Wiss Family Grand Tour
On the Empress of France: Canadian Pacific: Mediterranean Cruise ..... 1926

Empress-of-France ship picture When the contents of my grandmother's estate were being divvied up, we got the contents of the closet that had the photo albums and films. There were films from 1926 to 1932. This four month long Grand Tour is half of the film lot. The film was a project of Frederick C.J. Wiss (my great-grandfather). The film was digitized by CinePost to high resolution using their Super 16mm WetGate system. Then flash frame removal and occasional exposure correction done by N. Frederick Wiss.

The entire film is at YouTube. Click ...more there to see timeline. A more annotated timeline below also allows you to jump into the film.

Four members of the Wiss family and a friend, all from the same generation, took a Grand Tour in 1926. It started as a Mediterranean Cruise. They left the cruise at the Monaco stop and spent seven weeks visiting places in Europe. Then they returned by the same ship, landing in Quebec City. The five were:

Research finds that the only possible camera used was a Ciné-Kodak Model B. No other home camera with a spring existed at that time. It came out in July 1925 and cost $70 with an f/6.5 lens. (A faster lens came out after they left for the trip.) It weighed five pounds. See an ad from February 1926 issue of Kodakery.

Tour Information:

Contents by Time for Grand Tour Film (at YouTube)
Title Card (and notes)
00:06 Leaving New York Aboard S.S. "Empress" of France [Wikipedia]: February 9, 1926 (well-wishers on dock, life saving drill, deck scenes, waves)
01:04 Deck Sports (on lounge chairs, Mrs. Baker walking towards camera, deck tennis with heavy ball caught with both hands)
01:37 Bell Boys (awfully young boys posing)
01:50 Madeira Island [Portugal] (port scenes from ship at anchor,) [February 16, 1926] [Description in Cruise Guide] [Wikipedia]
02:09 No snow -- no ice: Transportation by sleds (lots of sledding on the cobblestones [now they sled on asphalt], tour group members walking towards camera, three mile toboggan slide in two-person wicker sleds with wooden runners [TripAdvisor], view of ship at anchor)
03:17 Funchal: Home of Christopher Columbus (view of the city from on a west side hill, view of the harbor from west side hill) [Wikipedia]
03:30 Funchal street scenes (street scenes with sleds, public square with Cathedral of Funchal [Wikipedia], buildings seen on Av. Arriaga and R. do Aljube, also other streets)
04:38 At ease - Shipboard (on lounge chairs, deck tennis [Wikipedia] on a small court)
04:52 Lisbon [Description in Cruise Guide] [Wikipedia] (chauffeur driven cars took them around, cloisters of the Jerónimos Monastery [Wikipedia], men laying paving stones in a park, views of Lisbon from Castelo de São Jorge [Wikipedia], hanging around their cars, soldiers marching out of archway) [arrived February 19, 1926]
05:47 Cintra [Sintra, Portugal] [Wikipedia]:
  • View from Castelo dos Mouros [Wikipedia]
  • Walking down steps at Castelo dos Mouros
  • Horse-drawn carriage ride
06:21 Roly-poly Square. This is in the northwest corner of Rossio Square, or Praça de Dom Pedro IV, in Lisbon [Wikipedia]. (then more Lisbon street scenes)
07:00 Cadiz, Spain [Description in Cruise Guide] (lots of street scenes, including ?? and in Plaza San Antonio [Cádiz's main and historic square], then a train to Seville) [arrived February 21, 1926] [Wikipedia]
08:57 Seville [Spain] (women of group getting in horse-drawn carriage) [Wikipedia]
09:12 Back in Cadiz (their ship anchored taken from launch)
09:22 Gibraltar [Description in Cruise Guide] (starts with port scenes, then donkey pulling cart with no driver, boats docked, along water again, on sailboat with rock behind, downtown street scene, view of buildings up cliffside. lacks motor vehicles: only one truck) [February 24, 1926] [Wikipedia]
11:38 Rock of Gibraltar (from the ship) [Wikipedia]
11:48 Algiers [Algeria] [Description in Cruise Guide] (pedestrian street scene, steps through the Kasbah (or Palace of the Deys), then the treasure vaults and slave dungeons can be seen, pedestrian street scenes, shopping street of Bab-Azoun (Gate of Grief), inside Hotel Oriental restaurant, outside Hotel Oriental) [February 25, 1926] [Wikipedia]
13:22 Syracuse [Sicily] [Description in Cruise Guide] [Wikipedia] (hiking around the Necropolis of Pantalica [Wikipedia], in horse-drawn carriages, street scenes, children playing) [February 28, 1926]
14:56 Deck Sports back on ship: Cock Fighting Contest, lady's tug-of-war
16:41 Athens [Greece] [Description in Cruise Guide] (visited Acropolis) [arrived March 2, 1926] [Wikipedia]
17:14 Greek Folk Dancing [Athens] (There are two dances: the first is Fast Hasapikos also known as Hasaposervikos and Sousta [Wikipedia]. The second dance is Kalamatianos [Wikipedia]. They are in the atrium of the Zappeion [Wikipedia]. The white costume is Fustanella [Wikipedia], one of the most known types of national costume worn by Greeks. The other costume is the Greek Naval Scouts / Sea Scouts. The instruments are a clarinet and a tuba. The tram in the next scene is running on the Old Tram Line #1. Behind it is a neoclassical building. It was most likely across from the National Gardens on Leoforos Vasilisis Amalias, and has been torn down.
17:38 Constantinople [Turkey] [Description in Cruise Guide] [Wikipedia] (city view with seagulls taken from on their ship, tender pulling away from ship, street scenes) [arrived March 4, 1926]
18:11 Unloading passengers in wicker baskets [Beirut, Lebanon] [Description in Cruise Guide] (then Pigeons' Rock [Rock of Raouché] in the sea) [Wikipedia] [March 9, 1926]
18:58 Beirut: Dog River bridge [built by Wassa Pasha, Mutassarrif of Mount Lebanon between 1883 and 1892]
19:11 Beirut: Market and street scenes (then rowboats in port, tour group walking in waterfront park, more street scenes)
21:42 Haifa: The Holy Land [Description in Cruise Guide] (had cars and drivers waiting for them, street scenes) [arrived March 10, 1926] [Wikipedia]
22:24 Nazareth [Wikipedia] [Description in Cruise Guide: Optional No. 4] (street scenes and Well of Virgin [Wikipedia])
23:13 Sea of Galilee [Wikipedia] (taking rides in rowboats)
23:47 Capernaum (wandering around ruins and camels passing by) [Wikipedia]
24:28 Arab Wedding Party passing by
25:05 Picnic Lunch at Jacob's Well (including water carriers) [Wikipedia]
25:38 Jerusalem [Wikipedia]
25:59 Bethlehem (pedestrian street scenes, peddlars selling necklaces) [Wikipedia]
26:31 River Jordan. Place of Baptism: John Baptist [Description in Cruise Guide: Optional No. 6] [Wikipedia] (barbed wire fence)
26:52 Jerusalem Scenes (pedestrians, goats passing by)
27:40 Cairo [Egypt] [Description in Cruise Guide]: Crossing Nile delta to Rhode Island (where they found Moses) [Wikipedia] (standing in boat being poled) [arrived Alexandria March 17, 1926]
28:33 Visiting the Pyramids (by camel, then viewing young lions on leashes) [Wikipedia]
29:32 Ruins of Luxor Temple [Description in Cruise Guide: Optional No. 8] [Wikipedia] and Karnak Temple [Wikipedia]
30:16 Nile River Boat (and livestock grazing)
30:34 Valley of Kings tombs: King Tut, etc. (walking by, travel by donkey, some by boat with lock opening, climbing ruins) [Wikipedia]
31:39 At Assuan Dam [Wikipedia]: Largest in the World:
  • rowboat ride
  • crossing dam in small push cars
  • flood gates
  • childs' canoes made of 5 gallon tin cans
33:31 On the Nile (lots of boats, water works along the banks [irrigation pumps, at least some hand operated])
36:17 Venice [Italy] [Description in Cruise Guide] [Wikipedia] (first scene is on ship, then feeding pigeons at St. Marks Basilica [Wikipedia]) [March 31, 1926]
36:59 Tomb Enrico Caruso [Naples, Italy] [Description in Cruise Guide] [Wikipedia] [arrived Naples April 3, 1926]
37:10 Amalfi To Cappuccini Restaurant [Description in Cruise Guide: Optional No. 14] (some women carried up in open litters, view looking down on Naples [it's perched on top of an 80-meter cliff]) [The restaurant is now Dei Cappuccini Restaurant at Convento di Amalfi]
37:46 Vesuvious (erupting) (taken from the surrounding caldera) [Wikipedia]
39:00 Sorrento [Wikipedia], Capri [Wikipedia], Rowboats to hotels
39:26 Roman Forum [Wikipedia]
39:53 Arch of Titus [Wikipedia]
40:06 Coliseum [Wikipedia]
40:30 Lunch at Gorges du Loup [Le Pont du Loup, France] (entering and sitting down for lunch on the terrace) [They took the Grande Corniche Drive from Monte Carlo/Monaco through the Cote d'Azur. The restaurant still exists. See Auberges des Gorges du Loup. See the historic terrace pictures.] [arrived in Monaco on April 7, 1926]
40:48 Cascade de Courmes [A waterfall above Nice. Some Google links.]
40:59 Switzerland. Leaving from Meiringen [Wikipedia] (train station with train passing by) This had been labeled as Interlaken. The correct location was identified by the passing train. The locomotive is an HG 3/3 [Wikipedia] of the Brünigbahn [Wikipedia]. These were used on the Luzern - Meiringen section. The second and third cars of the train are "rollschemel" [Wikipedia], which are used to transport standard gauge wagons on narrow gauge lines. Both station buildings still exist. For the passing train the photographer was standing across the tracks in a parking lot off the Eisenbahnweg. The Google Streets view from a near location. A car and driver would have taken them from here to the Rhone Glacier.
41:24 Blue Grotto under Ice of Glacier [The Rhone Glacier and Ice Grotto] (then children behind fence)
41:57 Up the Jungfrau [Wikipedia] Too much snow - change cars - walk 100 yards. (then Kleine Scheidegg, Lauterbrunnen train station with Riggenbach [Wikipedia] rack system train)
42:22 Spiez, Switzerland [Wikipedia] (They changed trains at Spiez. Lowland houses behind station with catenary wires that were state-of-the-art at the time on the Lötschberg railway [Wikipedia]. Niesen mountain [Wikipedia] is at left. Hill in picture is now concrete wall. See current Google Streets View. [This had been labeled Berne.])
42:29 Berne Bear Pit [Wikipedia]
43:34 Schoolchildren out for a walk (this is either Bern or Solothurn, which?) [Either a class of kindergartners or young elementary school children. Very typical to see them in what are called "tabliers," or sort of aprons.]
44:11 Swiss scenery [Solothurn] (Verena Gorge and Hermitage. It still looks exactly the same today [pictures and story]. Can be walked to from the city centre. The first building is the St. Martin Chapel. The second building seen is the Hermit's Hut.)
44:34 Home of Jacob Wiss's maiden sister in Solothurn [Wikipedia] (where is this house?)
44:47 Train Station at Freiburg im Breisgau [Germany]. [Wikipedia] (filmed out the train window when leaving the station, then on the platform of the next station)
45:23 Bad Kreuznach [Germany] Street Scenes [Wikipedia].
  • The first scene is the Eiermarkt on egg market day. The church to the left is the St. Nikolaus [Wikipedia]. The statue is the Michel Mort memorial [a butcher that fought heroically, and also died, in the battle of Sprendlingen 1279]. The square is located here on the map. This is what the square looks like today [archive.org].
  • The factory scene may be the old municipal power plant. The small building in the center is a men's urinal. The tracks are a standard gauge, and not tram tracks. The flange ways are wrong for trams. Tram tracks are crossing the standard gauge tracks.
45:45 Wiss, Sinclairs and Middeldorfers (walking in a park) [could be Schlosspark, located here on the map, or in Frankfurt]

At this point he ran out of film. Apparently he telegraphed back to his factory and had film shipped to his Paris hotel. About three weeks are missing.

46:04 Suresnes American Cemetery [Paris, France] [Wikipedia]
46:16 Parade of Richmond Blues [of Virginia] and Putnam Phalanx [of Connecticut]. American Escort of General Jaffee. (This is just inside the Jardin des Tuileries [Wikipedia]. The soldiers are marching into the Place de la Concorde. The statue seen at the right is "Winged Horse Statue." See closeup picture. This is a today picture that is close to where the cameraman stood.)
47:36 At Arc de Triomphe. Decorating Unknown Soldier's Grave. [Every evening at 6:30 P.M.]
47:50 Eiffel Tower "Going Up" [Wikipedia]
48:05 Bus to La Bourget Airport [7 miles NNE of Paris] [Wikipedia]
48:18 Plane to London (pre-boarding and boarding) [Plane was a Farman F.60 Goliath: AirCraftTube and Wikipedia. Airline was Air Union: Wikipedia.]
48:53 Landed at Croydon Field England [just south of London] [Wikipedia]
49:06 Sheffield [England] [Wikipedia] (two street scenes: with lots of electric trams in the first, and buses in the second) [See first scene today] [building in second scene may have been destroyed in the Sheffield Blitz, or torn down for urban renewal])
50:09 On River Thames House Boats (houses along the banks, house boats)
51:00 At Southampton (cargo being loaded onto their ship [taken from on ship]) [they left Southampton on May 29, 1926]
51:24 At Quebec City (only port scenes) [presumably taken from on ship] [they arrived in Quebec on June 5, 1926]
51:47 At Temporary Chapel of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre [Wikipedia]
52:03 Falls of Mont Morency [Quebec] [Wikipedia] It appears they were filming from in front of the Montmorency Manor.
52:25 Quebec City: Statue of Samuel de Champlain (Camera pointed east at statue. Street scene with passing tram on Rue du Fort.)
52:39 Corpus Christi Celebration. The procession of the Blessed Sacrament. [Wikipedia] (Someplace in Quebec City.) [Sunday, June 6, 1926], then a train station (probably behind the Quebec City Train Station), then locomotive approaching (a Consolidation class N2b or N2c engine).
54:43 Train Wreck. On a train passing the removal of a freight train wreck (somewhere south of Quebec City). [They were on a Quebec Central Railway [Wikipedia] train (owned by Canadian Pacific Railway) on their way from Quebec to Boston. See route on a 1893-94 map for The Thoroughfare. I also have a general 1928 Timetable.]
55:00 Speed Boats on Wolfeboro Bay, NH [Their train (now on the Boston & Maine Railway) passed Wolfeboro [Wikipedia] and they made a stop there. The bay is part of Lake Winnipesaukee [Wikipedia]. They appear to be on a boat off Sewall Point. The large white building on the waterfront is the Avery Building. It contains shops and offices. The clocktower sticking above the trees is Brewster Hall, the Town Hall for Wolfeboro. At the very end of the film you see Melody, Keniston and Barndoor Islands.]
55:54 End