Station:  City Models
F: Offenbach was first mentioned in a document in 977. What followed was the development from village to town, from town to city, from city to metropolis, a process that took centuries. These two town models show what Offenbach was like in 1800 and in 1850.
M: The model of the village in 1800 shows an Offenbach of two parts. At its centre is the “Altgemeinde”, the old parish surrounding Isenburg Palace. That was where the farmers and fisher folk lived. At the edge of the village is the “Neugemeinde”, the new parish with ramrod-straight roads. It was built as the result of a wave of incomers in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, when Huguenots and Jews settled in Offenbach.
F: The other town model shows the bank of the River Main in 1850. The risk of flooding meant that it wasn’t possible to build along the river at the time. The first houses only appeared there after the Main Embankment was built in 1892. Of the buildings in Herrnstrasse, where our museum is, only Büsing Palace has survived. This city palace in the neo-baroque style is just a few minutes' walk from our museum and is regarded as Offenbach's most prestigious building. It also started out as a snuff factory.
M: The Frankfurt banking family of Metzler had a “bathing temple”, which has also survived. There’s a small pond in front of it, but it originally stood right on the riverbank. Today, a street runs along between the bathhouse and the river. Take a look at your screen to see a wonderfully atmospheric painting of the bathing temple.
F: However, the summer house you see in the town model, the one in pastel colours that was the site of meetings between Goethe and Lilli Schönemann in 1775, no longer exists. It was demolished in 1892. You’ll hear more about Goethe in Offenbach at stop number 12.
M: Have you spotted the cart being pulled by a pair of greys in the town model? That’s the beginning of Herrnstrasse. The street was laid out in 1691 by Count Johann Philipp. The name "Herrn" tells us that this was where the gentry lived – and not the fishers and farmers, as in the old village centre.
Fotos: © J. Baumann