Economical conditions since 1805.

In the year 1805 it became possible for the Spitalhöfer Mennonites to purchase the farm. The cooperative farming, as it was done for almost 150 years, slowly disappeared. In the early days the Mennonites only could, through extra hard work and efficient management, overcome the burden of special taxes. This made them hard working and efficient farmers, which had a positive impact on them after they gained equal rights after 1800. The closeness in the Mennonite community, good education and hard work made them wealthy. In the years 1810, 1840 and 1845 new Residences where built within the large courtyard. About the same time a new farm was built "vor dem Tor" just outside of the Gate.

Bean harvest at the Jakob Lichti Family about 1916.

In front of the "großen Haus" (big House - Spital). Easily succeeds with united strength,
what one cannot achieve.

Ready to harvest the grapes

Family Rudolf Lichti at the Asparagus harvest, June 1934

At the strawberry harvest

Strawberry sale at the Richard Lichti family

Palantine quality peaches from the orchard farm of Richard Lichti.

The mild climate of the "Vorderpfalz" (eastern part of the palatinate) and light sandy soil along with good ground water conditions made it possible to raise more then just the usual farm products and hops. These conditions made it possible to produce fruits, vegetables and grapes for wine on large areas of land. When the time came for planting the orchards, they chose many different kinds of fruits and varieties that produced large fruits. The nearby city of Neustadt was a good place to sell their fresh farm products. The "Spitalhöfer" farmers went three times a week to the "Wochenmarkt" (farmers market) and offered their fruits and vegetables for sale. In addition to this they took the farm products to the farmers market in Kaiserslautern and a cannery at Pfeddersheim by Worms. In order to archive a good price for their produce and fruits they made many trips during the night to be at the place of sale early in the morning. Because of the high quality their products, especially their Peaches and Apricots, their harvests was very sought after. Then around 1900 and later a lot of their fruit was shipped with the train. This form of direct marketing stopped in the 1930's as most of their farm products through farm Cooperatives found its way to the retail markets. Wine, that for many years was made and sold, was sold through wine cooperatives. Sand for building was sold to local construction firms, as lots of sand was needed for the reconstruction after the First World War.
The French occupied the palatinate from 1918 till 1930, and Neustadt became a French Garrison City. Because of the building of the French barracks the Branchweilerhöfer lost lots of their best farmland. The compensation they received for their land did not in anyway make up for the long term loses. Request to the occupying authorities to build the barracks on land that was less suited for agriculture where unfavorably returned.
The high inflation, the then, in southwest Germany common "Realteilung", along with many Children of the family's created a difficult economic situation for the farmers at the Branchweilerhof. Inflation got so out of hand that the revenue from one day at the farmers market a week later was only enough to purchase a pair of shoelaces. They counted the money in millions and billions and took the breadbox to keep all the paper money in. Everyone was relieved when then in November 1923 the "Rentenmark" became the official currency. At the stabilizing of the currency one Billion Papermark was exchanged for one Rentenmark. And now again a foundation was laid for a healthy economy to emerge. Economic prosperity did not take place until the 1930's however, which was partly due to the agriculture friendly policies of the government. The Second World War and its disastrous conclusion brought again this economic prosperity to an end. Easier time would not return until the 1950's at which the diversified farm practices where abandoned and specialized farming practices where adopted. This change made it necessary, from 1962 till 1966, for some of the farms to move from the limited buildings of the Branchweilerhof to the east where they build new farms. Two of the four farms that moved at that time specialized themselves in raising chickens, one of Fruit and wine and one of milk production. The five farms that remained at the Branchweilerhof, where over the coming years, shot down because of age or health reasons and other more profitable employment. This was also the turn, for a rural community, into a semi rural urban Mennonite settlement.

1918-1920 Strawberry harvest close to the "Hof". In the background the old wall around the "Hof" and the roof's of the buildings and the fruit orchards. This was at the time during the French occupation.
Seated in front:
Emilie Lichti
Adolf Lichti
Renate Lichti (in the arms of Adolf- his daughter)
Lidia Lichti (wife of Adolf)

foreground standing:
Richard Lichti
Marie Lichti (wife of Richard)
standing with an apron:
Johanna Thiele (born Lichti, sister of Adolf and Richard)
On the vast land to the east of the railroad to the county line and Speyerdorfer Street in the south the Mennonites practiced intensive agriculture. Fruit and wine where the dominant products. It is also said that the Mennonites brought the first Luzern-clover and the lime fertilization to the area.