The Schlösschen (“Little Castle”) complex has belonged to the town of Heidelberg since 1916, and in 1921 the town turned the buildings into a youth hostel. The demand was so great that the stables were demolished and a new purpose-built youth hostel then opened its doors in 1928. The basement of this new youth hostel contained public baths and showers. The youth hostel remained here until it moved to new and much bigger premises near the zoo in 1956. The old building was often referred to as the “Bathhouse” because of the public baths.
After its use as a youth hostel, the building was used to accommodate young refugees, then a school for children with special needs, and then the Municipal School for Music and Singing.
Due to the ever-growing need by the music school and by local societies for an event venue in Handschuhsheim, the town of Heidelberg decided in 1985 to demolish the old buildings on the site of the former stables and orangery and build a brand new community centre with a hall that can seat up to 500 persons and with various practice rooms for the music school and societies.
This community centre is named after Handschuhsheim’s most famous son, the artist Carl Rottmann, who was born here in 1797. His father was Friedrich Rottmann, also an artist and university drawing-master from whom Carl Rottmann learned his skills. At the age of 22 Carl Rottmann went to Munich, where he became an artist at the Bavarian court and gained a reputation as a fine landscape painter. In Munich he married his cousin Maria Friederike Augusta von Skell, the daughter of the court garden director Friedrich Ludwig von Skell. Carl Rottmann died in 1850 and was buried in the von Skell family grave in Munich.
There is a plaque commemorating Carl Rottmann in the courtyard here and a street named after him in Handschuhsheim.