“Hanging places” are not quite what you would expect when you first read it. It is not an alternative name for the Galgenberg (as this place was called from the Middle Ages onwards) where condemned criminals were hanged, but denotes something completely different.
For this we have to go to Imperial Vienna in the late 18th century. It was the time when social changes gave the petty bourgeoisie the opportunity to acquire certain comforts of life.
This included having their laundry washed out of the house. They did not have enough money for their own servants, but at least they had enough to pay laundresses.
In Vienna, they were called “Wäschermadl”, and the most important means of doing their work was, of course, running water. That is why they settled along streams and rivers and the so-called Himmelpfortgrund, which was a separate municipality outside Vienna until 1850, proved to be particularly suitable.
At that time there were several streams here, the most important of which were the Alserbach and the Währinger Bach. The courses of the two were lined day after day with the singing and chatting women and soon also became a popular destination for excursionists.
For the neat “Madeln” and their work were not only beautiful to look at, but they were also known for their singing skills and their repartee (the so-called “Goscherl”) and the Viennese were proud of this genuine “Volkstype”.
On the only hill in the municipality, the so-called Sechsschimmelberg, stood their Wäscherburg, a one-storey building with deep courtyards that was inhabited exclusively by the washerwomen and their families.
And it was exactly here that the so-called “Hängstätten” were located. This was simply a designation for the undeveloped area around the launderer’s castle, where ropes were stretched between high poles on which the laundry was hung out to dry.
Hence the name “Hängstätten”.