At the beginning of the 19th century, the Prussian provincial city of Frankfurt developed into a modern industrial and service-providing city through the establishment of industries and improvements in the infrastructure. The population grew by 525% between 1870 and 1914 - from 84,700 to 444,900 inhabitants.
The self-confidence of the citizenry always dominating in Frankfurt found its expression in the construction of representative buildings such as the opera (1880), about which Emperor Wilhelm I said that only Frankfurt could afford such a magnificent building. Hoch's Conservatory was founded in 1878 with renowned faculty members including Joachim Raff, Clara Schumann, Julius Stockhausen, Hugo Heermann, James Kwast, Engelbert Humperdinck, Iwan Knorr, Bernhard Cossmann and Hugo Becker.
Lord Mayor of the city from 1891 until 1912 was Franz Adickes, the grandfather of Gertrud Hindemith. Under him, Frankfurt developed around 1910 into Germany's city with the largest surface area. Adickes placed special emphasis on the encouragement of art and science. The University of Frankfurt was founded in 1914. It was only after the First World War, however, that Frankfurt developed into a centre of contemporary culture.