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Historic German Village | Columbus Ohio | The Book Loft | Schmidt's & More

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Come with me to the Historic German Village in Columbus, Ohio
Including Schiller Park, Thurmans Cafe, Schmidt’s Restaurant, The Book Loft,
St. Mary’s Church and Franklin Art Glass.

German Village is just outside of downtown Columbus, Originally plotted in 1814 in Columbus’s south end and settled by German immigrants in the 1800’s and at one time German descendants comprised as much as one third of the population of the City of Columbus. With the development of parks, schools, stores and churches in which German was spoken at work, school and home. Large breweries were built and bier gartens were the normal until World War I and the anti German sentiment started and the decline of the village was seen.

It wasn’t until 1959 when Frank Fetch started preservation and rehabilitation of “the old south end” and the German Village society was born. It serves as the Caretakers of a legacy. The village revitalization had started with small lots, narrow brick paved streets and beautiful small red brick homes. German village historic district was made and is now on the national register of historic places.
The historic Schiller Park was named after the German poet Fredrick Von Schiller and the statue was donated by the German American community and cast in Bronze in Munch in 1891.
Also home to the Umbrella Girl statue after she disappeared in the early 1950’s Columbus Sculptor Joan Wobst donated her version of the Umbrella Girl and Phil Kientz designed her base, she is in the Grace Highfield Memorial Garden.

There is a suspension art installation in Schiller Park right now by Polish Artist Jerzy Jotka Kedziora with his art all around the park.
The Actors Theater of Columbus is at the park and has been there for 35 years. Here is the link to the summer season:
https://theactorstheatre.org/

Just around the corner from the park is the famous Thurman Cafe opened in 1942 the restaurant has passed thru family and has remain true to its roots, known for its Thurmanator burger as seen on Man vs Food, this burger was actually made for the contestants coming into town for the Arnold Classic before it became a mainstay on the menu. This is all comfort food, with only 12 tables and no reservations a table is hard to get without a long wait but they have opened a take-out window next door.

Our next stop is one of the nations largest independent bookstores, located on South Third St, this pre civil war building once house a general store, a saloon and a nickelodeon cinema. Opened in 1977 with just 3 rooms the Book Loft has gone thru 8 expansions and is now one block long and 32 rooms so allow plenty of time to browse. You can enter from the Third St entrance or off of City Park, street parking is the only option and may take a few minutes to find.
The staff will help you navigate the rooms or you can request a map, it is a labyrinth of rooms and many people get turned around trying to find the entrance. Each room has a theme and its home to the largest collection of children’s books in an independent bookstore.

The Historic St. Mary’s Church is across the street from The Book Loft this historic church was dedicated in 1868 for the growing German Catholic population, the church and the steeple finish in 1893 with the spire soaring to 197 feet.
In September of 2016 the steel cross at the top of the spire was struck by lightning and the long process of of fixing the deteriorated roof started, it reopened on Palm Sunday of 2019.

Franklin Art Glass is our last stop and was founded in 1924 and has been in Columbus for over 95 years. Franklin Art Glass is the largest stained glass studio in Ohio and offers classes, tools and accessories for wholesale and retail customers. The building that houses Franklin Art was built in 1922 as a US armory.

German Village has so much more to offer, from locally owned boutiques, specialty stores, restaurants, galleries and bakeries it makes it a perfect day trip for the whole family.

German Village Society:
https://germanvillage.com/about/what-to-expect-in-german-village/

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