Frankfurt American High School 1975

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The color photos in this series were taken by me in 1975, when I visited Frankfurt with a camera, long after when I lived there in 1959-61, when I hardly took any pictures at all. This is the high school. I don't remember it being called Frankfurt American High School, just Frankfurt High School (FHS). Here's the central courtyard. Obviously, this was taken on a weekend when nobody was around. The building was open though, and it hadn't changed much inside since I went to school in it, except I noticed a glassed-in room full of Teletypes, hooked to who-knows-what (Jon Saxon knows what; he reports on 19 Aug 2008 that "There were some teletype machines and CRTs installed in the computer room which was next to the Sophomore lobby. Those teletypes were connected to an Interdata 7/16 minicomputer. I am pretty sure of the model and I know it was an Interdata computer (later purchased by Perkin-Elmer). I took computers for 1 semester in 1978"

The main entrance was around the corner far right, on Siolistraße just off Miquel Allee, opposite the Ambassador Arms Hotel. The athletic field (with 400-meter track that adjoined Grüneburg Park through a hole in the fence) was on the other side of the long building on the right. If you went west on Miquel Allee you reached the corner of Eschersheimer Landstraße, where the big PX, Commissary, and Snack Bar were. Somewhere else nearby was the Teen Club (CLICK HERE to see a really depressing picture of it found on the Dorm website, link below).

IG Farben Building Due south a few hundred meters was the I.G. building (IG Hochhaus), and before that the Casino (a.k.a. Terrace Club, or Officers Club, where the Prom was held). While hunting around in Google just now to refresh my memory I see the Casino was blown up a couple years earlier (1972) by the Baader-Meinhof Gang (the PX was bombed too). Everybody who was ever in the I.G. Farben building remembers the doorless conveyor-belt paternoster elevators that you had to hop on and off. Did you ever wonder what would happen if you rode one all the way to the top? (I did it once, on a dare.)

While poking around the Web, I found a huge Army aerial photo of the area from 1950, CLICK HERE to see it (about 500K); this was before the high school and other familiar stuff were built in 1954 (the original Frankfurt High School, 1946-54, was in the Bornheimer Hang, about a mile to the east). There's also a 1949 map to go with the photo (and a 1970 map that has numbers but no legend). I found a picture of the PX too, early 1950s judging from the cars. And HERE is another aerial photo from 1954 (371K) -- this one shows Frankfurt High in the final stages of construction, with the lot across the street still vacant (the future site of the Ambassador Arms, Teen Club, and big-shot housing). Thanks to Barlow Pepin, FHS Class of 1967, we also have HUGE 600 pixel-per-inch copies of this photo (Maury Barlow Pepin died suddenly and unexpectedly in August 2004 at the age of 54; he is survived by his wife Mary Helen Dirkx Pepin, Class of 1968.)

Note: the aerial photos and maps are from Walter Elkins's US Army Installations in Germany website (linked to below).

Anyway it seems the school was closed and the whole American complex returned to Germany in 1995. The high school is now the Phillip-Holzmann-Schule (Berufliche Schule für Bautechnik). The IG Farben building is the Poelzig-Bau, Goethe University's humanities building. The PX buildings were vacant for years, then torn down, and new buildings constructed on the site for the Frankfurt Polizeipräsidium (police headquarters). The Idle Hour Theater was vacated. The 97th General Hospital is empty too, but the Army is keeping it "just in case" [history and photos] (update: it is now occupied by the US Consulate General... In the Google Maps aerial photo it still has the red crosses on the roof, dating from when it was a Luftwaffe hospital during the war).

Frankfurt Today

To see what's in the area now, you can visit the Stadtplan Frankfurt site or, now just do what everybody does and use Google maps, satellite view and street view. Also recommended: Frankfurt 360° Swiveling City Views.


The links that say (defunct) had vanished as of 15 Feb 2010, the others were good as of that date:

For those who don't remember, GI Blues is a movie Elvis made about GIs in Frankfurt while he was still in the Army, shot partially on location. I remember when they were shooting it. There was a lot of tidying up, Army-style: painting truck and Jeep tires black, painting grass green, etc. More about GI Blues HERE (the other two links in the list above have lapsed, sorry).

From: Bruce Garner <>
Date: Monday, September 14, 2009 1:07 AM
Subject: Padernoster

All, While I was searching for videos clips of 1947 Frankfurt from the DVD Berlin Express, I surfed into some good videos of the I.G. Farben Building. (Don't miss the "Höhen und tiefen" video)

From the movie:

So padernoster, or pater noster, means "our father" -- anyone know why a cycling elevator got that name? [Ed. - You had to say a prayer before hopping on or off.]

About 7 minutes in:
The Terrace Club.etc.:

About at 2:00 minutes here:

What really goes on on a Padenoster? - Very Funny/Clever!
Ups and downs, Höhen und tiefen:
This might not be the I.G. Farben one...

Darl and Janie on the Padernoster:
Other interesting Frankfurt videos found:



The Berlin Express movie is important for showing the war destruction in Frankfurt - the way the first FAHS students saw it....

Cheers, BruceG 70

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Frankfurt Photos / Frank da Cruz / / August 2003 / Last update: 23 September 2018