Remembering German Village: Columbus, Ohio’s Historic Treasure
Author: Jody H. Graichen
Publisher: The History Press
Retail Price: $19.99
Walk the brick-paved streets of German Village, one of the capital city’s most vital and historically prominent neighborhoods. Founded as a haven for German settlers in the mid-1800s, the neighborhood, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is renowned for its preserved architecture and its hearty citizenry, such as Max Visocnik, who gave us Max & Erma’s in 1958, and the Schmidt family, proprietors of the famed Schmidt’s Restaurant and Sausage Haus, a German Village institution for more than one hundred years. Join German Village Society director of historic preservation programs Jody Graichen as she recounts the struggles of the German immigrants, the rise of the neighborhood and the efforts to preserve a Columbus jewel in this collection of columns previously published in ThisWeek Community Newspapers.
German Village is a cornerstone in Columbus, Ohio history and culture. Whether, like me, you grew up going to its shops and stores on family visits, or if, like me again, you visit its parks and cultural events, German Village can’t be separated from Columbus life. This b00k turned out to be a very personal moment in my life. It brought back memories, encouraged me to continue learning about the German heritage of our area, and sparked an interest to get more involved myself. Because of it, I joined the Palatines to America genealogical society. Because of it, I had a deeper sense of connection to places that I visit during summer months, like Schiller Park where I take my daughter for plays on summer nights and feeding the ducks when she was little. Because of it, I decided to pursue German Genealogy as my focus and specialty in my personal research and education. All this because of one little village – and one 140-ish page book.
Author Jody H. Graichen knows German Village well. As part-time director of the German Village Society, Jody had the insider’s scoop on the history ingrained in this part of Columbus. As an author of the series of columns which focused on German Village, she shared this information with the readers of ThisWeek Community Newspapers over a period of four years. This book is the compilation of those columns. It gives today’s reader the opportunity to enjoy short snippets of information covering topics such as architecture, community living, social history, and more. The stories shared aren’t of some stodgy, dusty place. It tells of a people who came from the Old Country, established a thriving community, weathered the anti-German sentiment of the war years, and returned their beloved village to a state of glory once again.
Simply put, this collection of columns is exciting if you love history even if you aren’t connected to this area or to German heritage. Rather than being arranged in a series of chapters, this book is one column after another, including photos, maps, and other descriptions. Because they stand independently, each column was perfect for me to read through when I had just a few minutes here or there. My only complaint – if you can call it that – is that I would have loved to see an index placed in the back of the book. I have specific topics that catch my interest when talking about local Germans that would have been easier for me to find had there been a listing of topics or even people or places for easy searching. However, this is a very small footnote to my review.
Grab some insider’s thoughts on the way that life was – and is – lived in German Village. Make sure you read (and remember) German Village.
Stephanie Pitcher Fishman is a co-founder and editor of The In-Depth Genealogist, a monthly digi-mag for every genealogist. She can be found blogging about her family research at Corn and Cotton Genealogy.
© Stephanie Pitcher Fishman (Corn and Cotton Genealogy) 2012
This article originally appeared in the May issue of The In-Depth Genealogist. Receive The In-Depth Genealogist free by subscribing HERE.
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