Neighborhood Feature: German Village

Graduate School is a comprehensive experience that encompasses so much more than just the classroom learning.  For Fisher MBA students, the experience is enhanced by the vibrant city surrounding us.  The city of Columbus is an amazing city comprised of small neighborhoods that offer a wide array of things to see and do. Each neighborhood is distinct, with its own unique feeling, history, restaurants, and places to hangout. While working on your MBA, it would be a shame to miss out on experiencing everything that make Columbus the #1 city for young millennials.  Each month, I will be featuring a different neighborhood and explore how each of these unique communities come together to make Columbus such a diverse and distinctive city.First up is German Village, as this is where I have lived for the past three years. German Village was settled in the early 1830's by a wave of German immigrants who came to Columbus to work in the factories and industrial sector. They moved to the southern side of downtown, as at the time this was open farm fields and the cheapest place to buy land for the largely poverty-stricken immigrants. By the end of the Civil War, almost 40% of Columbus was of German ancestry, German language newspapers outnumbered English newspapers, and the neighborhood flourished. Large brick houses were built along quaint brick streets lined with trees and flowers. After WWI, anti-German sentiment increased dramatically. German language schools were closed down, German newspapers were burned, German street names were changed to more “American” sounding names like Liberty, Main, 3rd, and High street, and many of the German immigrants moved out of German village. By the 1950s German village had become a slum, and the city demolished 1/3rd of the neighborhood to build Interstate 70. In the 1970s, a young architect named Frank Fetch realized the potential of the beautiful old derelict brick houses, and bought a house in the middle of German Village, renovated it, and created the German Village Society to convince other wealthy Columbus families to buy and restore these beautiful houses. Today, German Village is once again thriving and has retained much of its original character.  In fact, it is now one of the largest historic districts in the country!

Suggested things to do in German Village:

  • Walk the brick streets and enjoy the traditional German-American architecture, checking out local shops and art galleries along the way
  • Explore Schiller Park, a large quiet green oasis full of people, dogs, and compelling art installations
  • Try Schmidt’s Sausage House or Valther’s for a hearty German meal
  • Need caffeine or a place to study?  Stauf’s Coffee house is a local coffee shop and roaster
  • Get lost in literature at the Book Loft, an enchanting brick house that’s been converted into a unique book store, featuring 32 rooms overflowing with books for sale
  • Experience the German Village “Haus und Garten Tour” where local residents open up their house to give guests a look inside their beautifully restored brick mansions.
  • Find the Little's House on 3rd street; the mouse's house is usually decorated for each holiday.

Whether you want to walk around brick streets enjoying the view, get a good cup of coffee, find a new book to read, or eat some good German food, there is something for everyone in German Village.

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