We now turn to Columbus, the capital of Ohio, and the German Village neighborhood south of the city’s downtown. German Village is one of those special places in America that I have a feeling most people have never heard about, but it is easily one of the most beautiful and harmonious built environments I have ever visited. In some ways, German Village reminds me of Lafayette Square in St. Louis even if the architectural styles of the two neighborhoods are vastly different.
Both have a central park in the middle of their respective core, with large, elaborate houses lining the bordering arteries, with more modest homes on the side streets.
The architectural styles in German Village for the most part eschew the Second Empire, so prevalent in Lafayette Square.
The neighborhood was laid out in the 1810s, but the Germans began arriving in the 1830s. As I’ve written before, while much as been made of the 1848 revolution in the German states which caused the immigration of many radicals to America, many Germans were already coming to America long before that for economic reasons. It’s hard to believe that people from the area that would later become what is now the fourth largest economy in the world would leave due to the lack of jobs, but it is true.
The beauty of German Village comes from the similar brick color, which obviously was sourced from the same clay deposits, and the limestone which again came from the same strata of bedrock.
German Village is very walkable, and like Lafayette Square, the housing prices are similarly high. I wish that there were affordable neighborhoods for people of all income levels, but unfortunately, as soon as an area becomes more livable for pedestrians, the prices skyrocket.
Like I mentioned above, the side streets are very interesting as well, since they have sturdy, simple houses with hipped roofs. Like St. Louis, main entrances are on the side of the house. The identical houses create a rhythm as you walk down the street.
The architectural style is hard to quantify; it is sort of Italianate, but not quite. It has traces of the sensibilities of the Greek Revival still hanging on as well. It is definitely not very German, showing how immigrants outside of churches and institutional buildings always adapted to their home countries for their houses.
Logically, the Romanesque Revival comes creeping, as well.