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Local News Summary of January, 9th

  • Shock for Café Frühling staff: broken window and stolen goods
  • The little weather house at Claraplatz and its donor

Shock for Café Frühling staff: broken window and stolen goods

 When Felix Hohlmann and his team arrived to unlock the doors of Café Frühling at Klybeckstrasse on Sunday morning, they were met with a nasty surprise: The window of the entrance door had been smashed in, and several objects had been stolen.

 “No major things were stolen,” Mr Hohlmann told barfi.ch. “It was predominantly smaller objects near the cash register and small iPads. But what exactly was stolen is currently under investigation.” The forensics team paid a visit to the premises on Sunday morning. “Unfortunately, you will have to wait a while for us to open today,” he told customers. “The people from forensics are still working.”

 Later on Sunday, the Café owner gave an update about the situation. A few objects of value and some coffee vouchers had also been stolen. The team sees this with good humour: “We take this as a compliment about our coffee,” said the manager. By that time, the forensics team had finished their work and the door had been repaired. For the rest of the day, the Café was open again – even though it was “a bit improvised”.


The little weather house at Claraplatz and its donor

 Joseph Schetty (1824-1894) was a real Basel self-made man: he was from a very modest background and died a wealthy man. Among other things, he donated the magnificent little weather house on Claraplatz.


One of the biggest construction sins of the city

Opposite the Clara church stands one of the biggest construction sins in Basel’s city history. It is an oppressive building which dominates the mood on Claraplatz – but in a positive manner. The beautiful Äbtissische Hof (Abbess Courtyard) was there in the past, a fantastic building from Baroque times. The demolition of this historic building truly was a tragedy. Basel’s government of the time, which had this idea in 1951, must have been out of its mind.


The ghost of the abbey

It is believed there was also a ghost in the Abbess Courtyard. The man whose phantom haunted this place was Basel entrepreneur Joseph Schetty, a man who came from a very modest background. He had grown up in Kleinbasel as the son of a tobacco factory worker who had died very young.


Silk dyer

In 1837, the young Joseph began an apprenticeship as a silk dyer at barely 13 years old. His master was Johann Rudolf Wegener, who had his small factory at Claraplatz, right behind the Abbess Courtyard. Joseph Schetty passed and admired this courtyard on the way to work every day.


Independent dyer

After his apprenticeship, Mr Schetty founded his own dyer’s shop together with his wife Verena. Both of them worked diligently day and night. The small and at first simple dyer’s shop became one of the biggest in Basel and moved to Rappoltshof. Mr Schetty turned out to be a shrewd businessman and became rich. In 1873, he bought the Abbess Courtyard at Claraplatz which he had always admired when still learning his trade.


Technological innovations

Joseph Schetty thought positively about technological inventions. In his spare time, he worked at the fire department, where he introduced several innovations. Already in the 1890s, he had electrical lights installed in his company, and set up one of the first telephone lines of Basel between the observation post on Martinsturm of the Basel Münster and the fire department.



Soon, the people of Basel came to call the Abbess Courtyard the “Schettyhäuser” (Schetty houses). In 1892, Schetty donated a beautiful weather house to Basel, which can still be seen on Claraplatz today in all its green colours and wonderful details. The donation marked the jubilee of the unification of Grossbasel and Kleinbasel in 1392.


The only remnant

The iron foundry Johann Friedrich Mack from Frankfurt am Main specialised in such fabrications, and this is where the wealthy entrepreneur from Basel placed his order. Today, the little weather house is the only remnant of the former beauty of the Abbess Courtyard.