Category Archives: 1900s Photos

Naharayim – Two Rivers

Driving along the Jordan valley between Jerusalem and the Sea of Galilee you pass a kibbutz called Gesher (Hebrew for bridge) because on the site of the original kibbutz was a bridge that crossed the Jordan river joining Israel and Jordan. Actually there are the remains of 3 bridges, one a Roman bridge built of basalt stone, one Ottoman train bridge and one British concrete vehicular bridge.

Old Gesher

The el-Mujami Bridge (Arabic for meeting, the meeting of the 2 rivers) built in 1904 holds the record as the earth’s lowest railway bridge at 257.5 metres below sea level. The line ran from the port at Haifa following the Jezreel valley (hence in Hebrew, rakevet haemeq), with the last stop at Hamat Gader before joining up with the main part of the Hejaz railway. [The line was unused for decades until 2011 when a new standard gauge rail from Haifa to Beit She’an along roughly the same route as the historic valley railway was constructed and began passenger service in October 2016.]

One of the stops was Naharayim, the station in Bauhaus style, constructed near the hydroelectric power plant built in 1927 by Russian Jewish engineer Pinhas Rutenberg. Rutenberg (1879 – 1942‎‎) was also a canny businessman and political activist. He was involved in two Russian revolutions, in 1905 and 1917 when he was imprisoned by the Bolsheviks. Freed in 1918 he travelled via Moscow, Odessa, Constantinople, Marseille to UK and on to Palestine. He was a contemporary and friends with Jabotinsky and Trumpeldor and founded the Jewish Legion and was sent as an emissary to the United States. While in the US, Rutenberg completed a detailed design for harnessing Palestine’s water resources for irrigation and electrical power production.

[This is an interesting question that I was asked. “When were residents of Palestine first given citizenship?” Rutenberg became the first Palestinian citizen after the British had enacted a law creating Palestinian citizenship in 1925.]

Palestine Airways - Lachs 1937Rutenberg endorsed the Labour party and cooperated with David Ben-Gurion. He was involved in the establishment of the Haganah, the Jewish paramilitary during the British mandate period. He founded Palestine Airways which flew between Haifa and Lydda (today Israeli-Arab city of Lod, 15 km. southeast of Tel Aviv) 3 times a week. Shortly after it moved its base to the newly built Tel Aviv Airport (in 1940 renamed Sde Dov) and flew the Tel Aviv to Haifa route, even on to Beirut.

After submitting a plan to the Zionist movement for the establishment of 13 hydroelectric power stations and securing financing for the plan Rutenberg was awarded a concession by the British Mandatory government to produce and distribute electric power and in 1923 founded the Palestine Electric Company (later, the Israel Electric Corporation).

This site was chosen because it is the juncture of two rivers (in Hebrew, nahar is river, naharayim would be 2 rivers), where the Yarmuk river which runs along the border between Jordan and Syria flows into the Jordan river.

Dam on Yarmuk

A zero degree canal connected it to the Sea of Galilee that could be used as a reservoir, to store excess water in winter to be released in drier summertime. Construction began in 1927 and continued for five years, providing employment for 3,000 workers. A model community, Tel Or, was built for the Jewish workers who supervised the plant on 6000 dunams of land in Jordan authorized by Abdullah in exchange for electricity.

Rutenburg's power station, Naharayim

Here is an incredible photograph of the Naharayim site taken by Zoltan Kluger in 1937 as part of a set of 40 aerial photographs of pre-state Israel commissioned by Zalmen Schoken for his 60th birthday.

Hydroelectric plant Naharayim - Kluger 1937

Hydroelectric plan at Naharayim – Kluger 1937. Credit: National Library Photo Collection

In violation of international law and a November 1947 agreement between Golda Meir and Abdullah, the Arab Legion’s 4th Battalion launched a mortar and artillery attack on the Tegart police fort and Kibbutz Gesher on April 27-29, 1948. After protests to the British Mandate administration the shelling was halted – Abdullah was reprimanded for “aggression against Palestine territory.”

When an Iraqi brigade invaded Naharayim on May 15, 1948, in an unsuccessful attempt to take the kibbutz and fort, the power plant was occupied and looted – it never functioned again. To prevent Iraqi tanks from attacking Jewish villages in the Jordan Valley, Israel opened the sluice gates of the Degania dam and destroyed the bridges that joined Israel and Jordan.

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Matthaus Frank and German Colony

Just recently I received an email from Australia commenting on my German Colony tour.

I am a descendant of Matthaus Frank, he is my great-grandfather, and I was hoping you could send me, via email, information on him as I have very little knowledge about him to pass on to my daughters. Thank you in advance, Kind regards, Petra Frank, Clayton, Australia.

It’s always nice to hear from someone who is engaging with my site. It’s an opportunity to delve a little deeper into the neighborhood where I live and know very well. So I did some research and found some old photographs in architect David Kroyanker’s excellent book “Jerusalem – the German Colony and Emeq Refaim Street” (the book has only been published in Hebrew). I also went out and took some of my own photos of the German Colony today and the Templer cemetery. I learned that there were two Matthaus Franks, father and son and that the son wrote about his life in Jerusalem. For those into genealogy there is enough information in the cemetery to start a family tree.

Matthaus Frank

Matthaus Frank (1846-1923)

The German Colony in Jerusalem was founded when a small group of German Templers arrived in 1868. At first, they rented housing in the Old City and in Mishkenot Sha’ananim, the first Jewish neighborhood built outside the walls a few years earlier. From 1867 it became possible for foreigners to purchase land, on condition that their European government had signed an agreement with the Ottoman Turkish authorities which Prussia, representing Germany, did in 1869. Consequently, in 1872 young Matthaus Frank (1846-1923) purchased a large plot of land suitable for farming from the Arabs of Beit Safafa for his father-in-law, Nikolai Schmidt. Schmidt travelled to the Holy Land in 1874 with a group including his wife Katharina but died on his way to Jerusalem. The German Templers bought the land from Frank and divided it into 1 dunam building lots – bounded by Emek Refaim Street and Derekh Bet Lehem. This became Jerusalem’s German Colony and in 1878 the spiritual center of the movement with a school, sport club and  Gemeindehaus, the community center and church on Sunday. Two historic events took place shortly thereafter, the completion of the railway that joined Jerusalem to the port at Jaffa in 1892 – today the station has been renovated and is a popular meeting place of food and culture and the German Kaiser Wilhelm II and Augusta Victoria’s official visit in 1898 – the three churches that were initiated then stand to this day as part of Jerusalem’s skyline.

This aquarelle painting by Gustav Bauernfeind (born Germany 1848 – died in Jerusalem, 1904 and buried in the Templer cemetery) and the photograph from about 1890 (train station is already built) document what the German Colony looked like. The painting was presented to the Kaiser on his visit. Bauernfeind was a German painter, illustrator and architect of Jewish origin, considered to be one of the most notable German Orientalist painters.

German Colony, aquarelle by Gustav Bauernfeind

German Colony, aquarelle by Gustav Bauernfeind

German Colony, photo from 1890

German Colony, photo from 1890

Frank entrance Frank kept 5 dunams for himself and on it he built his house in April 1873. It was the first building to be completed, the home of the miller Matthaus and Gertrude Frank, today #6 Emek Refaim Street. You can see the date on the keystone of the arch above the door and the name EBEN EZER carved in the stone lintel, mentioned in Samuel 7: 11 when God helped the Israelites against the Philistines.

Frank installed the first steam-driven flour mill and ran a bakery. Up until then there were only windmills for grinding wheat. Two exist to this day, Montefiore’s windmill built in 1867 beside Mishkenot Sha’ananim and a Greek owned windmill on Ramban Street, later the office of Erich Mendelsohn who fled Nazi Germany in 1934 and split his time as a successful architect between London and Jerusalem.

A fellow German Templer, Theodore Faust, describes the Frank house in his handwritten memoirs.

A large garden with fruit trees, vegetables and flowers, and the  ‘proud’ two-storey house, like a fortress or castle, that’s what we thought as children, with a steam-driven mill, stable for donkeys and other buildings, with the spacious living quarters above, there was the kindergarten of the Colony for many years. Behind the house was a large vineyard, and the property was six times as large as a regular property. In addition to the usual underground  water cisterns there were two open pools, one large and one small where sometimes the children were allowed to swim and so perhaps this was the first private swimming pool in Jerusalem… In later years, the Frank house was a popular meeting place.

Mattheus Frank house

In 1910, Mattheus Frank the son (1877-1927) decided to rent the house to a Templer family, the Kirchners, who lived there until 1917. Frank and his wife Luise moved the family to a new property (Neue Mühle) on Derekh Bet Lehem where they lived and ran the bakery (Franks Bäckerei). Only the two large arches of the ground floor façade exist today, as the entrance to underground parking for a housing development.

early 20th century photo of courtyard of Frank Bakery behind the family residence, Arab wagoners and carts that delivered bread

Courtyard of Frank Bakery behind the family residence, Arab wagoners and carts that delivered bread

Matthaus and Luise Frank house

Matthaus and Luise Frank house

The Templer cemetery is the final resting place for these pioneers and this is where our tour of the German Colony ends.

Templer cemetery

Mattheus & Luise Frank

Prince of Wales Pine Tree

I was visiting with friend and fellow tour guide, Tom Powers, in Bethlehem and we were talking about our interest in photography and what you can learn by comparing photographs taken 100 years ago or more with the same scene today. I mentioned Francis Bedford’s photographs from Edward, Prince of Wales visit to this area in 1862 and my guiding for the BBC to Mar Saba and my blog post https://israeltours.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/mar-saba-and-judean-desert-revisited/. This reminded Tom of a photograph from the Matson collection, image #00776, titled “Prince of Wales Tree near Palestine Museum” (link to the image online at http://lcweb2.loc.gov/service/pnp/matpc/00700/00776v.jpg).

Prince of Wales Pine Tree

Tom did the research and wrote the captions for several hundred high-resolution photographs taken between 1898 and the 1940s in the American Colony and Eric Matson Collection. The complete set of photographs, some 4,000 images has been produced as two DVDs by Todd Bolen – http://www.lifeintheholyland.com/49_matson_american_colony_8_volumes.htm
Here is the writeup for the Prince of Wales Tree:

The area pictured lies north of the northeast corner of the Old City. The view is to the southeast, with the Russian Ascension Tower on the Mount of Olives visible on the skyline (left). The Rockefeller Museum buildings, if they are visible at all (through the trees), would be in an early stage of construction.
A late 19th century observer describes this area as “a large field on the north-east side of the town, which extends from the town-ditch [rock-hewn Crusader moat at the Old City’s NE corner] to the splendid pine tree near an oil-press worked by the Moslems. This region is known by the general name of Kerm esh Sheikh [the Sheikh’s Vineyard]”
— Charles Clermont-Ganneau in Archaeological Researches (1899), Vol. 1, p. 248
The “Sheikh” was Muhammad al-Khalili a prominent member of an aristocratic Muslim family from Hebron who settled in Jerusalem in the 17th century and owned this plot of ground. In antiquity it was a cemetery, whose many documented burials stretch back to the Hellenistic period, and in Crusader times it served first as the staging-ground for Godfrey de Bouillon’s successful assault on the nearby city wall on July 15th, 1099, and later as a farm called by the Crusaders “Belveer.”
Muhammad al-Khalili, who served for a time as Mufti of Jerusalem, built a two-story summer residence here in 1711, the structure seen at right, which came to have the name Qasr el-Sheikh. It had an olive press on the ground floor and living quarters above and was one of the first buildings ever erected outside the Turkish city walls. Such buildings were especially useful for guarding the agricultural fields that covered the area, and the property of “Karem esh-Sheikh” was planted with olive and fig trees, date palms, and of course grapevines.
As for the tree, it is said that Muhammad al-Khalili brought the pine seedling from Hebron, wrapped in his head-covering, and planted it here. When it was grown, the venerable pine seems to have become a well-known local landmark, and over the years numerous dignitaries, including members of the British royal family, enjoyed its shade. Among them was Edward, Prince of Wales (later to be crowned King Edward VII) who visited Jerusalem in 1862 and made his encampment here, hence the tree’s name. In 1865 Prince Arthur likewise camped at the site.
In the late 19th century the Muslim Rashidiyah School was built on part of Karm el-Sheikh and it remains in use today as part of Jerusalem’s public school system. At the beginning of the 20th century the Arab neighborhood of Bab a-Sahairah, named after the nearby city gate (Herod’s Gate), grew up in the surrounding area. Then in 1919 the Mandatory government selected the site for the construction of an archaeological museum, although it was only in 1930 that the eight-acre tract, Karm el-Sheikh, was purchased from the al-Khalili family and the cornerstone was laid. Construction was completed in 1935, and the museum officially opened to the public in 1938.
At the time the Rockefeller Museum was coming into existence, the old “Prince of Wales Tree” still stood here, just to the west of the main museum site. In fact, the original architectural plan called for a rear (western) courtyard surrounded by cloisters, which would communicate between the historic villa structure, Qasr el-Sheikh, and the main museum building. And the old pine tree, at the suggestion of Rockefeller himself, was to have pride of place at the center of this court, as “an ‘organic’ counterpart to the imposing tower” at the front of the building. This meant, in concrete terms, that the central axis of the entire museum complex was aligned on the tree!
Rockefeller museum model
In the end, the envisioned rear courtyard was never realized, nevertheless the venerable tree — through all the vicissitudes of British, international, Jordanian and then Israeli control – stood as a silent witness behind the museum. In its later years it was actually propped up by a special concrete buttress, however by 1988 the so-called Prince of Wales Tree – then close to 300 years old – had finally died and had to be cut down. The great stump is still visible behind the museum. As for the historic villa, Qasr el-Sheikh, much of it remains intact; restored and modernized, it today houses the Restoration Department of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Rockefeller museum and pine tree

Sources:
  1. A. Mertens, “Who was a Christian in the Holy Land? (Edward VII)”, an on-line resource at www.christusrex.org
  2. West Meets East: The Story of the Rockefeller Museum (2006), by Fawzi Ibrahim; excerpt online at http://www.imj.org.il/rockefeller/eng/index.html

Israel Roundup

The Spring 2013 edition of ARTIFAXArtifax cover magazine is available – my photo graces the cover and the lead article, Herod’s Magnificent Obsessions, is my description of the Herod exhibit at the Israel Museum, with my photographs.

Dead Sea and Mount Everest

Two pieces of stone from the area of Israel’s Dead Sea, formed into a two-foot sculpture by Israeli artist Jojo Ohayon, has been placed in the Sagarmatha National Park of Nepal, at the southern part of Mt. Everest. Israel is planning to erect a sculpture built out of rock from Mount Everest and place it near the Dead Sea next month.

A few years ago I made a similar connection with an exhibit of my photographs from the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth, in Kathmandu, Nepal in the shadow of Mount Everest, the highest place on earth.  https://israeltours.wordpress.com/photography/photo-exhibit/

Petroglyphs

I just found out about an open colloquium, Mount Sinai: Mount Karkom, May 12-13, 2013 in Mizpe Ramon, honoring the pioneers of Israeli desert archeology and an off-road Jeep trip to Mount Karkom – sounds incredible. Unfortunately, when I went to register, registration was full.

I’ve posted some photos from a hike I did near Mount Arkov in the Negev where we saw a lot of petroglyphs similar to those at Mount Karkom. https://israeltours.wordpress.com/2013/03/10/photo-of-the-week-tumulus-negev/

Jerusalem Botanical Gardens has developed an online course, Flora of the Holy Land, that features more than 100 plants, providing information, stunning photographs, video clips, maps and more. The course tells the fascinating role played by plants in the Bible, about the environmental wisdom of the ancient texts and the contribution that plants of the area have made to human settlement and civilization. http://www.en.botanic.co.il/Pages/Show/122

Work is continuing on First Station, Jerusalem’s new meeting place for food and culture, at the original railway station built in 1892, terminus of the Jaffa-Jerusalem Railway. It is scheduled to open May 14. As of today the visitors center where you can get information, book a Segway or electric bicycle tour and buy souvenirs and the Re:bar concession are open.

In a July 2012 article in Ha’aretz, Yaakov Kahlon, Senior Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem shares his vision about the future of Jerusalem.

... hot-air balloon, so you can go up and see the city from above. The Ottoman-era train station, along with a large multiplex cinema that is under construction in nearby Abu Tor, are meant to provide an entertainment nexus that will be open on Shabbat. It will include a Ferris wheel and a skate park, and from there a promenade with a bicycle lane that will connect directly to the Jerusalem Theater.

So far, all we’ve seen is First Station.  http://www.firststation.co.il/en/

Talking about ferris wheels, here is a double photo of Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock with ferris wheel in the background for use with stereoscopic 3D glasses – check out other photos (mostly from the Library of Congress, American Colony Eric Matson collection) at http://www.israeldailypicture.com.

Ferris Wheel Jerusalem

In his book, God’s Sacred Tongue: Hebrew & the American Imagination, author Shalom Goldman explains:

At the 1904 World’s Fair, the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, there was a massive model of Jerusalem’s Old City. It sprawled over 10 acres of the fairgrounds and included grand models of the Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.  As Israeli scholar Rechav Rubin remarked: ‘the most astonishing fact about the enterprise is that several hundred people, Moslems, Jews, and Christians, were brought from Jerusalem to St. Louis.  There they lived and worked within the model, dressed in their colorful costumes… and had to entertain and guide the visitors through its streets and sites.’

 

Mar Saba and Judean Desert Revisited

I received an email a few weeks ago from Kevin with the BBC in England that he gave me permission to share here.

Dear Shmuel,

I’m producing  a BBC radio series, presented by the British broadcaster John McCarthy. We have been commissioned by BBC Radio 4 to make a series of ten 15 minute programmes to follow in the footsteps of Edward Prince of Wales who toured much of the Middle East in 1862.  I’ve been looking at your blog, and saw your excellent entry Photography and Visitors to the Holy Land about his time in Israel.

As you know, he visited Egypt, the Holy Land, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and Greece. His journey and the sights along the way were recorded by the photographer Francis Bedford. This was the first time that a royal tour was captured by the still new medium of photography.

As you are clearly interested in this tour, I would very much like to discuss our recording with you, perhaps with a view to interviewing you as a part of the programme.  We will be intending to visit each of these sites, to take a new photograph to match the old one, and to discuss the changes over the intervening 150 years in each location.

Very best and thanks for your time.
Kevin

Here are another few Bedford photographs.

Tiberias-Sea-Galilee-Bedford

Tomb of Absalom

Mar-Saba-Kidron-Bedford

In reviewing the photographs taken by Bedford in Israel and talking with Kevin we decided to do Mar Saba, the monastery in the Judean desert.

Jeep tour

So we met up with Raanan, a great jeep driver, who took us off-road across the Judean desert to the overlook of the monastery in the Kidron valley. The desert is very green after the winter rains we had this year. We saw sheep, goats, donkeys and camels grazing on the plants and wildflowers. I took the opportunity to photograph some wildflowers (but that’s for another post).

Our challenge was to try to shoot a photograph that matched the one Bedford took 150 years ago. Bedford’s is a very interesting image because of the angle. Bedford had a good eye and chose to shoot the monastery complex cascading down the cliff, focussing on the channel of the Kidron stream between the two cliffs. Here is my image shot March 18, 2013 with a Nikon D90 digital SLR camera and 18-200mm zoom lens (ISO 200 50 mm f/10 1/320) in black and white and color.

Mar-Saba-Kidron-B&W

Mar-Saba-Kidron-Browns

Camels in the Bible

The image displayed below “Ploughing with Camel and Cow” is a scanned copy of a small gelatine silver print (probably from the mid-1920s) of an American Colony photograph taken between 1898 and 1911 and published by Fr. Vester & Co. whose shop was in Jerusalem, just inside Jaffa Gate. The photograph shows a ploughing scene probably taken in southern Palestine. The plough is driven by the farmer and the animals are led by a boy in front.

Ploughing w camel and ox

There is something very jarring about this scene. The camel, tall and lithe, suited to journeys across the desert and the cow or ox, short and heavier-set, expected to pull the plough together. The yoke sits at an extreme angle on the animals’ backs. The Biblical text in Deuteronomy 22:10 immediately springs to mind: Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together.
The rabbis explained that “Scripture spoke what was customary,” that is, people were accustomed to plow with an ox or an ass, but the prohibition applies equally to plowing with any two other species and in fact other activities like riding, leading, and driving with them (Mishna Kilaim 8:2).

Camels are first mentioned in the Bible in Genesis 12:16

And because of her [Sarai], it went well with Abram; he acquired sheep, oxen, asses, male and female servants, she-asses, and camels.

The word “camel(s)” appears 23 times in 21 verses in the book of Genesis. The first book of the Bible declares that camels existed in Egypt during the time of Abraham (12:14-17), in Palestine in the days Isaac (24:63), in Padan Aram while Jacob was working for Laban (30:43), and were owned by the Midianites during the time Joseph was sold into Egyptian slavery (37:25,36).

Most scholars, including W.F. Albright, American archaeologist and biblical scholar, who supports the historicity of the patriarchal narratives, conclude that references to camels and hence the domestication of camels are an anachronism, added by a later scribe.

Finkelstein and Silberman confidently asserted:

We now know through archaeological research that camels were not domesticated as beasts of burden earlier than the late second millennium and were not widely used in that capacity in the ancient Near East until well after 1000 BCE.

However, more recent archaeological discoveries: a pottery camel’s head and a terra cotta tablet with men riding on and leading camels from predynastic Egypt (before 3150 BCE), three clay camel heads and a limestone vessel in the form of camel lying down (3050-2890 BCE), a petroglyph depicting a camel and a man (2345-2184 B.C.) and a rope made of camel’s hair found in the Fayum oasis suggest that camels were domesticated as early as the third millennium, before the time of Abram, dated to the earliest part of the second millennium BCE.

Much of this evidence has been examined by MacDonald of the University of Oxford who concludes:

Recent research has suggested that domestication of the camel took place in southeastern Arabia some time in the third millennium BCE. Originally, it was probably bred for its milk, hair, leather, and meat, but it cannot have been long before its usefulness as a beast of burden became apparent.

On a jeep tour of the Judean desert we saw this herd of camels. Doesn’t the hill in the background look just like a camel hump?

Camels

From Israel – what to call this?

This week I’m trying something new, a post of some of the interesting things I’ve discovered as a guide this week. If anyone has a good idea what to call this post, leave a comment.

Hansen “Leper” Hospital  The old Hansen “Leper” hospital built by Conrad Schick in 1887 has an interesting exhibit “Behind the Walls” of the history of the place. Plans are underway to turn the hospital into a municipal cultural center, a meeting place for the arts, media and technology.

Jerusalem Train Station  Work continues on the 19th-century abandoned Jerusalem train station to be transformed into a cultural and culinary complex, which developers promise will be open on Shabbat and will serve non-kosher food. “There is something a little kitschy when you try to reconstruct the feeling of the past,” says architect David Kroyanker, but he adds, “The fact is that it attracts people.” from Haaretz

Archaeology Tour  Popular Archaeology is organizing an extraordinary archaeological tour of Israel in April. I’m the guide! Among the highlights will be a visit to the new exhibit at the Israel museum, Herod the Great: The King’s Final Journey.
Additional incentive, if you enjoy taking photographs, submit your best ones to win up to $1000. – plenty of photogenic opportunities, for example, the ruins of a Roman temple on night of a full moon and partial eclipse.
More details at http://popular-archaeology.com/page/archaeological-travel-tours

Shroud of Turin  Fascinating exhibit on the Shroud of Turin at Notre Dame across from New Gate. Also an incredible view of the Old City from their wine and cheese bar on the roof.

Almonds BlossomsCherry Blossoms 桜花見  Just past Tu Bishvat, the New Year of Trees and the almond trees are blossoming. Jerusalem Botanical gardens reports that the Japanese cherry trees behind the visitors center are in bloom. While you’re there check out the newly renovated Bonsai section.

Dead Sea Scrolls  Israel Antiquities Authority and Google announced that 5,000 Dead Sea Scroll fragments found in Cave 4 at Qumran have been digitized at high-resolution and are now available on the Internet. These include fragments containing the Ten Commandments and sections of Genesis, that recount the first three days of creation. I learned that there are more than 100 fragments of documents in Greek as well. Check out the excellent website at http://www.deadseascrolls.org.il/

Scrollery room at Rockefeller museumAmazing since for years these fragments were at the Rockefeller museum, only accessible to a few scholars and now they are viewable from the comfort of your home.

Christ Church Exhibit  Not everyone knows about the exhibit at Christ Church that includes some Conrad Schick models, one of Haram al-Sharif (~1:125) and photographs and mementos of Jerusalem’s Old City from the turn of the century. Look closely at this photo to make out part of the sign of VESTER & CO.

In 1904 Bertha Spafford married Frederick Vester, whose father’s curio shop in Jerusalem had recently been bought by the American Colony. Renamed “Fr. Vester & Co., The American Colony Store,” the business greatly expanded its clientele and range of offerings to include photographs and collections of antiquities.

Jerusalem Old City ~1900

Jerusalem Old City ~1900