The house was bought in 1733 by Goethe’s grandmother, Cornelia Goethe, a guest house hostess. It was in fact originally two houses, dating from around 1600 in typical medieval wooden-fronted style, until 1755, when Goethe’s father extensively remodeled and modernized them into the single structure we see today. Goethe writes in his autobiography that his father was careful to preserve the double overhang of the facade, which was not permitted in new buildings under the codes of 1719 and 1749, emphasizing that it was a remodeling of the existing structures and not a new construction.
After leaving the Goethe family in 1795, the house went through a series of owners, until its purchase in 1863 by geologist Otto Volger (1822–1897), who restored it to the condition the Goethe family had left it in, as a monument to its famous inhabitant. The house was destroyed during the Allied bombing of Frankfurt on May 22, 1944, but was restored after the war between 1947 and 1951, as closely as possible to its original condition and furnishing, giving an insight into what life was like for a reasonably wealthy resident of Frankfurt in the 18th century. It is next door to the Goethe Museum, which opened to the public along with the restored Goethe House in 1954, and nearby are the excavated foundations of the Jewish ghetto, which, along with the Jewish cemetery, gives a further glimpse of the older Frankfurt as Goethe himself would have experienced it.