Ball, Robert P.
Goethe house restored, pp. -6 PDF (2.6 MB)
of the ruins like the hope of free men for a new Germanr. The spirit of Frankfurt's most famous son, bombed out like so many of his countrymen, once more had a place to lay his head. At the dedication ceremony in the sunlit music room the speakers struck Goethe chords. Johann Georg Hart- mann, who had pushed the restoration project through the Frankfurt City Council and spearheaded the gathering of funds for the work, could report with pleasure a job well done and invoke Goethe's hope of peace and under- standing in the world. Underlining Frankfurt's paternal pride in Goethe, Mayor Walter Kolb picked up the Goethian sense of cultural heritage. For President Theo- dor Heuss of the Federal Republic Goethe's insistence on intellectual freedom was of top importance. He point- ed out that the Frankfurt Goethe House has a double task so long as the Goethe Ilouse in Weimar is surrounded by a regime of uin-Goethian compulsion. Speaking for the Allied high commissioners, John J. McCloy, US High Commissioner for Germany, noted that Goethe was international in spirit and, as a private citizen, interested in the political life of his country - two qualities which Germans of today could well emulate. Outside, beyond the range of Goethe words and Haydn music, the curious residents of Frankfurt peered up aL A corner of the large kitchen in the old Goethe homne, a spacious room with copper pots, pans and other uteri- sils gleaming on the walls - an agreeable spot in winter when it was the best-heated room in the house. At this desk the young Uoethe wrote his famous works, "Werther,". "Goetz von Berlichingen" and the first draft of his drama, "Faust." The silhouettes on the wall are souvenirs of the poet's student years in Leipzig, Saxony. the many-windowed facade of the new-old house with the golden monogram of Goefhc's father, Johdnn Casper, over the door, From the wrought-iron cage windows of the ground floor scarlet geraniums nodded back. * * * I T WAS THE SECOND TIME that the house, so appro- priately named "The Three Lyrcs," had been rebuilt. In 1755, when the poet was only six years old, his father had it completely renovated. Today it is known that to save the overhanging upper stories that he loved he evaded the city building code, reporting the complete rebuilding as d simple repair. Aside from the overhanging facade, the house differed little from the houses of other well-to-do Frankfurt citi- zens. If thc ceilings were a shade too low for the taste of the time, the fine broad staircase retrieved the lost elegance. It was a comfortable house in which the lawyer's son grew up, studying with his father and with his tutors, browsing in the fine library and in his father's collections. TIhe living room on the ground floor adjoined the kitchen, agreeable in the winter months when the kitchen was the best-heaterl room in the house, and on the way out to the tiny garden one could catch a glimpse of the cop- per pots and pans gleaming on the kitchen walls. On the second floor, clustered around the stately hall, were the fine drawing oroms, warmed against winter chill by gieat tile stoves; in the west wing, the music room where Goethe's mother played the harpsichord to father Goethe's flute. The third floor held the studios for housing the art ob- jects and flora which Johann Casper Goethe so assidu- JTUNE 1951
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