Wernigerode, a town of Germany, in the province of Prussian Saxony, 13 miles (by rail) southwest of Halberstadt, picturesquely situated on the Holzemme, on the north slopes of the Harz Mountains. Pop. (1905) 13,137. It contains several interesting Gothic buildings, including a fine town hall with a timber facade of 1498. Some of the quaint old houses which have escaped the numerous fires that have visited the town are elaborately adorned with wood-carving. The gymnasium, occupying a modern Gothic building, is the successor of an ancient grammar-school, which existed until 1825. Brandy, cigars and dye-stuffs are among the manufactures of the place. Above the town rises the castle (Schloss Wernigerode) of the prince; the original was built in the 12th century. The present castle was built between 1862 and 1893 by K Fruhling and includes parts of the medieval building.
A pavilion in the park contains the library of 117,000 volumes, the chief feature in which is the collection of over 3,000 Bibles and over 5,000 volumes of hymnology. Wernigerode is the chief town of the county (Grafschaft) of Stolberg-Wernigerode, which has an extent of 107 square miles, and includes the Brocken (the highest peak in the Harz range) within its limits.
The counts of Wernigerode, who can be traced back to the early 12th century, were successively vassals of the margraves of Brandenburg (1268), and the archbishops of Magdeburg (1381). On the extinction of the family in 1429 the county fell to the counts of Stolberg, who founded the Stolberg-Wernigerode branch in 1645. The latter surrendered its military and fiscal independence to Prussia in 1714, but retained some of its sovereign rights till 1876. The counts of Stolberg-Wernigerode were raised to princely rank in 1890.
initial entry from a 1911 encyclopedia