German Village

German Village is a historic neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio that reflects that of a typical German village in Europe. Established and settled by German immigrants between 1840 and 1914, German Village is a fully functioning German community just south of downtown Columbus that aims to “preserve, protect and promote life among the bricks.” Today, the historic neighborhood is an internationally recognized historic district and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Photo: Chad McDermott/Fotolia


»History

History


German Village was established to create a welcoming environment for German immigrants who arrived in the South End in the 1850s. The simple, yet distinctive working-class neighborhood was occupied by bakers, carpenters, brewery workers, bricklayers, tanners, stonecutters, and storekeepers and had churches, stores and schools, many of which were so good that non-German-speaking residents of Columbus chose to send their children to them.

Early inhabitants of the German Village built their homes and developed their businesses in the vicinity of City Park, Livingston Avenue, and Third Street in the north and west sides of the Village. During the time of development, there were no zoning regulations, and a result, businesses were dotted about the neighborhood, instead of having one particular commercial zone. Typically, a business owner would have his store on the lower level of the building and lived above it, and this allowed the Village to retain its predominantly residential character.

The advent of zoning ordinances in 1923 and the closing of the local breweries during the 1920s Prohibition Era caused German workers were forced to find work elsewhere, and German Village went into decline. World War II caused an even greater exodus, and by the 1950s, the area had become a slum. After a third of the neighborhood between Main Street and Livingston Avenue was demolished to make way for the new interstate highway system, local citizen Frank Fetch and a group of like-minded people created the German Village Society to “promote the preservation and rehabilitation of the ‘Old South End.'” German Village in Columbus, Ohio - Photo: chicagophoto/Fotolia

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»Things to See and Do

Things to See and Do


Today, German Village is an outstanding example of urban conservation and revitalization and a vibrant residential neighborhood of stocky, red-brick homes with wrought-iron fences set along tree-lined, cobblestone streets. Boasting historic architecture dating back to the mid-1800s and a palpable sense of community and character, German Village is notably different because of its distinct lack of change.

German Village offers an array of attractions and activities to enjoy from several recreational parks, plenty of restaurants, cafés, traditional stores and shops, and art galleries. Parks include Frank Fetch Park, Huntington Gardens, and Schiller Park, all of which are open for the public to enjoy, while the Village boasts one-of-a-kind retail stores, art studios and galleries scattered throughout the area.

The 233-acre internationally recognized historic district can be explored and experienced on informative walking group tours. Conducted by the German Village Society, guided group tours provide a comprehensive overview of the history and heritage of German Village and gives visitors an in-depth look into how a working-class neighborhood developed in the early 19th century. Tours also take a look at how the passion of a small group of urban pioneers drove the rehabilitation efforts and renewal of the village in the 20th century. Tours are led by volunteer docents who share their extensive knowledge of both the historical and modern aspects of German Village from its vibrant architecture and storied history to the influential people and personal stories of the community that played a role in the development of the village.

Tour options include standard one-hour tours, which explore the cobbled streets lined with quaint homes, pretty manicured gardens, unique shops, art galleries, and bustling restaurants. Explore Beyond the Door takes visitors into two private German Village homes, while the Scavenger Hunt Tour is a unique and fun 90-minute experience where guests are sent out to explore the Village on one of six exciting architectural scavenger hunts after a shown a historical overview video and a brief history lesson. Innovators of German Village Walking Tour is a one-hour tour that presents an insight into 1960s German Village, the neighborhood's LGBTQ history and the men who led the restoration of Columbus' first historic district.

German Village plays hosts to a variety of functions and events throughout the year, including the Central Ohio Water Color Society Fall Show, the Frank Fetch Park Tree Lighting, the Golden Gingerbread Gala, and Handel’s Messiah.

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588 S 3rd St, Columbus, OH 43215, Phone: 614-221-8888 German Village in Columbus, Ohio - Photo: Chad McDermott/Fotolia

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German Village in Columbus, Ohio