing the plant with highly different projects. This commitment is making the machine building a popular contact point in the Derne district. It is also used as an event venue for culture and leisure time and it inspires people from the whole region.