A town in the north-eastern part of the Freestate, on the banks of the Wilge river. We have had a few journeys of discovery to this place in 2010 and 2011. On my more modern map it is shown as Namahadi, obviously the new name given to it by the ANC, I'll ignore that, for me it still is Frankfort. Not spelled the same as Frankfurt in Germany, but named after it by Albert von Gordon, who was obviously some local German at the time of the founding of the town in 1869. It was proclaimed in 1873 and the sketch shows the original layout. Just for orientation the river next to the town is the Wilge river and the one coming into it from the south-west is the Liebenberg spruit, this is the river that brings the water from the Katse dam in Lesotho to the Vaaldam
Beautiful church, a typical sandstone building as one finds it in many places in the Freestate. According to the foundation stone it was laid in 1883 by JH Brand, the president of the Freestate at the time. This church burned down during the Anglo Boer war. A new church was build on its foundation as indicated by an other corner stone laid in 1911 by president Steyn. I should say rather ex-president, he was president of the Freestate until the end of the war in 1902. After the war he would still travel around the country helping where he could and encouraging his people to re-build their lifes. In this function he was still seen by many Freestaters as their president. That is why on that cornerstone he is referred to as the honorable president.
The architect was WH Ford, he was responsible for a number of church designs and other buildings in the Cape, Free State and Transvaal. A very attractive feature of the design is its beautiful dome as shown on the picture.
I have a problem here, the cemetery does not contain any graves going back to the 19th century, which makes me think there must be an other, older one. Inquiring in town we drew a blank, nobody knows, but having a look at the initial layout of the town, I think, I now have an idea where to look.
But the present graveyard is still worth a visit, it contains British war graves from the Anglo Boer war (1899-1902), that is British soldiers who died during the battle of Tafelkop. Frankfort was totally burned down during that war and the inhabitants were sent to the concentration camp in Heilbron.
Another section is the Jewish graves. We did a night visit to the cemetery to take pictures by torch light. I used one of the Jewish graves for my pictures and was very pleased with the outcome. The hyper link takes you to the history of the Jewish community of Frankfort.
P.S.: update Oct 2014, I received some information that the old grave yard used to be in Duke street. It has been moved, including the British war graves, that used to be there.
The trains don't roll anymore, but there is talk of getting the line going again. Most likely only from the south since to the north a few km of the track have been stolen. The main building, as well as all other railway building have been stripped and vandalised.
To the south is the bridge over the Wilge river. Its an impressive steel structure, I like it, but otherwise its pretty common. It can be reached by following the dirt road next to the river upstream from the municipal campsite. Since the trains don't run anymore it is fairly safe to sleep on the track.
There are two, or there used to be two camping places in Frankfort. Both on the river, the municipal one to the south of the R34 road and a privately owned one closer to town, just downstream from the old bridge over the Wilge, the Frankfort River Resort. During our last visit we noticed that the municipal ground was not available anymore. Ablution facilities have been stripped of usefull items, as well as all other buildings and power points have been dismantled. Inquiring in town about camping there we were told "Uuh, nie, julle kan nie daar kampier nie, hulle sal jou dood maak" (oh no, you can't camp there, they'll kill you), that apparently after there had been an attack and murder of a camper.
We stayed for a weekend in a chalet of the Frankfort River Resort, enjoyed it, had a good time and didn't get killed.
There is the magistrate, the police station and the post office, all on the western side of the city park. The police station is not used as such now, but the cells are still in the back yard. All three building are of sand stone built in the same style. The post office has a 1904 on the facade. I presume all three buildings were erected at the same time, and that was just after the Boer War. Frankfort had burned down completely during the war.
p.s.: just a general note, during the last visit (Sept 2015) we again noticed how clean the town is, compared to other towns in the Free State and further afield. Some of the roads away from the town center could do with some maintenance. I like to know how do they do it, how come Frankfort can maintain a bit of a civilised standard and most other towns don't?
Rwf 1: Standard Encyclopedia of Southern Africa
Ref 2: 'Ons Kerk Album van Hollandsche Kerken en Leeraren', publisher: unknown, printed in the 1920's