Located on the southern edge of downtown Columbus, OH area, one of the Midwest’s most charming communities is German Village. The brick homes, stores, streets, and walkways were originally constructed by German settlers in the middle of the nineteenth century and have since undergone extensive restoration, making them the epitome of historic beauty and contemporary elegance. From downtown, the CBUS circulator, or CoGo Bike Share, it’s only a short walk or ride away, and once you are there, you’ll want to spend some time walking around the area. The Brewery District can be found directly west of German Village and is centered along High and Front Streets. Arepazo Tapas and Wine, a South American-inspired restaurant with brick walls and wooden tables, is only one example of the area’s newfound vibrancy; it was originally constructed by the same German settlers as an industrial heart of the city’s historic beer sector.
A considerable number of German immigrants came to German Village in the early to mid-19th century; they eventually made up as much as a third of the city’s population. It was designated as a Preserve America Community by the White House and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in December 1974, making it the biggest privately funded preservation district on the list. Its borders were expanded in November 1980, and now it is one of the best historical reconstructions in the world.
Large numbers of Germans had arrived in the city by 1830. Der Westbote, a German publication, was the country’s most prominent newspaper that year, 1843. Many would go on to serve in the American Civil War, earning the undying gratitude of their fellow countrymen in the process. In 1865, Germans made up one-third of Columbus’ population, and they were doing rather well. In addition to establishing enterprises like Hessenauer Jewelers and Lazarus Department Stores, they also established schools and churches like the famous St. Mary’s Catholic Church of Ohio, which was constructed in 1865 and features a 197-foot steeple. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, German-American George J. Karb served as mayor of the city.
Sister neighborhoods like the Hungarian Village sprang up in the south end when Eastern Europeans joined the German immigrants who had settled there in the early 20th century. The English-speaking citizens of Columbus preferred to attend local schools built and operated by German immigrants, such as the one that originally existed on Fulton Street east of S. Fourth Street, because of their high quality. In the 1960s, concerned citizens fought to prevent the demolition of the area’s historic architecture by establishing a local commission, the German Village Commission, with authority over the exterior alterations of buildings and by successfully having the area added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. German Village is one of the city’s most popular neighborhoods due in large part to the German Village Society’s efforts to preserve the area’s historic architecture and ambiance. The society now has over a thousand members.