It’s been a while since we’ve delved into the photos in my old Glimpses of the World book.

So here’s a late-nineteenth-century photo of Frankfurt am Main, Germany …



The book’s caption for this image (written in 1892) reads as follows:

“Frankfurt am Main is one of those cities which combine the characteristics of medieval and modern Germany. Some of its streets are as winding and as narrow as they were six centuries ago, and others bear the stamp of the New Empire, broad, well-paved, and adorned with handsome structures. It has many interesting relics of the past. Here is the Council House where the German emperors were elected and entertained in the Kaisersaal, the walls of which are covered with their portraits. In its cathedral, whose spire rises far above the town, the German emperors were crowned. [Actually, German kings and Holy Roman Emperors were crowned in Cologne for several hundred years, after Charlemagne was first crowned there in 800. German kings were also crowned in Frankfurt from the middle of the sixteenth century through the end of the eighteenth.]

“Here may be seen the house in which originated the famous family of the Rothschilds. Its highest literary distinction is the fact that here the poet Goethe was born in 1749, at No. 23 Hirschgraben. In 1863 the house was purchased for 56,000 florins, by a German society designed to promote art, science, and general culture. Thus Goethe’s birthplace was made forever the common property of all German people. Its various rooms are kept as a little museum of Geothe literature and art. Near this river Main is a spot known as ‘Goethe’s Rest,’ because he is said to have there admired the situation and beauty of his native city. One square of Frankfurt is also called Goethe Platz, and is adorned with a fine bronze statue of the illustrious author of Faust. This is a city of immense wealth, and offers a good market for American securities. [Frankfurt, traditionally and still today, is of course a major banking center.]

“Its name is said to be derived from an episode in the life of Charlemagne, when he, together with his army of Franks, found here a ford across the river.”