The fact that the "German Ivory Museum" is located in the middle of the Odenwald and that up to a third of the population there used to live by carving elephant teeth only seems at first glance to be an exotic misunderstanding. In fact, its introduction arose from the sober reflection of a creative mind. Both were excellently paired in the form of the last regent of the reign of Erbach, Count Franz I, whose 200th anniversary of death will be commemorated in 2023.
Without him, the later district town of Erbach and its neighbour Michelstadt would not have become the centre of the Odenwald. The ivory carving, which the antiquity enthusiast Franz learned to appreciate on trips to Italy, he settled for the "revival of local crafts", whereby he instructed the country's children himself. This form of economic development, combined with many structural measures, was, of course, only one side of the regent.
The other was his musical-cultural inclination. Franz was the first to research and secure the Odenwald Limes in an exemplary manner – documented in 18 large-format folios – and to designate the Roman statues and busts acquired in Italy for viewing, expressly also by the people. Even today, they still stand in Erbach Castle, where even the Ivory Museum, which opened in 1966, has moved since it was taken over by the state of Hesse in 2005.
Apart from one floor of the former residence, the descendants now live in a neo-Gothic castle at an altitude of 500 meters at the apex of the B47. There, too, Franz has laid the foundation with the expansion of a simple hunting accommodation. The building is in direct (sight) connection to perhaps his greatest passion, the creation of an English garden instead of the desert called Eulbach. Planned by Karl Ludwig Louis, the park corresponded to the spirit of romanticism of seemingly unspoilt nature, loosened up by waters, artificial ruins and ancient elements.
The prince proudly led guests along winding paths to the pond with a chapel on an islet and the picturesque "dilapidated Eberhardsburg" in front of it. Symbolically, Franz had it built from stones from various castle, palace and chapel ruins in the area, just as he added an obelisk from the remains of the Würzberg fort, not least with the idea of protecting the masonry from unauthorized access.
However, the Count will hardly have been presented with the impressive picture of the tree exotics, some of which were planted later, and currently wonderfully blooming rhododendrons and azaleas. At that time there were also no game reserves, which were only added in the fifties and suggested the conversion to a visitor park. The mouflon, fallow deer, red and wild boar and the nine-member bison family are likely to be the main attraction of the year-round open facility today.
The English Park Eulbach is located on the B47 and can also be reached by bus. The bus stop and parking lot can be found slightly offset from the entrance. Behind it is an inn and another fallow and red deer enclosure. The visit to the park takes one to two hours.
The surrounding forests still form an extensive wildlife area. Therefore, at the beginning of the hike, you must first open a gate with the red X marking - after the short stretch next to the main road opposite the castle. However, the wild boars, which are immediately visible, belong to Eulbach, whose fencing accompanies the path for a while, replaced by magnificent chestnut trees, before it progresses well in sparse mixed forest on a slight slope.