German Village in Columbus

Tuesday, 7 February 2023 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
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The Book Loft © Postdlf/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Book Loft © Postdlf/cc-by-sa-3.0

German Village is a historic neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio, just south of the city’s downtown. It was settled in the early-to-mid-19th century by a large number of German immigrants, who at one time comprised as much as a third of the city’s entire population. It became a city historic district in 1960 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, becoming the list’s largest privately funded preservation district, and in 2007, was made a Preserve America Community by the White House. In 1980, its boundaries increased, and today it is one of the world’s premier historic restorations. German Village is bound by Pearl Street on the west; East Livingston Avenue on the north; Lathrop Street, Brust Street, Grant Avenue, Jaeger Street, and Blackberry Alley on the east; and Nursery Lane on the south. Although German Village is an eclectic community, the area is known as a Columbus “gayborhood.” While there are no gay establishments within German Village, the neighboring Brewery District and Merion Village have several.

Schiller Park, named after Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805), was once a community meeting ground for German immigrants. It is now the site of recreational facilities, gardens, and an amphitheater that hosts free live performances of Shakespearean plays during the summer months courtesy of Actors’ Theatre of Columbus. It is bounded by Jaeger Street and City Park, Reinhard, and Deshler Avenues. It has been the area’s center for festivals and neighborhood activities since the 1800s. The 23-acre park’s main entrance, along City Park Avenue, greets visitors with the Huntington Gardens, sponsored by Huntington National Bank and maintained by volunteers, and the Schiller statue. The statue was presented to the park by local residents in 1891. It is a second casting of the statue in Munich, Germany, designed and executed by Max von Widnmann and unveiled on May 9, 1863. The Columbus statue was transported free of charge across the Atlantic. The park is also home to Umbrella Girl, dedicated to the citizens of German Village in October 1996 to replace the missing original sculpture.

The houses of German Village are settled close together on narrow plots. The area was originally settled mostly residential with commercial buildings scattered throughout. To keep this highly residential feel, the German Village Society has the area rezoned from manufacturing and commercial to high-density residential. The houses have small or no front yards, emphasizing local parks and gardens. The average home price as of 2021 was $377,450.Several homes in the neighborhood are priced at over $1 million, including a 5,200-square-foot (480 m²) home that sold in August 2007 for $1.5 million. Another home, which was purchased for $1.4 million in 2006, boasts an underground tunnel linking the main house with the garage, which also serves as an art and wine cellar.

German Village has a commercial strip mainly centered along S. Third Street, with mostly locally owned restaurants such as Katzinger’s Delicatessen, Schmidt’s Sausage Haus and Schmidt’s Fudge Haus. The Schmidt’s establishments have been a part of German Village for 120 years, opened by George F. Schmidt. The restaurant is still run by the family, and was featured on Man vs. Food in 2008. Thurman Café—home to the “Thurmanator” eating challenge—was opened in German Village in 1942 by Nick Suclescy. The café and its Thurmanator challenge was featured on Man vs. Food in 2008. Katzinger’s Delicatessen is another family owned restaurant that opened in 1984 and is known for their deli sandwiches. Many of the neighborhood’s restaurants won 2010 ThisWeek Community Papers awards, including Skillet which won “Best New Restaurant”, and Thurman Café for “Best Burgers”. Barcelona, noted for its Spanish cuisine, won for Best Patio and is a consistent Columbus Dispatch best city restaurant. Lindey’s was runner-up for the same award that year and was voted one of Columbus’s top 10 restaurants for 18 years straight. It has appeared previously in The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, and Gourmet magazine. In 2010, Max and Erma’s was runner up for Best Casual Restaurant and Best Soups, Pistacia Vera runner-up for Best Desserts, and Roosters won Best Wings. German Village was the home of the first restaurant in the Max & Erma’s chain. In 1972, the restaurant was opened by Barry Zacks. The name was adopted from the original tavern, started in 1958 by Max and Erma Visocnik, which the new owners converted into the popular theme restaurant. The location closed in 2017 due to financial difficulties.

© Niagara66/cc-by-sa-4.0 Schiller Park's Huntington Gardens © flickr.com - Jsjessee/cc-by-sa-2.0 Schmidt's Sausage Haus © Wiki Historian N OH/cc-by-sa-3.0 Schwartz Castle © Columbusite/cc-by-3.0 The Book Loft © Postdlf/cc-by-sa-3.0 The Thurman Cafe © Nheyob/cc-by-sa-4.0 3rd Street © Columbusite/cc-by-3.0
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Schiller Park's Huntington Gardens © flickr.com - Jsjessee/cc-by-sa-2.0
The neighborhood is home to one of the world’s largest producers of stained glass, the Franklin Art Glass Studios Inc., as well as several art galleries including the Archive Gallery, Hawk Galleries, Keny Gallery, and Kight Studio 551. Shops catering to European-imported retail include Caterina Ltd. German Village is houses a few unique shops including the 32-room The Book Loft of German Village, a pre-Civil War-era style bookstore; Hausfrau Haven–a wine and gift shop; and several art galleries. There are also some import shops, which once included Caterina’s Ltd., selling European housewares, but is now permanently closed.

In 2011, German Village was named as one of America’s Great Places in the Neighborhoods category by the American Planning Association. Their description reads, “Unpretentious, renovated houses and cottages stand shoulder to shoulder. Small, meticulously maintained front yards front tree-lined streets with brick sidewalks and cultivated village planters. Small businesses and storefronts with eye-catching displays and the aroma of culinary delights draw in passing pedestrians. German Village has remained true to its mid-19th century history, architecture, and character despite periods of disinvestment, decline, and near ruin.”.

A prosperous industry for the German immigrants was the brewing industry. Today, the Brewery District, part of the greater German Village neighborhood, still partially resembles its notable past. During the 19th century, the area was found largely along both sides of S. Front Street from Livingston Avenue to Sycamore Street. Notable breweries during this period included the Bavarian Brewery, started in 1849 by George Schlegel, which ultimately became the Shlegel Bavarian Brewery in 1860 when Bavarian Nicholas Schlee immigrated and took over. Schlee was president of the company that eventually constructed the Great Southern Hotel downtown. Schlee also owned the Lyceum Theater and served as vice president of the Central Bank. Conrad Born opened the Capital Brewery in 1859 and was also president of the Century Discount Company. The industry flourished during the early 20th century. One of the last major brewers of the city before Prohibition was August Wagner, who immigrated from Bavaria in the late 19th century and worked as the brewmaster at the City Brewery before becoming president and general manager of the Gambrinus Brewing Company. By 1919, he had purchased all of the stock for the company to become the sole owner, and in 1938 he changed the name to August Wagner Breweries, Inc. He was known to parade around on a horse costumed as Gambrinus, the patron saint of beer. A statue of Gambrinus is located at 605 S. Front Street. Twenty-nine breweries have existed in and around the village throughout its history.

While English breweries were found originally in the city, as German immigrants moved in, their brewing techniques were universally embraced and became the dominant methods for producing beer. Louis Hoster, an immigrant from Rheinpfalz, Germany, is notably credited for this transformation when he opened the City Brewery in the 1830s. He would go on to serve on the City Council between 1846 and 1854 while establishing the city’s first wollen mill in 1852. In 1864, he established the Louis Hoster & Sons Brewery, which became the Hoster Columbus Associated Breweries in 1904. He would also serve on the Board of Education and was a Unionist Democrat. Later members of Louis Hoster’s brewing dynasty included his son Louis Philip Hoster, president of the Columbus Structural Steel Company, and Herman Hoster, son of Louis’s son George, a graduate of Yale University, treasurer of Hoster Columbus Associated Breweries, and founder of the Columbus Envelope Company. Another son of George was Carl J. Hoster, graduate of Cornell University, who was President of the Hoster Columbus Associated Breweries as well as the Director of the Hayden Clinton National Bank and Columbus Driving Park Association, President of the U.S. Brewer’s Association, 32nd degree of the Scottish Rite, and great-great uncle of former U.S. President George W. Bush. Hoster Street in the German Village stretches six blocks between Lazelle and S. Front Streets.

Read more on German Village Society, ExperienceColumbus.com – German Village & Brewery District, ExperienceColumbus.com – Things To Do in German Village, OhioTraveler.com – German Village in Columbus and Wikipedia German Village (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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