Le Dézaley wrote its history in the shadow of Charlemagne. A historical journey through time, which is closely related to the history of Zurich itself. The path from its first mention in 1274 through to the present day. These developments are documented in the following text.
"Das Deutsche Haus" (The German House): old postcard from Dézaley
The twin house at Römergasse No. 7 & 9, "Das Deutsche Haus", or "Tütsch Hus", is a remarkable house for many reasons: because of its name, its respectable age, certain structural facts, and the fate of its owners, residents and the house itself.
It probably dates back to the Early Middle Ages, or possibly even to antiquity. We are only able to document the house as far back as 1274. It is mentioned several more times in the subsequent centuries, usually in relation to a sale or change of ownership. – The name "Tütsch Hus" comes from one of its medieval owners, the German preceptory in Hitzkirch in the canton of Lucerne.
According to a record from 1274, the commander of the German preceptory in Hitzkirch sold the German House to Probst und Kapitel, of the Grossmünster, for 20 marks in silver Zurich currency.
In the first half of the 14th century, the house belonged to the Zurich citizen Niklaus Bilgri: until 1350, the year in which he was caught and executed for plotting and participating in the Zurich Night of Murder. The possessions of all the conspirators were confiscated by the authorities. Thus, the German House was also seized, passing into the ownership of the city of Zurich for several years. From 1350 to 1356, a governmental commission used it as an office for processing and selling the goods that were confiscated from the conspirators. It stood empty in 1357, and in 1358, the mayor, council and citizens sold it to the knight Heinrich von Ifenthal from Solothurn (did it fail to find a local buyer because of the eerie fact that it was formerly occupied by someone who had been executed?). Towards the end of the 14th century: until 1399, two daughters of Heinrich von Ifenthal lived in the house, one of whom remained there until 1410.
In the latter half of the 15th century, and at the start of the 16th century, the house belonged to the Zurich citizen Hans Johannes Schwend der Lange and his descendants; from 1450 to 1469, Hans Schwend der Lange lived there himself with his wife and daughter. In 1511, the owners are recorded as being Ulrich, Felix and Heinrich Schwend and their sister Regula Murer-Schwend; for 1517, the owner and resident is shown as being the "Junker" Felix Schwend. Other mentions of the house date back to 1525 and 1526.
In this year, within the context of a change of ownership, the house underwent a structural change that was relatively drastic for the occupants and owners. The previous owner of both sections of the house – the upper and lower German House (today, Römergasse 7 and 9) – sold the lower house; up until then, both sections had been connected to one another internally by doors in the partitioning wall, and were classed as one single house; now, however, the buyer of the lower house had to pay to have the doors in the partitioning wall bricked in, which resulted in two completely separate houses. – In the 16th century, the owners and occupants of the German House came from the Zurich bourgeoisie families Zimmermann, Ochsner and Hottinger, among others.
In the 17th century, the lower German House accommodated the Zurich citizen Salomon Hottinger-Habholz (later, Schaufelberger) around 1637 and for several subsequent years (?); Heinrich Wirth-Orelli is specified as the owner in 1671, and Anna Huber-Saluz – widow of the needlemaker Hans Jakob Huber – in 1682.
For the period around 1756 to 1762, the owners and occupants were the widow of Dr Christoph Gessner in the lower section of the house and Dr Schinz in the upper section. The house stood empty in 1780. In 1790, it was occupied by Mr Schleuchzer and his son. The sequence of ownership/occupancy contains several large gaps in the records, which is evident from the above. The people specified in the records all belonged to old and respectable families of the Zurich bourgeoisie, their professions ranging from tradesmen and merchants, to doctors and clergy.
For the second and final thirds of the century, the insurance and land register shows the owners of the lower German House as being:
1832 - Caspar Locher, swordsmith
1863 - Caspar Locher’s heirs
1866 - Jakob Diener, builder
1877 - J. Carl Morf, chimney sweep
1879 - Johann Wunderli
1880 - Johann Wuderli’s estate
1882 - J. Peter, notary and underwriting banks
1891 - Heinrich Rusterholz
1892 - Jacques Geiger
1893 - Jakob Huber
1896 - Engelbert Helbock
1897 – Adolf Jordan, restaurateur
1897 - Johannes Scherrer
1898 - Adolf Jordan, restaurateur
1899 - Konrad Götsch
House No. 7 is described as a residential house until 1897; and for 1898 and subsequent years, as one residential house with a trade cellar, ale lift and one dumbwaiter.
The insurance register specifies the following people as the owners of the Römergasse 7 house:
1903-04 Albert Heinrich Landis (note: one residential house, one commercial cellar, one ale lift, one dumbwaiter).
1916-18 Zurich city council (note: residential house and tavern, one commercial cellar, one ale lift, one dumbwaiter).
A restaurant has existed in the Römergasse 7 house at least since 1883, the owner of which is specified by the address book as being Carl Sting, carpenter, who it would seem, however, only served as the owner of this eatery for a short period of time.
The report book of Zurich police's commercial inspectorate division offers the following information:
1883 Ms Neuweiler, publican, "Re. closure of the tavern"
1884 Truninger, publican, "Report relating to illicit sexual conduct by the waitress Elisa Duttli"
1884 Truninger Anton "Report relating to sexual conduct by its waitresses"
1884 Truninger, publican observation report (provocation)
1885 Ms Meier Verena, publican, "Observation that Ms Weiss is likely to be engaging in illicit sexual conduct" Monetary fines, Volume: 1891-92
1891 Oppliger Emil, publican, Römergasse 7, "Dancing without permit"
From the files V Eb 128/1 (city archives):
Former names of the Römergasse 7 restaurant:
1896 (restaurateur: Bütler Alois) Jägerstübli
1897 (restaurateur: Scherrer Maria) Jägerstübli
1898 – 1902: Restaurateurs:
Castal Cassiano, Rathauskeller
An important date: 1 October 1902, under the new restaurateur Benedikt Dummel:
Opening of Café-Restaurant Dézaley, Römergasse 7***
Later on – most probably after 1924 – a son-in-law of Dummel continued to run Café-Restaurant Dézaley: E. Urech-Dummel, until 1941; after this point, widow Maria Bühlmann served as the restaurateur until 1943; Mr J. A. Combe then became the leaseholder; after the restaurant was taken over by Mr Combe, it was renamed "Café-Restaurant Dézaley, Cave Vaudoise".
Since 1974 until 2013, the Le Dézaley restaurant has been run by Pascal Ruhlé, after him Mr. Janic Schweitzer is running the restaurant.
In one of the two houses, which until 1530 together formed one house under the name of "Tütsch Haus", there was a large parlour on the second floor, which had boasted tasteful décor since the Middle Ages, consisting of a domed Gothic ceiling with matching wall panelling; the ceiling was decorated with mullions; Gothic carvings were emblazoned above doors and windows; all around the walls was a row of approximately 30 carved wooden shields, which were painted with the crests of various Zurich bourgeoisie and aristocratic families as well as those of foreign countries (France and Austria), princes and aristocratic families from the era of the Old Zurich War. Furthermore, until the 19th century, one of the two houses contained an old plaque on which the names and crests of eleven members of the Schwend family and their wives from the 13th to 15th centuries were listed and painted. It is not known whether any of these authentic relics from a bygone era still exist.
Housing records from Corrodi-Sulzer (these old original certificates and files are currently stored in the Zurich city archives)
Insurance register/land register in the city archives
Files from Zurich police's commercial inspectorate division in the city archives
Address books of the city of Zurich
Salomon Vögelin: "Das alte Zürich" (old Zurich)
City records of Zurich, published by Zeller-Werdmüller and Hans Nabholz – three volumes