Fechenheim am Main, Hessen, Germany
Part of Frankfurt am Main
Home of My Kaiser Family from 1636 to 1949
A Short History of Fechenheim am Main
Taunusstrasse sometime after 1902 when the City Hall was built and before 1914 when the name of the
street name changed to Pfortenstrasse. Melanchtonkirche on the left. City Hall on the right behind the
half-timbered houses which no longer exist.
Fechenheim, the place of my birth, is located on the eastern edge of the large city of Frankfurt on the Main River in Hessen, Germany. Originally, it was an independent village. The Main River forms an S just east of Frankfurt. Fechenheim lies on the west side of the S.
As with most towns in Germany, this is a very old one, having first
been mentioned in recorded history in the year 882A.D. It was
originally known as Uuechenheim. In later references it was
called Bachenheim (Bach = a brook; Heim=home). There was a
small brook running through the town . In this brook a weir
(Fischwehr) was constructed to dam up the water to trap fish.
So this was a fishing village on the banks of the Main River.
The name of the village eventually changed to Fechenheim.
Fechenheim was surrounded on three sides by a wall and a wide moat. On the river side (the east side) it was protected by an impenetrable thorn hedge. Some of that hedge still remains today. The only exit from the town was on the northwest corner, where a road led to Frankfurt. At this entrance/exit of Fechenheim stood the town jail and the pillory.
In the Thirty Year War, 1618-1648, this village suffered greatly. Only 103 people remained in the year 1637, of the original number of 206 at the beginning of the war. It suffered again, even more, during the Seven Year War, 1756-1763, being plundered and burned several times.
After the building of a highway in the latter half of the 18th century, industry came to Fechenheim. First, a taffeta and a frame factory and later a paper bag factory were founded here. In the second half of the 19th century, a soap factory and a varnish factory were established. Also, the leather products industry was established here and is still booming today. The town owes its growth and well-being mostly to the Cassella chemical dye factory established in 1870. By the year 1914, Cassella employed about 3000 workers.
Later, other businesses appeared: book printing, furniture making, a saw mill, a cord and wire factory, a bicycle factory, building materials factory, machine factory for the tobacco industry, a coffin factory, an emery products factory and a farm machinery business.
In 1928 the town was annexed to the city of Frankfurt am Main. However, with two miles of fields as a natural barrier between the two, it kept its own identity. In 1900, a water and electric works was built and a sewage system was completed. In 1902, an imposing city hall (Rathaus) was erected and in 1909 a 20 classroom school was constructed. The population in 1817 was 888; in 1871 - 1400; in 1890 - 3130; in 1895 - 4100; in 1900 - 6211; in 1905 - 7621; in 1909 - 8300; in 1913 - 9500. By the time I was born in 1939, the population must have been at least 12,000.
At my birth, Fechenheim was no longer one of those quaint little German villages with tudor style houses huddled together surrounded by farms. There were some private homes, but there were many apartment houses and a lot of businesses. There was a Lutheran church and a Catholic church. In 1920, there were 6500 Lutherans, 2800 Catholics and 56 Jews living here.
In the year 1928, there were 67 weddings, 80 christenings, and 48 funerals in the Lutheran church. In the Catholic church there were 33 weddings, 38 christenings, and 16 funerals. There were 3 public schools with 959 students in grades 1 through 8. The typical class size was from 26-40 studens. Any student continuing his education had to attend higher level schools in Frankfurt.
Fechenheim in 1854 looking north
Offenbacher Landstrasse about 1900. The street name changed to Starkenburgerstrasse before 1914.
Links to Fechenheim Websites
Copyright 2008 Sue Foster