From a geographical point of view, the traditional house is located in Muttenz. But for many years the mail was delivered to the "Forest House" by Birsfelden, hence the Birsfelden postal address. This means that both Muttenz and Birsfelden secretly claim to own the Waldhaus, which is why it is now called the Waldhaus beider Basel. The restaurant should "belong" to everyone, the people of Muttenz, Birsfelden, the city dwellers and everyone else, to a certain extent.
Not a drop of distilled water in the lane and only quality liquor in the house. These were the conditions for the approval of the "Waldhaus" in the Hardwald. In 1897, the government of the canton of Basel-Landschaft discussed the construction of the inn. They decided in favor of the planned restaurant.
By 1905, the inn had been built for CHF 139,000, and by 1911 it had been taken over by the civic community Basel for CHF 125,000. The "Waldhaus" is still owned by the citizens of Basel to this day.
In 1933, the building was in need of renovation work for the first time. The Citizens' Council meets to discuss appropriate sums for the building's weak points. On October 17, 1933, the " Council proposal concerning the approval of a loan for conversion and repairs in the 'Waldhaus'." stated: "The building, which was built as a forester's lodge and later extended with various annexes, needs to be constantly repaired, partly due to its construction and partly due to its location in the middle of the forest.
As a result, the town council approved a budget of 130,000 Swiss francs. The money was used to extend the hall, install central heating, a cooling system and various other renovations. Seven years later, Switzerland was also affected by the effects of the Second World War. Companies had to close temporarily. Both the economy and the society had been severely affected by the war. From the fall of 1940 to Whitsun 1941, the town council decided to close the Waldhaus.
Fritz Freyvogel-Stohler took over the lease in June 1941, and the reopening was soon followed by the first change of tenants. Since its construction, the Waldhaus has had a total of seven tenants. The Wyniger family is the eighth.
A lasting event in the history of the "Waldhaus" took place 28 years after the re-opening of the house at that time. A fire broke out in an outbuilding that belonged to the property and was used for a variety of purposes. The fire brigades of Muttenz and Birsfelden were called out to extinguish the fire on November 7, 1969. The damage to the building was estimated at over 150,000 francs. Reconstruction costs 174,00 francs. Six years later, the Citizens' Council drew up a study on the redesign of the "Waldhaus". It calculated that 6.5 million francs would be needed.
However, the redesign of the building was not on the agenda, although a number of renovations did take place. In 1976, the situation was far from rosy. On February 11, a local newspaper wrote: "The restaurant in the secluded Bürgerwald is almost hopelessly in dept, sales in the hotel and restaurant business are declining, and the staff is still waiting to get paid.
This year, of all years, is also the year in which the community is on the lookout for a new tenant. And then a solution will have to be found for the next three years.
By the time Gilbert and Annelore took over the Waldhaus in 1979, it was in an "ailing state", according to Bechter. Over time, the "Waldhaus" also lost its name and reputation.
"Stähli has made it great again" says Bechter in February 2022. Not only that, Stähli gave the "Waldhaus" a considerable cellar, which at its best held over 15,000 bottles. One may assume that these were quality wines.
In 2015, Stähli announced his intention to retire. At this point, while plans for the upcoming renovation of the house are well underway, it is still unclear with whom he will continue. As a result, the "Waldhaus" will temporarily close its doors as of December 2020. After 41 years, the 75-year-old will leave the Waldhaus and hand over the keys.
Source: BZ Basel