A name steeped in history – St. Anton am Arlberg celebrates a special birthday in 2017: the 90th anniversary of its name.
Just imagine: If St. Anton am Arlberg wasn’t called St. Anton am Arlberg. How else would it be called, you might ask. Nasserein, for example: And that was indeed the case only 90 years ago. Today, Nasserein is a district of St. Anton am Arlberg. Many years ago, it was in fact the name of the whole village. It was not until 1927 that the world famous name of St. Anton – and always with the suffix of “am Arlberg” – was officially appointed as the village name.
5 x name changes
During its 750 year history, St. Anton am Arlberg has been the bearer of five names: The village was known as “Vallis taberna” in 1275, and then “Stanzertal” for centuries. During this time, today’s well-known name of “St, Anton” emerged for the first time: In 1691, the newly built church was dedicated to St. Antony, after which a sub-district of the village was named St. Anton. The various place names played a major role in finding a name for St. Anton am Arlberg: The whole place was named St. Jakob for a short period in 1805. The municipality was then named Nasserein from 1811. “This had a lot to do with the fact that the “Post Guesthouse” was located in Nasserein”, says Helmut Mall, mayor of St. Anton am Arlberg.
St. Anton prevails
Things changed over the following years: First of all, construction of the highway meant that St. Jakob and Nasserein could be bypassed. St. Anton grew in importance. Construction of the Arlbergbahn cable car consolidated the choice of name even further. “The newly constructed railway station was not called Nasserein, but St. Anton am Arlberg. And the Arlberg ski school, founded by Hannes Schneider in the winter of 1921/22, was also named Arlbergw. Visitors became more acquainted with the name of St. Anton am Arlberg”, says the mayor, and the name St. Anton more familiar to the outside world. And within the village itself? “There were many discussions. It was the proprietor of the legendary Hotel Post, Walter Schuler, who finally pushed for a decision in the 1920s. The other factions were under pressure: The name St. Anton was already recognised, the point of no return had been crossed”, says Helmut Mall. The state government of Tyrol agreed to the official name-change in 1927, and the village has been known as St. Anton am Arlberg ever since. The municipality received its own coat of arms two years later – and that too has a special feature. “It depicts the Tyrolean eagle. Something found only on a very few, and especially older coats of arms in Tyrol”, says Mall.
Special anniversary exhibition
From autumn 2017 (October 7th), the local heritage museum in St.Anton am Arlberg will be hosting a special exhibition in honour of the 90th anniversary of the village being given its name. The history of St. Anton, its rise to becoming an international ski resort, infrastructure and cultural history will be on display at the historic Kandahar House, in which the local museum can be found.