Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Frankfort-on-the-Oder

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From volume IX of the work.
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FRANKFORT-on-the-Oder, in German Frankfurt-an-der-Oder, a town of Germany at the head of a government in the Prussian province of Brandenburg, about 50 miles in an easterly direction from Berlin. The town proper, which has far outgrown the limits of its ancient walls, lies on the left of the river, but it is connected by a wooden bridge 900 feet long with the suburb of Damm. Among the more important buildings are the Protestant church of St Mary’s (the Oberkirche), a handsome brick edifice of the 13th century, the Roman Catholic church, the Jewish synagogue, the Rathhaus, dating from 1607, and bearing on its southern gable the sign of the Hanseatic League, the city infirmary, three hospitals, an orphan asylum, a workhouse, a theatre, the Frederick gymnasium, and the provincial industrial school. The university of Frankfort, which was founded in 1506 by the elector of Brandenburg, Joachim I., was removed to Breslau in 1811, and the university buildings are now occupied by the Realschule. As the chief town of a province, Frankfort is the seat of a court of appeal, a general commission, and a number of administrative boards. Its industry is mainly devoted to the manufacture of iron-wares, pottery, paper, silk and woollen goods, bone-dust, chocolate, and liqueurs. Being situated on the high road from Berlin to Silesia, commanding an extensive system of water communication by means of the Oder and its canals to the Vistula and the Elbe, and in modern times having become an important railway junction, it maintains no small commercial activity, which is further fostered and concentrated by its three annual fairs held respectively at Reminiscere or the second Sunday in Lent, at St Margaret’s day, and at Martinmas. The population, which in 1849 was 29,969, had at the census of 1875 attained to 47,176. The municipal existence of Frankfort goes back to 1253, when it was colonized by Frankish merchants introduced by John and Conrad of Brandenburg, who had recently conquered the district from the Wends. The principal facts in its external history are—the siege which it successfully sustained against the emperor Charles IV. in the time of the pretender Waldemar; the papal excommunication in 1426, on account of its quarrel with the bishop of Lebus; the siege of the Hussites in 1432, of the Poles in 1450, and of the duke of Sagan in 1477; and its capture by Gustavus Adolphus in 1631, and by the Russians in 1759. The presence of the Russians on this occasion cost the town 300,000 thalers, and in the earlier part of the following century the continual quartering of foreign troops created great destitution, compelling the magistrates to procure a loan of 208,000 thalers. Ewald von Kleist died in the town in August 1759, from the effects of a wound received in the battle at the neighbouring village of Kunersdorf; a monument was erected over his grave in the “park” in 1779. Henrich von Kleist was born in the town in 1776, and Franz von Gaudy in 1800.