The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Frankfort-on-the-Main
FRANKFORT-ON-THE-MAIN (Ger. Frankfurt am Main), a city of Germany, in the Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau, formerly a free city and the seat of the Germanic diet, situated in a fertile valley on the right bank of the river Main, 20 m. above its confluence with the Rhine, near the Taunus mountains, 255 m. S. W. of Berlin; pop. in 1871, 90,922, of whom about 12,000 were Roman Catholics, 7,500 Jews, and the remainder Protestants. The finest street is the Zeil, united in 1856 with the Neue Kräme, and also through the new Liebfrauenstrasse with one of the principal squares, the Liebfrauenberg. The other remarkable public squares are the Rossmarkt, with a monument in honor of the art of printing inaugurated in 1857, the Goethe square, with Schwanthaler's statue of Goethe, who was born here, the Schiller square, with Schiller's statue, and the Römerberg. In the latter is the Römer, or council house, where the German emperors were elected and entertained in the Kaisersaal, the walls of which are covered with portraits of the emperors. The golden bull of Charles IV., which regulated the election of the emperors, is preserved in the building.
The founder of the house of Rothschild and his children were born in the Judenstrasse, but almost the whole W. part of this street has since been pulled down. The streets which command most traffic are the Fahrgasse and Schnurgasse, and among the fine streets are the avenues near the city gates and the Schöne Aussicht along the quay. Frankfort is surrounded by a belt of promenades (Anlagen) connecting the gates of the city, which are among the finest pleasure grounds in Europe. Delightful villages, as Bockenheim, Bornheim, Oberrad, &c., are within a short distance of the city, as well as several watering places, such as Homburg, Soden, and Wiesbaden. There are several private and public picture galleries. The Städel museum, so called after its founder, who bequeathed to it $400,000 besides valuable art collections, contains a library and a school of art. Bethmann's garden contains Dannecker's “Ariadne” and his colossal bust of Schiller. In the public library are about 100,000 volumes and many important MSS. The museum of the Senkenberg society of naturalists contains among its principal collections that of Dr. Rüppell, the Abyssinian traveller. Besides a gymnasium, there are many public and private schools. The city is divided into 90 alms districts for the relief of the poor, and there are more than 30 charitable institutions and hospitals. There are four Catholic, six Lutheran, and two Reformed churches, four Lutheran chapels, an English chapel, and two new synagogues. The principal of the Catholic churches is the cathedral or church of St. Bartholomew, a Gothic structure, in which from 1711 the German emperors were crowned. The tower of the church had in 1512 attained 267 ft., when the work was discontinued. The interior of the tower was destroyed by fire in 1867, but by the aid of the Prussian government it is to be restored and to be finished according to the original plan. The most celebrated Lutheran churches are the Katharinen Kirche, where the first Lutheran sermon was preached in 1522, and that of St. Paul (formerly Barfüsserkirche), where the German parliament was held in 1848 and 1849. The theatre of Frankfort is among the best in Germany. The post office on the Zeil is a stately building, as well as the exchange. The once famous fairs have declined in importance since the opening of railways, and while the quantity of goods brought to them in 1842 amounted to 102,000 quintals, it was only 34,500 quintals in 1870. The horse fairs, however, are still active. Frankfort continues to be a good market for wine, cider, beer, breadstuffs, and meats. The amount of duties paid on imports during the year ending Sept. 30, 1872, was about $775,000. Many diamond dealers having removed from Paris to Frankfort during the Franco-German war, the export of jewelry has increased from only about $6,000 in previous years to upward of $200,000 in 1871. The export of human hair and hair work has also increased from about $400 to over $70,000, and nearly half of it goes to the United States. The total exports to the United States from Oct. 1, 1871, to Oct. 1, 1872, amounted to $1,448,925, being chiefly leather, hides, skins, hatter's fur, jewelry and precious stones, and linen, woollen, and cotton goods. There are many banking houses, foremost among which are those of Rothschild and Bethmann. The number of houses, chiefly Jewish, engaged in the stock and exchange business amounts to at least 200. The magnitude of this business is due partly to the great wealth of the city, and partly to its geographical situation, which makes it a convenient medium of exchange; and it is the most important continental market for American securities. The chief local manufactures are carpets, table covers, jewelry, playing cards, oilcloth, tobacco, snuff, and Frankfort black. The extensive manufactories at Offenbach and in other neighboring localities are mainly conducted by Frankfort houses. Since the annexation of the city to Prussia, a great impulse has been given to its industry; and in particular, extensive type founderies and manufactories of sewing machines and chemicals have been established. The suburb of Sachsenhausen, on the left bank of the Main, and united to Frankfort by a fine stone bridge, is an important market for fruits and vegetables. Leipsic has taken from Frankfort the supremacy which it once possessed in the book trade, but there are 40 booksellers in the city, and several important publishing and engraving establishments. There are about 20 daily and periodical publications. Seven railways proceed from Frankfort, two only for a short distance. The trade on the Main was in 1870 carried on by 728 vessels.—Frankfort is mentioned in 794, under the name of Palatium Franconenford, as the place selected by Charlemagne for the seat of an imperial convention and religious council. The independence of the city dates to some extent from the 13th century. Many privileges were conferred upon it in the next century, and it acquired still greater importance by the elections and subsequently by the coronations of the German emperors which took place here. Frankfort was captured by the French in 1759, 1792, and 1796. In 1806 it became the residence of the prince-primate of the confederation of the Rhine, and in 1810, under the same, the capital of a grand duchy, with an area of about 2,000 sq. m., and a population of 300,000. In 1815 it was recognized as one of the free cities of Germany, and in 1816 as the seat of the Germanic diet. From 1848 to 1866 it was governed by a senate of 21 members elected for life, who annually chose a senior and a junior burgomaster, and a legislative assembly of 88 members, elected from all classes and religious denominations. The financial affairs were mainly controlled by a standing committee of 51 citizens, who were elected for life. Changes in the constitution could not be made without the consent of the whole body of citizens. The city had together with the other three free cities the 17th vote in the narrower council of the diet, and was entitled to a full vote in the plenum. On April 3, 1833, the city was the theatre of a political outbreak, for which many students were arrested. In 1836 it joined the Zollverein. In 1848 and 1849 it derived political importance from the German parliament held there. A riot broke out during the excitement about the Schleswig-Holstein war (Sept. 18, 1848), in which the Prussian major general Auerswald and Prince Felix Lichnowsky were killed by the mob. In the German war of 1866 Frankfort sided with Austria, and was on that account annexed to Prussia. On May 10, 1871, a treaty of peace between Germany and France was concluded here.