Treasure Trove: David Matlow visits Jerusalem’s ‘Praying Wall’

'The Praying Wall in Jerusalem'

“The Praying Wall at Jerusalem” was pictured on this 1892 trading card from Chicago’s W.F. McLaughlin coffee company. Trading cards featuring an “exotic location” were included as a premium in tins of XXXX coffee.

The back of the card stated that the beans were kept fresh by a glaze of corn starch and reclarified sugar, explaining “nothing can be more nutritious and healthful.” Frederic McLaughlin, the founder’s son, used some of the profits from this business to purchase the Chicago Blackhawks. 

The Praying Wall depicted is the Western Wall or Kotel in Jerusalem, which is one of the outer walls of the Temple Mount. It remained intact after the destruction of the Second Temple.  

From 1948 until June 7, 1967, Jerusalem was divided, with the Old City where the Western Wall is located under Jordanian control. Jews were prohibited to visit it during this period. Jerusalem was reunited during the Six-Day War. (Jews are now free to visit the Western Wall, but where and how women can pray remains a subject of dispute.)