Neighborhoods They Settled In:  Detroit, Clark/Fulton, Industrial Valley, Ohio City, Old Brooklyn, Stockyards, Tremont, Central, Mount Pleasant, St. Clair

First Immigrants - 1830's

The Germans were one of the first groups to come to Cleveland.  The first Germans were from Pennsylvania, New York and Maryland.  They first began settling around Lorain Street in Brooklyn Township, and also along Superior and Central Avenues.  There were large numbers of Germans who arrived in Cleveland between 1840-1846.  There was another large group that arrived from 1848-1849.  After the Civil War, German immigration really picked up speed.


By 1833 there were about 15 German families in Cleveland.  They settled along Lorain Street on the west side and near Garden (now E. 17th) on the east side.  Some had farms around the St. Clair and E. 55th Street area.  Two miles south of the lake, on either side of E. 55th Street there were settlements on land near Central and Quincy Avenue and truck farms extended out Broadway beyond Kingsbury Run.  The majority of Germans settled in old Brooklyn Township west of the Cuyahoga, and many made homes along what today is Lorain Avenue.  In 1840 the German Evangelical Assn. opened a house of worship, and in 1843, the German Lutheran Church was built.  In 1843, the Evangelical Zion (German) Church was organized, and for some years occupied a wooden building on Bolivar Street, near Euclid.  In 1867, they built a church on Erie and Bolivar, and a large brick building for schools and evening meetings, on the site of the old wooden church.  The German Protestant churches established before 1850 were:  Schifflein Christi Evangelical (1835), Zion Lutheran (1843), the First German Methodist (1845) and Saint Luke’s Evangelical Church (1846); the first German Reformed church was established in 1848.  The Germans had established German Catholic churches and Protestant congregations before 1860.  The Protestant congregations were:  Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church (1853), the West Side United Evangelical Protestant Church (1853) and St. Paul’s Evangelical Protestant Church (1858).  The Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church quickly grew so that by 1880 it had over 1,400 members, making it the largest congregation in town.  The German Catholic churches were:  St. Peter’s (1853), St. Mary’s of the Assumption (west side – 1854), and St. Joseph’s (1855).  From 1840 to 1852, St. Mary’s in the Flats, at Columbus and Girard streets was the only Catholic Church in Cleveland.  On February 13, 1853, the first all German Catholic Parish was formed under the direction of Bishop Rappe and Father Luhr.  The present St. Peter’s was dedicated on Oct. 3, 1859.  In 1854, the West Side Germans under Father J.J. Kraemer organized a parish of their own naming it “St. Mary’s of the Assumption”; they used the older St. Mary’s in the Flats until a new church was built in September of 1863.  St. Joseph’s Church on Woodland and E. 23rd was an outgrowth of St. Peter’s parochial school named St. Bernhardts.  In the summer of 1862 members of St. Bernhardt’s mission organized a parish of their own.  Later a group of Franciscans took over the parish in 1868 and the present church building was dedicated on Oct. 5, 1873.

These Germans had formed settlements around Denison Avenue and West 54th Street; Scranton Road and Clark Avenue; West 54th Street and Bridge Avenue; Superior Avenue and E. 71st Street; Woodland Avenue near 71st Street; and Superior Avenue and E. 17th Street and Franklin Avenue.  When their children grew up they quickly left and moved into the suburbs.  Lakewood, Parma, and Garfield Heights today have absorbed a large percentage of these second and third generation Germans. 


In recent years the Cleveland Germans have formed many churches including Holy Trinity, St. Joseph, St. Michael, St. Peter, St. Stephen, Bethany Lutheran, Christ Lutheran, Concordia, Pilgrim Lutheran, St. John’s, St. Mark’s Lutheran, St. Matthew Lutheran, St. Paul’s, Zion Lutheran, Christ Evangelical, Immanuel Lutheran, St. John’s Evangelical and the West Side Evangelical and Reformed Church.


The Germans who came to Cleveland were skilled craftsmen.  They worked making musical instruments and were cabinetmakers and machinists.  There were also quite a few German brewers in Cleveland - Leisy Brewing Co., Gund Brewing Co., Schlather Brewing Co. and Pilsener Brewing Co.  The Berea Children's Home was founded by the Germans as well as the German Hospital on Franklin Blvd. (later Fairview Hospital on Lorain Avenue), the Lutheran Medical Center and Deaconess Hospital.  They also founded the Altenheim Home, an old-age home on Detroit Avenue.  They also founded Baldwin Wallace College in Berea and Notre Dame College as well.  John Carroll University was founded by the German Jesuits as St. Ignatius College at W. 39th and Carroll St.  The German newspapers were "Germania", Waechter am Erie (founded 1852), and the Waechter und Anzeiger.



Deutsche Zentrale or German Central - On York Road.  Farm bought 1926, had dances, tennis, rifle range, soccer.
Danubeswabians - ski clubs, soccer, dancing, music, study of German Language.
Bavarian Mens Choir
Leidertafel - mixed choir
Banater Mens Choir
Cleveland Maennerchor
American Turners
Banater Hall
East Side Turners
German Austrian Benefit Social Hall
GBU Hall
Cleveland Mens Choir Hall
West Side Sachsenheim
Picnic Groves:
German Zentrale
Reingers Grove
Morschers Farm
St. Johns Grove

1942 Report by the WPA:

The names of the Germans arriving in Cleveland in 1833 were Kaiser, Neib, Driemer, Finger, Risser, and Frey.  Denker and Borges were partners in a tailoring business.  Wigman was a mason contractor.  Schiele was a gardener and Dietz a watchmaker.  Later came the Leisy’s, Schlathers, Gehrings, Hessenmullers, Henningers, Schaafs, and Umbstaetters.  By 1834 there were 15 German families in Cleveland.  Between 1860 and 1890, over 40% of all people living in Cleveland were Germans.  Then, other groups began to come and by 1910 the Germans were 25% of the population.  When the Germans first came to Cleveland they lived along Lorain Street and on streets branching off of Superior Avenue and off of Gordon Avenue which is now W. 65th Street.  They wanted to live in settlements where their neighbors spoke German, ate the same foods, attended the same churches and talked of the same homeland.  Their children quickly learned English, left the settlements and built their homes in all parts of the city.  The Germans were quickly assimilated.


Cleveland cooking is more German than English.  Dumplings, sauerkraut, potato pancakes, kuchen and other German dishes are common in Cleveland today.  Many Christmas customs including Santa Claus and the Christmas Tree of Germanic origin.  The German brewers who founded half a dozen large breweries are supposed to have changed Clevelander’s tastes in beverages from the hard liquors of the rough and ready frontier days to the milder sociable beer.  Many of the early German settlers in Cleveland were skilled workmen, businessmen, or professional workers.  Many of them opened their own stores or factories.  A few were farmers who settled outside of Cleveland in what became the suburbs.  These farmers raised fruit and vegetables in the clay soil of what is now Lakewood.  There are still many people of German descent living in Lakewood.


In 1897 a book was published about Cleveland’s outstanding businesses.  The Title was Cleveland, the Metropolis of Ohio.  In this book the German businessmen were described in the following way:  “A large contingent of businessmen of Cleveland is formed of citizens of German birth and they are unexcelled in integrity, enterprise and public spirit.”  There are hardware and stove dealers, jewelry manufacturers and retailers.  A florist who owns ten greenhouses in South Euclid, an upholstery and bedding factory, a bicycle maker, a coal and building material dealer, a tanner, two bakeries, two confectioners, four tailors, three druggists, four grocers, a cabinetmaker, carriage and wagon makers, a roofer, a paint dealer, cigar maker, two distillers and brewers, a furniture dealer, a cloak and suit factory and an umbrella maker.


The names of some of the old and famous eating places show their German origin.  There was Peter Schmitt’s near the White City Amusement Park on Lakeshore Blvd, the Hofbrau House on Prospect Avenue and the Rathskellar on E. 4th Street. 


The Germans played an important part in changing Cleveland from a frontier town to a city noted as a medical and cultural center.  Young doctors trained in the European clinics are mentioned in the City Hospital records of 1894 as a reason for increased interest in science. 


The Germans took a leading part in the musical life of the city during the years at the turn of the century.  Many of them played in orchestras.  Architecture was another field in which the German excelled.  John D. Rockefeller, an industrialist and philanthropist was of German descent.  He founded an oil company which became the largest in the world.


The present day Germans (in 1942)  who are foreign and who have not left their settlements are centered near Denison Avenue and W. 54th, in the vicinity of Scranton Road and Clark Avenue, at W. 54th Street and Bridge Avenue, at Superior and E. 71st St., at Woodland Avenue near E. 71st Street, and on Franklin Avenue.  The west side settlements are Franklin Avenue from W. 25th to W. 52nd, and the more scattered Lakewood Germans.  They built a hospital at 2609 Franklin Avenue called Lutheran Hospital.  A large Lutheran Church and school are located at Arthur Avenue and Detroit Avenue in Lakewood.  There are now about 75,000 foreign born Germans in Greater Cleveland.




Information from The Jubilee Edition of the Cleveland Wachter und Anzeiger 1902


In 1830 and again in 1833, Germans attempted to overthrow dynasties in Germany.  That cause failed and the Germans had to flee.  The intelligent class came to Cleveland and were known as the Thirty-Three-ers.  The early German immigrants that came in 1848 were called the Forty-Eighters and were known as “The Grays”. Later immigrants were called “The Greens”.  There is a book called Memories of a Forty-Eighter by Jacob Mueller that talks about the failed revolution of 1848 in Germany.


The first German newspaper in Cleveland appeared in 1846 and was called the Germania, published by Edward Hessenmuller and L. Wangelin.  This paper survived briefly.  In the 1870’s, there was the newspaper called the Columbia which existed for a brief time.  The Germania appeared again briefly and then in the 1880’s there was the Die Biene.  At the end of the 1880’s the Germania appeared again as well as the Deutsche Presse.


8/9/1852 – The German newspaper was called Wachter am Erie – Sentinel on the Erie was founded by Jacob Mueller and Louis Ritter.  August Thieme was the first editor.  This paper later merged with the Clevelander Anzeiger in 1893 and became the Wachter und Anzeiger – Sentinel and Advertiser.  It ended publication in 1989.


In 1852, when the Wachter am Erie was founded, there were 5,000 Germans in Cleveland.  They took little part in politics but were being awakened by the Forty-Eighters streaming in.  They campaigned for freedom, human rights and religious tolerance.  They formed Singing Societies and Gymnastic Societies known as Turners.


The August 9, 1852 issue of Wachter am Erie, showed the following German businesses in Cleveland:

Carl Roeder, wine, liquor and tobacco

Dr. L.J. Czapkay, physician, surgeon, obstetrician and pharmacist

Dr. G. Schueler, surgeon and obstetrician, 66 Center Street

N. Heisel , cake maker, 13 Water Street

J.G. Mack, fall hats

Thiele and Hofer, 36 Seneca Street, gold and silversmiths and engravers

Rettberg, Doeltz and Haussmann, 166 Superior Street, importer of German goods

G. Griffith and W. Brinker, furniture factory of Water Street

Carl Sutter, painter

Jacob Mayer, 12 Water Street, selling watches, chains and gold goods

Wagner Bros., 23 Water Street, chairs, wholesale and retail

Max Treiber from Pittsburg, gravestones

Joseph Degen, 9 Water Street, toys

L. Emrich, Napoleon Hotel German inn, corner of Water and St. Clair

C. Frank, Lafayette House on Seneca Street

F. Weidenkopf, Zum Deutschen Schloss inn, 47 Seneca Street

Phillipp Lerch, Zum Schwarzen Adler inn on Erie Street

Johann T. Brodt, inn in Union Lane

Carl Behlen, German beerhall and restaurant on Water Street

John Gerlach, 71 River Street, boots and shoes

Valentin Ziemer, 6 Union Street, clothing store

J. Kuhnhold & Co., 12 Water Street, custom men’s tailors

Lutkemeyer and Schmidthusen, Superior and Vineyard Street, ironwares, books

Joseph Stoppel, Cleveland Distillery on St. Clair Street

Schulz Bros., furniture store on Bank Street

L. Gebhardt, 5 Merwin Street, wine merchant and grocery

Bratenahl Bros., leather goods

M. Dietze, lawyer and notary

Beavis, Mueller and Ritter, German-American lawyers and notaries

Rettberg, Doltz and Hausmann, exchange for Germany

C.B. Richard’s German agency in New York, represented by Wm. Lutkemeyer


German Breweries:

Stumpf Brothers


Schmitt and Hoffmann Co.

Isaac Leisy

Leonhard Schlather

C.E. Gehring

Phoenix Brewing Co.





Germans founded the Altenheim home for elderly residents on Detroit Avenue in 1891.  They also founded Deaconess Hospital in 1892.  The Berachah Haven for Needy Girls was located on Courtland Street since 1882.


GERMAN SCHOOLS IN 1902 (All Free Men’s Schools):

1.  St. Clair behind the medical college

2.  Mechanic Street on the west side, - later became the hall of the Social Turners

3.  Laurel Street (Teutonia Halle)

4.  Zalinski School on the west side

5.  Jersey Street Lindemann School – of the Stempel Congregation

6.  Erie and Hamilton Street in the Schmidt Congregation

7.  Zion in the Heights


The German language was introduced to the high schools in 1859.   In 1867 a report showed that most Germans resided in the 4th, 6th, and 8th wards.  In 1870, all public schools had German instruction.




Until 1832 there was only one house of God in Cleveland, Trinity Church on Superior Street, whose bells rang in 1896 on the centennial of the city of Cleveland, but which fell finally to commercialism on 29 June of this year when the last services was held in this old cathedral, and it was condemned to being razed.  At the beginning of the 1830s the Old Stone Church was built on the Square.  The Word of God was proclaimed in both of these churches in English.  In April 1835, thus only 67 ½ years ago, the first German congregation was founded in Cleveland, receiving the name “The Little Boat of Christ” (zum Schifflein Christi).  This congregation built its first church at the corner of Hamilton and Erie, in which Pastor Allard functioned as minister.  Some Lutheran families separated themselves from this congregation in 1843 to found the Evangelical-Lutheran Zion Church, which was located at Erie and Bolivar Street. 


Next there arose the first German Methodist congregation, which erected a church at the corner of Eagle and Erie Street with the assistance of their English fellow believers.  German Catholics had no church of their own, and it was only in the second half of the 1840s that St. Mary’s in the Flats received a German priest who was commissioned to say mass and preach in German.  The religiously freethinking element was strongly represented among workers and farmers. Attempts to establish German school here proved premature.  Even the head of the congregation “the Little Boat of Christ” saw it necessary to hand over the parish school to a committee in order to create a non-confessional school in 1848, which later became the school of the Free Men’s League.


The oldest German Catholic congregation is St. Peter’s, whose church was located at the corner of Superior and Dodge Street.  It was founded in February, 1853, and a year later St. Mary’s congregation was established on the West Side (Ohio Street).




1.  Bethany Evangelical Protestant Church  – established in May of 1890 on Burton Street and Storer Avenue, later W. 41st at Storer.

1894-1913 – Wm. Behrendt

1918-1924 – H.E. Voss

1928 – Theo Braun


Bethany German Evangelical Protestant was established in May, 1890, with the assistance of the local Zion Church and the German Evangelical Synod of North America, in a new area of the city.  After the young congregation had organized itself, it obtained with no small difficulty a splendidly-located, valuable lot 112 feet wide and 180 feet long on Burton Street and Storer Avenue, and threw itself into constructing a provisional church.  It made good progress, so that consecration of the new house took place in the middle of August of the same year.  The parish house is located next to the  church.  Currently the congregation numbers between 150 and 160 families, mostly from northern Germany and recently immigrated.  A series of lively and active societies have attached themselves to this growing congregation.  The women’s association has accomplished no less by promoting the pecuniary well-being of the congregation.  The Sunday School Society, consisting largely of younger people, leads a well-attended Sunday School.  The Youth Society is a gathering place for confirmed young people.  A Mission Society promoted interest in internal and external missions.  Several years ago, most of the members joined a Sickness Support Society.  So far as the ecclesiastical position of Bethany goes, it must be said that it has been a member of the Evangelical Synod of North America from the beginning.  The preacher of the congregation since its establishment is Pastor W. Behrend.


2.  Christ Evangelical Protestant Church – Founded 12/5/1897 by Pastor F. Oppermann.  Located at Wellington and Cudell, later 2124 West 98th Street


1897-1906 – Franz Oppermann

1908 – John Huebschmann

1913-1918 – Henry Eppens

1921-1928 – Hugo Kamphauson


Christ Church is still young and small, but very promising.  The church on Wellington Avenue at the corner of Cudell Street, is older than the congregation.  The church, with a basement and heated by a furnace in the winter, was consecrated by Pastor F. Oppermann on December 5, 1897 in the presence of a large number of Protestants.  A month later the organization of the Christ congregation was completed with 16 members.  It now numbers 29 families and 16 individual members.  It is part of the German Evangelical Synod of North America. 


3.  Ebenezer Evangelical Protestant Church – Founded in 1893 at Hoyt and St. Clair (later St. Clair at E. 73rd)  by Rev. William Wahl.


1893-1908 – William Wahl

1913-???? – Richard Fillbrandt

1918-1921 – G.C. Maul


The first step to the foundation of the Ebenezer Church was made by a missionary committee of the Ohio district of the German Evangelical Synod of North America through the calling of Pastor Wilhelm Wahl, then at Rockport, Cuyahoga County, to be missionary preacher.  Pastor Wahl moved to Cleveland on May 15, 1893 and took up his post.  The four pastors in Cleveland belonging to the Evangelical Synod each donated $100 free of interest for an undetermined time to construct a little church, and the Zion Church (Pastor Leonhardt) donated $37.50 for the same purpose.  The Ohio district of the German Evangelical Synod of North America which met at the start of June, 1893, in Pastor Burghardt’s church at the corner of Willson Avenue and Magnet Street, then approved $200 for construction.  A lot was leased on Hoyt Avenue and St. Clair Street and a little church built there.  It was dedicated on June 23, 1893.  With the organization of the congregation on May 6, 1894, when the name of Ebenezer German-Evangelical Church was adopted, the first part of its history was completed.  In June, 1894, the congregation was accepted as a member of the German Evangelical Synod of North America.  On August 10, 1895 the congregation received a lot on Nora and St. Clair Street with a frontage of 100 feet, which has served its purpose.   Pastor W. Wahl remains at his position today.


4.  United Evangelical Protestant Church – Founded in 1853 at Kentucky St. near Bridge.  Known as Stempel’s Church after Rev. Philip Stempel. 


1871-1874 – Philip Stempel

1875-1879 – H.C. Fack

1880-1894 – William Angelberger

1894-1895 – F. Schrock

1898-1923 – C.W. Bernhardi

1924-1960 – Walter Klein


The oldest German Protestant congregation on the west side, and one of the oldest whatsoever in Cleveland, is the United Evangelical Protestant Congregation of the West Side, usually referred to as “Stempel’s Church”.  It received this latter name because its founder and first pastor had that name.  Pastor Philipp Stempel, an old Forty-Eighter from the Palatinate, by profession a teacher, and who was driven over the sea by the Revolution, came here in 1849 and took over a position as pastor and teacher in Brighton, now South Brooklyn.  At the start of the 1850s he started preaching in turns in Rockport, then Cleveland or Ohio City, which is today called the West Side.  This gave occasion to the establishment of the congregation in Cleveland on July 26, 1853.  Mr. Stempel was elected pastor and held this office for 22 years.


On November 28, 1853 the cornerstone was laid for the first church, a little wooden church on Kentucky Street near Bridge Street.  Very soon it proved to be too small and the active pastor managed to bring it about that the congregation moved in 1859 to a roomier brick church at the corner of Bridge and Kentucky Street.  This did not fulfill their needs for long, and in 1866 the congregation built a stately new church next to the old one on Bridge Street.  This construction cost $45,000.  The earlier church was used as a parish school.


Although the congregation sought to reduce their debt, it became impossible to support the burden and there was a danger that the church would be auctioned.  Pastor Stempel resigned.  The congregation then elected Pastor Fack on November 7, 1875 as second pastor.  He was not able to settle the poor finances.  He remained until the end of 1879 before establishing St. John’s Evangelical Protestant Church, which is on Harbor Street.


The third pastor was W. Angelberger of Buffalo.  His period of service, from February, 1880 on, showed a growth in the external conditions of the congregation.  The debt, which was $22,000 when he took office, was reduced year by year.  When he died on October 26, 1894, the debt was paid down to $2,700.


During the subsequent vacancy, Pastor F. Schrock of Brighton oversaw the congregation until they won Mr. C.W. Bernhardi, a fine new pastor.  He took up his position on January 13, 1895 and won the love and respect of the members.  He was born the son of a pastor in Staudemin, Pomerania, in 1865.  He emigrated to America in 1888.  The congregation does not belong to any synod, but it has been served by the German Evangelical Synod of North America since 1880.


5.  Friedens Evangelical Protestant Church at 3587 Kimmel Street.

1887 – F. Groth

1888 – L. Bach

1888-1891 – Heinrich Staebler

1891-1898 – Franz Oppermann

1897-1913 – Charles C. Gebauer

1918 – J.F. Trefzer

1921 – Walter Bauman

1924 – Adolph Egli

1928 – Theo Tillmanns


The Friedens Evangelical Protestant congregation was organized by Pastor F. Groth on Sept. 11, 1887.  Services were held in a schoolhouse, but within the first year the congregation decided to build a church.  A proper lot was purchased on Kimmel Street, and soon the cornerstone for the church was laid.  The wooden church was consecrated the Sunday before Christmas.  Since Pastor Groth only served the congregation for a brief time, the council turned to the German Evangelical Synod of North America for a minister.  In January, 1888, Pastor L. Bach took over, but illness forced him to give up his office in May of the same year.  He was followed by Pastor H. Staebler, who preached his first sermon on May 20, 1888.  Still a free congregation, it decided under Pastor Staebler’s leadership to join the Evangelical Synod of North America.  At Easter, 1891, Pastor Staebler left to go to Indiana.  His successor, Pastor J. Oppermann, preached for the first time on April 17, 1891.  During his over six years as a preacher, a whole series of groups came into existence which survive to the present day.  In 1892 the congregation declared itself independent, and since then it has covered its budge from its own resources.  In the crisis year of 1893 Pastor Oppermann declined to take his salary for four months in order to help the struggling congregation.  Pastor Oppermann laid down his office at the start of September, 1897, in order to found a mission church on the West Side.  He was followed by the current pastor, C.C. Gebauer.  He took up office on October 1, 1897.  Under his leadership a tower was built on the church in 1898.  An 1,100 pound bell was hung in the tower.  Currently the congregation consists of 86 members. 


6.  Emmanuel Evangelical Protestant Church located at Colfax at N. East Avenue, later Kinsman at E. 72nd


1886 – J. Heininger

1887 – G. Neumann

1888 – John Heininger

1888 – H. Haass

1889 – H.A. Koerner

1890 – T. Lenschau

1897-1908 – F.M. Haefele

1913-1924 – Theo P. Frohne


The Emmanuel Evangelical Protestant Church at the corner of Colfax Street and N. East Avenue, was founded on July 25, 1886 by Joh. Heininger, a cleric residing in Cleveland.  Thirteen heads of families signed the first charter.  After long missionary activity by Pastor Heininger, Mr. G. Neumann was elected minister.  He took over in the winter of 1887.  Since both divine service and Sunday School had taken place in rented quarters on Kinsman Street, then in a small storage room on Herold Street, on January 8, 1888 a committee was commissioned to buy a lot, whereupon the committee built a small church in keeping with the congregation’s capacity.  Pastor G. Neumann departed in early 1888 and Pastor Joh. Heininger was unanimously elected.  Under his leadership the congregation grew constantly.  He took his leave in November, 1888.  His successor was Pastor H. Haass, who created the first church register, entering the activities of the congregation there.  On July 8, 1889 he resigned his position and on November 17 of the same year H.A. Koerner was called as pastor.  On March 23, 1890 the congregation saw itself compelled to declare to him that his services were no longer desired.  They then elected Pastor T. Lenschau, who had belonged to the Evangelical Synod of North America since 1854 and had served a series of German Evangelical congregations in Cleveland.  The congregation then joined this synod.  Pastor Lenschau died on June 11, 1897.  The next pastor was F. Schroeck and then F.M. Haefele who took over on June 1, 1897.  On October 1, 1901, it was decided to build a new church on the present lot.  The congregation currently numbers about 80 members.


7.  St. John’s Evangelical Protestant Church located on Magnet St. at Willson (later E. 55th at Magnet), founded 1884.


1887-1918 – Carl Burghardt

1921 – Henry Vieth

1924-1928 – Emil Krafft


St. John’s Evangelical Protestant Church was established in 1884.  It had its first small church on Magnet Street.  In the first three years of its existence, it was served by three ministers, each serving for a short time.  During the service of the last of these ministers the congregation went downhill.  It split, and a portion established a church on Kimmel Street, the present Friedens congregation.  During this time of crisis, the present minister, Pastor C. Burghardt, was called and he took up his office on October 1, 1887.  The congregation purchased a lot on Willson Avenue at the corner of Magnet Street and the cornerstone was laid on August 19, 1889.  At this time there were 70-80 members.  Currently there are between 170 and 180 complete members (families) in the congregation.  There are also about 100 non-complete families. 


8.  St. Paul’s Evangelical Protestant Church located at Scovill and Greenwood (later Scovill and E. 28th)


1858-1865 – Steinert

1865-1869 Kronlein

1869-1872 – John C. Young

1872-1875 - John Bank

1875-1878 - Albert Zeller

1878-1884 Buttner

1884-1906 – H. Eppens

1908 – Henry Deters

1913 – Wm. Leonhardt

1918-1921 – Adolph Schmidt

1924-1928 – Walter Baumann


The second St. Paul’s Evangelical Church, whose church is located at the corner of Scovill and Greenwood Street, was established in 1858.  Its rise was due to the separation of a number of members of the “first St. Paul’s”, or as it was later called, “The Little Boat of Jesus”, whose pastor was then Allardt and his assistant Pastor Steinert. This division took place peacefully.  A committee was named in 1858 to prepare for a new congregation.  Pastor Steinert was chosen as first minister, a position he held until 1865.  The little flock held its meetings in a rented hall before transferring to a little wooden church on a property owned by the mother congregation at the intersection of Scovill and Greenwood.  This church was used for 12 years.  There was concern to establish a parish school, which drew well though the end of the 1860s.  It declined in the 1870s and was closed in 1878.  Despite the frequent changing of pastors, St. Paul’s Church grew slowly but steadily.  Steps were taken in 1870 to build a new church with its façade on Scovill, while the old church was behind it, fronting on Greenwood.  Alongside the church to the north is the new parsonage.  The preachers of this congregation to date were:  M. Steinert, 1858-1865; Pastor Kroenlein, 1865-1869; Pastor Young, 1869-1872; Pastor Bank, 1872-1875; Pastor Zeller, 1875-1878; Pastor Buettner 1878-1884; Pastor H. Eppens 1884 to the present.


9.  Zion Evangelical Protestant Church – located at Jennings and Branch (broke away from Stempel’s Church)

1867 – Bauer

1868 – Bochert (he was fired)

1871-1879  – O. Schettler

1878-1883  – Albert Klein

1883-1913  – Theophil Leonhardt

1918-1921 – B.F. Wulfman

1924-1928 – Otto Wittlinger


Zion Evangelical Protestant Church, located at Jennings and Branch Avenue, and which is one of the strongest German congregations in the city, is a daughter of the Stempel Church on the West Side.  The congregation was established on January 1, 1867 in Schneeberger’s Hall by about 40 families, and it received the name of “The German Evangelical Protestant Church of University Heights.”  No sooner had this happened but a lot was obtained at the corner of Tremont and College Street for the sum of $400, and a little church built there, whose cornerstone was laid on May 12, 1867 in the presence of Pastor Stempel and Pastor P. Schroeck of South Brooklyn.  Pastor Bauer was called as first preacher and entered his office on September 15, 1867.  He served the congregation until August, 1868, when Pastor Bochert was called to be his successor.  He was no special compliment to the office of a Protestant preacher, and one fine November Sunday in 1871 the congregation shut the door in his face and fired him.  Pastor O. Schettler of Martinstown, Indiana, was called.  Under his action, he bought the lot at Jennings and Branch Avenue for $8,000.  In 1873 the little church at the corner of Tremont and College Street was removed and taken to Jennings and Branch Avenue where it was for many years.  Another building was purchased in which a parish school was established.  The congregation grew until the throat ailment of the minister compelled him to resign in 1878.  During his service the church became a member of the German Evangelical Synod of North America, where it still remains.  The name was changed to Zion Evangelical Protestant Church.


Pastor Schettler’s successor was Pastor A. Klein who was with the congregation for five years.  Due to a nervous ailment, he asked for a vicar in 1883 from the directory of preachers of the German Evangelical Synod of North America.  His request was honored and Theophil Leonhardt was sent.  At the same time, Pastor Klein received a call from Germany, so that he resigned on Sept. 2, 1883.  Rev. Leonhardt was elected as future pastor and he still practices as pastor today.  It was then necessary to build a new larger church and to use the old one as a schoolhouse.  The costs were determined to be $25,000.  A brick structure was raised on a plan by architect Mitermueller.  Consecration took place on February 1, 1885.  Currently 700 families belong to this church.  The Sunday School has more than a thousand pupils and the confirmation class has 152 children.  Pastor Theophil Leonhardt was born on February 8, 1853 in Hohenstaufen in Wurttemberg.  He immigrated to America in December of 1880 and took over the second teacher’s position in the German Protestant Orphanage in St. Louis, MO, in February, 1881 and entered the preacher’s seminary on September 2 of the same year, where he took theology for two years before taking an examination.




1.  Little Boat of Jesus (Schifflein Christi) founded in 1835 at Erie and Hamilton Streets

1835-1838 Steinmeyer

1838-1861 – C.A.H. Allardt

1861-1868 – W. Schmidt

1869-1873 – W. Purpos

1873-1875 – H. Veith

1875-1878 – Charles Munch

1878-1879 – Otto Telle

1879-1883 – F. Busser

1883-1891 – John Andres

1891-1901 – Friedrich von Schlumbach

1901 -          H.H. Rippe

1906-1908 – Erich Becker

1913-1921 – J. Huebschmann


In the midst of a dreadfully stormy period in April, 1835, the first steps were taken in Cleveland to found a German Evangelical Protestant congregation.  Were these storms a preparation for the many storms which have passed over this congregation in the course of decades, as well as over the little band of German Protestants who braved the winds on April 26, 1835 to attend the meeting in which the founding of the congregation?  Four days later F.J. Tanke was elected pastor for a year.  In the following month Tanke traveled to New York to marry his bride and bring her back to Cleveland.  During his absence a Mr. Buse, who was passing through, preached every Sunday.  An important part of the congregation was so fond of Mr. Buse that they wanted to keep him there as pastor.  This conjured up the first storm and the tumult of division threatened to destroy the congregation.  When Pastor Tanke returned, he found the congregation split.  He preached to the part remaining loyal to him in the Masonic Temple, while Buse held services in an empty shop.  In that time a man learned in the scriptures by the name of W. Steinmeyer lived on a farm about 9 miles from the city.  Pastor Tank repeatedly invited this man to preach.  Steinmeyer accepted and rapidly won friends though his gift of speech.  He managed to bring the congregation back together.  The condition was that he should become preacher.  A position was found for Pastor Tanke in Black River, which he accepted.  Buse was revealed to be no good and to avoid a serious charge he fled the city.  In August, 1838, Steinmeyer accepted a call to Phillipsburg.


His successor was Pastor C.A.H. Allardt.  He remained in office until 1861.  In 1842 a bridge church was built at the corner of Erie and Hamilton Street which received the title of “The Little Boat of Jesus.”  Further storms were not lacking during his ministry, breaking out in 1858 when Pastor M. Steiner was called by the congregation as assistant pastor.  He made himself very popular with the congregation, but could not get on well with his elder colleague and superior, and this led to another fracture in the congregation.  With the help of his adherents, Pastor Steiner organized a new congregation which constructed a church on property belonging to the mother congregation on Scovill and Greenwood.  This daughter congregation is the flourishing St. Paul’s Church, whose minister today is Pastor Eppens.


After Pastor Allardt laid down his office, Pastor W. Schmidt took over.  A bad storm arose during his ministry as well, which once more tore away a piece.  In 1868 there were disagreements which led to a portion of the congregation, including some of the oldest members, departing along with Pastor Schmidt to establish the First United Evangelical Protestant Church on Erie Street and Central Avenue.  This congregation existed for about 30 years, during which it was beset by many storms.  What the crises could not accomplish was done by the death of the old pillars of the community, leading to dissolution.  Some of the remaining members joined St. Paul’s Evangelical Protestant Church, some the Second Reformed Church on Woodland Avenue and Putnam Street.


Pastor W. Purpos served from 1869 to 1873, and after him through 1875, Pastor H. Veith as minister of the Little Boat of Jesus.  A Pastor Schornstein preached briefly in 1875, but he spoke so poorly that the congregation would not allow him to consecrate the new, splendid church on Superior Street (its present church).  And it stormed again, and once more a piece of the congregation broke off.  Members who departed founded Trinity Church, now headed by Pastor Kimmel.


From 1875 to 1878, Pastor C. Muench, from 1878 to 1879 Pastor Otto Telle, from 1879 to 1883 Pastor F. Buesser and from 1883 to January, 1891, Pastor John Andres were ministers.  Heavy debts and the various splits had led to a declined membership, so by 1890 the existence of the congregation was placed in serious doubt.  A total of $28,000 debts stood on the church property.  The debt had been referred to a federal court and the church was supposed to be auctioned off.  Under these circumstances, Pastor Friedrich von Schlumbach, who was so mourned when he died in summer last year, entered office.  The court approved a delay of the auction and from then on there was a turn for the better.  Pastor von Schlumbach succeeded in paying off the greater part of the debt.  The congregation left the Evangelical Synod and took its earlier independent position.  The schoolhouse behind the church was renovated, a new parsonage constructed and two large halls and other rooms built in the association building.  A gymnasium was installed, the church and school painted, Dodge Street was paved.  The congregation consists of 250 voting members.  The death of Mr. von Schlumbach on May 28 of last year was a cause of mourning.  Pastor H.H. Rippe of New York was called in August, 1901 and he has been minister since last September. 


2.  Case Avenue Independent Evangelical Protestant Church – on Case Avenue, later E. 40th at Cooper – known as Trinity Church

1874 – Rev. Durr

1875-1878 – Charles A. Hermann

1878-1918 -  August Kimmel

1921-1924 – John Etjen

1928-???? – Theo Kitterer


An assembly to establish an independent German Evangelical Protestant Church was held in early 1875 in the home of the late Mr. Christ Robbe on Clifton Street.  Some weeks later a second assembly was held in the hall of Mr. Louis Zimmermann, corner of St. Clair and Lyman Street.  These people were without a spiritual home after having ended their membership in the mother church, The Little Boat of Jesus, due to differences of opinion.  The resolution was passed unanimously that the steps be taken to found a new congregation, receiving the name of Holy Trinity German Evangelical Protestant Church. 


The next difficult task was to call a proper preacher as well as to find proper quarters for services.  The congregation advertised in papers announcing its departure from its earlier congregation, and at the same time advertised for a pastor.  Help came from the least expected quarter.  Pastor J.W.C. Durr, then minister of Christ Episcopal Church on Orange Street, volunteered to take over the services.  He also helped by making available the English Episcopal Church at the corner of Alabama and Superior for services.  Services were held there for almost an entire year.  The need to find a church of their own grew ever more urgent.  The ranks of members began visibly to thin, and a split was threatening within the community.  Some of the loyal members stayed away from Pastor Durr’s services, “since he is an Episcopal pastor,” and “since the service used in the Episcopal Church was alien to them.”  They demanded that the congregation should protect its Evangelical-Protestant nature.


In May, 1874, the congregation determined to purchase the lot at Case Avenue and Cooper Street for $7,500.  The cornerstone for this church was laid in June, 1874, by Pastor Durr with the assistance of other Episcopal clerics.  Pastor Durr resigned, and there was an interregnum.  At the request of the congregation, preacher Horn, at the time bishop of the Evangelical community, Pastor Schneider and later Pastor Stempel took up the interim ministry.  In early 1875 the congregation called Pastor H.E. Hermann of Hamilton, Ohio to be preacher.  He served for 2 ½ years.  The congregation then called Pastor August Kimmel from Allegheny.  He took over on June 12, 1878.  He has now held the office for over 24 years. 


3.  St. John’s Independent Evangelical Protestant Church – on Harbor Street

1879 – C. Fack

1880 – A. Bauer

1881-1883 – C. Monch

1883-1924 – Carl Weiss

1928-???? – John Klein


Among the few independent Evangelical Protestant Churches in Cleveland, that is, those whose pastor or congregation belonged to no synod, there is St. John’s Church on the West Side, whose church is located on Harbor Street.  On October 5, 1879 a number of German fellow believers gathered together and signed as 20 or 30 men to pledge their support for the founding of a new congregation.  The first service was in a little church on Franklin Avenue Circle.  Pastor C. Fack, who had previously been preacher at the Bridge Street church, led the new enterprise.  After six months, the congregation decided to built its own church.  This was quickly done and the consecration of the little church on Harbor south of Lorain Street took place in December, 1880.  Pastor A. Bauer led the festivities.  As already mentioned, Pastor C. Fack was the first minister, but only for six months.  He was followed by Pastor A. Bauer who had already served the Zion church as well as the Case Avenue congregation.  He resigned at the end of a year.  From Sept. 18, 1881 to April, 1883, Pastor C. Moench was the preacher.  On July 15, 1883 Pastor Carl Weiss was elected to the office, which he still holds.  In 1893 another lot adjoining the church was obtained.  There was a need for a new church and one was built and consecrated on October 29, 1899.  The congregation currently numbers about 250 families.




The Evangelical Lutheran Churches in Cleveland almost all belonged to the Missouri Synod.  The oldest, Zion, was brought to live almost 60 years ago.  It is nearly 60 years since the first German Evangelical Lutheran church was called to life in Cleveland.  The degree to which the German population has grown is shown by the fact that there are now 11 Lutheran churches, of which 9 belong to the Missouri Synod and two to the Ohio Synod.  These churches have always assured German youth a good education in the German language.  The oldest Lutheran Congregation is the Zion Church established 59 ½ years ago on Erie Street.  The other Lutheran churches of Cleveland which grew out of it are Christ Church on Selden Avenue, Trinity Church on Jersey Street, Immanuel Church on Scranton Avenue, St. John’s Church on Cable Street, St. Luke’s Church on Conover Street, St. Matthew’s Church on Meyer Avenue, St. Paul’s on Willson Avenue, and St. Peter’s on Craw Avenue, all belonging to the Missouri Synod.  Those belonging to the Ohio Synod are the Friedens Church on Tod Street and the Martin Luther Church on West Madison Avenue. 


The city of Cleveland has the honor to count the former long-term president of the Missouri Synod as one of its most outstanding citizens, the Rev. Heinrich Christian Schwan.  He has been resident here for 51 years.  He was born on April 5, 1819 in Herneburg in Hanover, the oldest of six children of Pastor G.H. Schwan.  President Schwan enjoyed his first education in the local village school.  His father instructed him in Latin and Greek.  After confirmation, he attended the Gymnasium in Stade and passed his final examination with honors.  In November, 1837, he entered the University of Gottingen, and the next year went to Jena.  In July, 1842, he received permission to preach and was ordained on September 13, 1843.  He then went as a missionary to Brazil, where he led a congregation for six year.  Here in 1849 he married Emma Blum.  One year later, on the request of his uncle, Pastor Wyneken, he came to the United States where he held his first position as a pastor in New Bielefeld, now  Black Jack, in Missouri.  Nine months later, in April 1851, he was called to Zion Church in Cleveland.  For 30 years he worked at the Zion Church as minister, and for 25 years as president of the Cleveland district.  In 1881, he was elected as successor to Dr. Walther of St. Louis, the founder of the Missouri Synod, as president.  He held this office for 18 years until three years ago.  Due to his great age he passed the burden to younger shoulders.  On Oct. 29, 1893, Dr. Schwan celebrated his golden jubilee as Lutheran cleric.  The old, venerable man, whose numerous family all reside in Cleveland, enjoys singular intellectual and physical strength despite his 83 years.  The pastor of St. Paul’s, Paul Schwan, is the son of Dr. Schwan.  The current president of the synod is Professor F. Pieper of Concordia College in St. Louis.


1.  Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church – Founded 1843 - Erie and Bolivar, later Prospect at E. 30th

 (The Mother Congregation)

1843-1844 – David Schuh

1845-1851 – August Schmidt

1851-1881 – Heinrich C. Schwan

1881-1913 – Carl Zorn

1918-1921 – Theo Schurdel

1924 – Armin Schroeder

1928 – Theo Schurdel


The first German Lutherans of Cleveland joined the congregation of the Little Boat of Jesus.  Since this congregation did not profess the Lutheran faith, they decided to depart once they felt strong enough.  In April, 1843, they established the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church.  The young congregation had 45 communicants.  The first pastor was David Schuh, who served for a year.  Services were held in the third story of the old Miller Block.  This building still stands on the north side of Superior Street, between Seneca and Bank Streets.  Pastor Schuh preached every 14 days, and on the Sunday between the service was held by L. Richter.  Pastor Schuh resigned in 1844 and Pastor August Schmidt was called at the start of 1845.   He held the office until 1851.  The hall on Superior Street was too small and the congregation bought a lot at the corner of Hamilton Street and Division Alley on which they built a church and parsonage.  The consecration took place on January 20, 1848.  At first the narthex of the church served as a school, but later a school was built.  Pastor Schmidt resigned and was replaced by Dr. H.C. Schwan who took up his office in 1851.  In 1856 the church was moved to the corner of Erie and Bolivar Street.  Since the church was too small, the congregation built in 1866 the present large church on Erie and Bolivar.  Mr. J. Melcher, 848 Prospect Street, was already chairman of the congregation, a position which he had held from 1856 to the present day.  A large school building was built behind the church on Bolivar Street.


The Zion Church is the Lutheran mother congregation of this city.  Trinity Church on the West Side as well as the Lutheran churches in Euclid and Independence owe their existence to it.  St. John’s on Cable Street branched off in 1878 and in 1879 St. Louis Church on Willson Avenue, and in 1883 St. Peter’s, at the corner of Quincy and Craw Avenue.  That was the limit of its function as a mother, but the daughter churches have since developed their own daughters. 


Pastor Dr. Schwan was elected president of the entire Missouri Synod in 1881.  He gave up his ministry at Zion, which he held for 30 years and now lives as the oldest German pastor of this city on Dibble Avenue.  Dr. Schwan’s successor was the present pastor, Carl M. Zorn.  This congregation now numbers over 1300 members.  The congregation has obtained a new lot on Prospect Street, corner of Sterling, on which it built a great new school last year, and this year a grand church with a parsonage. 


2.  Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church – Jersey Street between Lorain and Chatham

1853-1864 – J.C.W. Lindemann

1864-1876 – F.C. D. Wyneken

1876-1910  – J.H. Niemann

1910-1932 – Franz Pieper

1933-1949 – Martin Sommerfeld

1949-1957 – Richard Meibohm

1958-1973 – Arthur Ziegler


Trinity Church may look with pride on its nearly half-century of prosperous existence.  Its beginnings were small and unpromising.  Great sacrifices had to be made and development was slow.  But its growth was steady, and today the congregation counts 1250 souls, has a splendid church, a nice parsonage, and a teacher’s home.  All these buildings stand together on one open place on Jersey Street between Lorain and Chatham Street.  The property is free of debt.  It was the members, who include many respected merchants and citizens on the West Side, who achieved this, as well as their respected minister, Pastor J.H. Niemann.


Until 1853 the few Lutherans on the West Side belong to Zion Church, which then stood on York Street (now Hamilton).  In that year the Lutherans of the West Side, still called Ohio City in those days, decided to build a little church and school.  The building of wood is still on Chatham Street, being used as a home.  Continued grown caused them in 1873 to build a new church.  This, the present church, cost $32,000.  The roomy school stands behind the church with four rooms.  Under the care of experienced teachers, the school has a high reputation. 


Several other congregations have emerged from Trinity.  In 1859 the Lutheran congregation in North Dover branched off; in 1880 it was Emmanuel Church on Scranton Avenue; in 1889 it was Christ Church on Selden Avenue, and in 1885 St. Luke’s on Florence Street.  The mother church has always helped with the purchase of the necessary lots for these congregations and with construction of the churches.  Trinity also owns a cemetery of 30 acres on Pearl Street and a 10 acre lot in West Dover for holding missionary and school festivities.


The first minister of the congregation was J.C.W. Lindemann, who headed the congregation from 1853 to 1864.  He was followed by F.C.D. Wyneken, who died in 1876.  His successor was the present minister, J.H. Niemann.  He was born in Hanover, spending his youth in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Since 1880, Pastor Niemann has held the office of district president, and oversees the congregations belonging to the Missouri Synod in Ohio and Indiana.


3.  Emmanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church – Scranton and Seymour

1880-1928  – Rev. Weseloh


Emmanuel Church is a daughter of Trinity, from which it branched off in 1880.  Since the 1860s and 1870s there had been many German families in the area known as Brooklyn and the Heights, a strong percentage of them Lutherans.  Most of these joined what was then the only Lutheran church on the West Side, Trinity.  Others preferred to attend another evangelical church in the area, since the way to Trinity was too far.  In order to help this situation, a district school was opened in the area of the Emmanuel church as early as 1871.  In 1876, the present minister of the church, H. Weseloh, was named assistant minister of Trinity in this school district, where he took over the classes and preached on Wednesday evening and Sunday in the schoolhouse.  In 1880 the need for an autonomous congregation made itself felt to such a degree that the organization could not be delayed.  At once 350 communicants joined.  With the help of the mother congregation, the young Emmanuel congregation bought a large lot at the corner of Scranton and Seymour, on which they built a large church.  It was consecrated ion July 18, 1880.  At the same time a two-story parish school was built behind, where 210 children received instruction.  In 1881 Teacher C. Stumme was called and in 1883 Mr. M. Gatsch.  The congregation grew so rapidly, that by 1884 it had 1,385 adult members.  Since the church had grown too small, the St. Matthew Church was branched off in 1885.  It came into existence with 500 members and built its church on Meyer Avenue.  In 1895 the congregation installed balconies in the church.  The congregation has 2,106 souls, 1,300 communicants, and 440 children in the five-class school.  Pastor Weseloh, who was born about 46 years ago in Hanover, came to America as a 15-year-old boy.


4.  St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church – Cable near Broadway

1878-1885 – August Dankworth

1885 – 1897 – Charles Kretzmann

1897-1927  – John H. Wefel

1904-1909 – Otto Burkenn

1925-1926 – C. Ahlbrand

1926-1933 – Fred Heidbrink

1935-1947 – Henry Tiemann

1952-1963 – N.W. Kline

1964 -???? – Leo Kostizer


St. John’s Church is a daughter of Zion Church.  It was organized in 1878 with about 15 families.  It built a little church on Bessemer Avenue where school was also held.  It called Pastor August Dankworth to be its minister.  After him, the pastor was C. Kretzmann, who served for 12 years.  In autumn, 1897, the present pastor, J.H. Wesel, entered office.  Years ago the church on Bessemer was too small and a lot was obtained on Cable Street near Broadway.  The cornerstone was laid on July 14, 1901. 


5.  Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church – Selden and Robert Streets, later W. 43rd and Robert

1889-1897 – Harry Eckhardt

1897-1928 – Frederick Keller


Among the prosperous daughter congregations of Trinity on Jersey Street, one may add Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church on the “Isle of Cuba”.  Its church is found on Selden Avenue and Robert Street.  It was founded in the summer of 1889 and the present property was purchased for $4,000.  The school is housed on the lower floor.  On September 8, 1889 the church called pastor, H. Eckhardt, and opened the school with 40 children.  In 1894 the congregation built the second schoolhouse.  Pastor Eckhardt headed the congregation for eight years.  His successor was Pastor F. Keller, who is now in his fifth year of office.  A new church is to be built at the corner of Selden Avenue and Robert Street.


6.  St. Luke’s Evangelical Lutheran Church – Conover near Willard

1895 – Niemann

1895-1928 – Herman Sauer


The newest Lutheran congregation in Cleveland is St. Luke’s out on the West End, whose handsome church is located on Conover near Willard Street.  It branched off of Trinity in summer, 1895.  Several years earlier Trinity had purchased two lots on Lawn Street, building a school there so that the children in the West would not have to go all the way to Jersey Street.  When the congregation was founded in July, 1895, with 75 members by Pastor Niemann, the members agreed that this property would not suffice.  It was sold and a better-located place on Conover was obtained for $5,000.  The old schoolhouse was transported there and placed on the rear of the property.  Construction of the church then began.  It was consecrated on January 5, 1896.  The constitution was adopted on November 14, 1895 and a month later Pastor H. Sauer arrived.  Today this church has 475 members.  Two additional rooms have been built for the schoolhouse, which now has 115 children attending, receiving good instruction from the teachers W. Horst and Brakesuehler.  Pastor Sauer was born in Mobile, Alabama, the son of a German preacher.  His father then took a call in Fort Wayne, which was where Sauer attended parish school and then College.  After graduating, he studied theology at Concordia College in St. Louis.


7.  St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church – Meyer Ave. between Pearl and Scranton

1884-1908 – Johann J. Walker


St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church branched off of Emmanuel Church in 1884, and since January 1, 1885 it has existed as a autonomous congregation.  It obtained its first property on Meyer Avenue, between Pearl Street and Scranton Avenue.  It erected a two-story building, the first floor used for schooling and the second for services.  In autumn, 1884, the congregation and school moved into this building.  The first minister was Johann J. Walker who entered office in June, 1885 and still serves the same office.  In 1900, the congregation decided to built a new church on the lot already obtained at the corner of Meyer and Scranton Avenues.  The new church was consecrated on September 22, 1901.  St. Matthew’s congregation currently numbers about 1,350 souls.


8.  St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church – Willson and Spencer, later E. 55th at Spencer

1873-1924 – Paul Schwan

1928 – Edward Friedrich


The forerunner of St. Paul’s, whose handsome church is located on the corner of Willson Avenue and Spencer Street, is the mission extablished by Pastor Paul F.G. Schwan as a branch of the Zion Church in 1873 on Superior and Sherwood.  At first there was a little school at Superior and Sherwood, wich was given over on October 10, 1873 to a double function as a school and church.  The mission continued until March 7, 1880 when St. Paul’s was founded with 25 families.  In the same year, a wooden church was erected.  In 1890 it bought a lot on Willson Avenue and Spencer Street for $6,000 and on July 5, 1895 the construction of a new church was begun.  The cornerstone was laid on August 4, 1895.  The congregation now numbers 2000 souls, 1426 communicants, and 181 men entitled to vote.  The minister is Mr. Paul F.H. Schwan.  He was born on January 1, 1851 in Black Jack, near St. Louis, as the eldest of 13 children of Pastor Dr. H.C. Schwan and his wife Emma nee Blum.  After attending the Lutheran parish school and the public free school, and receiving an advanced education in Latin from his father, he went at the age of 14 to the Lutheran Gymnasium in Fort Wayne.  In 1870 he entered the theological seminary in St. Louis.  He passed examination in June, 1873 and was ordained the same month as assistant minister for the eastern district of Zion Church, which his father then oversaw.  In 1880 he organized St. Paul’s, which has him largely to thank for its growth and success.


9.  St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church – Quincy and Craw originally and then located at East Madison and Sherman Street, and then 2424 E. 79th

1883-1887 – M.A. Treff

1887-1893 – John H. Wefel

1893-1897 – Ernst Jungel

1897-1908 – Friedrich Westerkamp

1913-1921 – George Getsch

1924 – Julius Nickel


It was on May 6, 1883 when 18 members of the Zion Church, corner of Erie and Bolivar Streets, living east of Willson Avenue between Euclid and Kinsman gathered and considered establishing a congregation in the area.  They organized themselves as St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Unaltered Augustana in Cleveland, Ohio, East Side.  They purchased a lot at the corner of Quincy Street and Craw Avenue on which they built a two-story building.  They called Mr. M.A. Treff as pastor.  He served for four years and resigned.  The next pastor was J.H. Wesel who remained until 1893.  The next pastor was Mr. Ernst Jungel who served until autumn 1897.  His successor was the current minister, Pastor Fr. Westerkamp.  The congregation purchased a lot at the corner of East Madison Avenue and Sherman Street.  The construction of a new church and school has begun there.  The congregation currently numbers 950 souls, 530 communicants, 100 voting members and had 160 pupils in the school. 


10.  South Euclid Evangelical Lutheran Church






About 50 years ago Dr. Schwan began to preach to some German families in South Euclid, about 9 miles from Public Square.  In 1853 a congregation was organized, ministered to over the years by Pastors Kuhn, Husmann, and Ernst.  The current minister, H. Schesselmann, took over in 1893.  About 85 families belong to this congregation.


11.  St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Newburg

1854-1877 – Karl Heinrich Sallmann

1877-1887 Otto Kolbe

1887-1895 – Phillip Wambsganss

1895 – Friedrich C. Rathert


In Newburg there is a German Evangelical Lutheran congregation known by the name of St. John’s, which was founded in 1854.  Until 1877 Pastor Karl Heinr. Sallmann headed it, then came Pastor Otto Kolbe for 10 years, then from 1887 to 1895 Pastor Philipp Wambsganss, and since 1895 Pastor Fr. C. Rathert.  Pastor Sallmann has died, Pastor Kolbe lives in Chicago, and Pastor Wambsganss lives in Fort Wayne.  A parish school is tied to the church attended by 75 children.


12.  Friedens Evangelical Lutheran Church – located at Tod and Waterman, later E. 65th and Waterman

1890-1894 – Adolph Ebert

1894-1902 – John Dingelday

1906-1908 – Charles Loehr

1913 – S.W. Mantz


Friedens Evangelical Lutheran Church was founded in 1890 and consisted then of 40 families.  It bought a lot at the corner of Tod and Waterman Street.  A two-story building was put up.  The construction of a new church is supposed to begin as son as the congregation feels strong enough.  The present building is then supposed to be used entirely as a school.  It belongs to the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Ohio and Other States.  The first pastor was A. Ebert.  He was called away in 1894 and Pastor J. Dingeldey came to this position and has served it ever since. 




1.  First Evangelical Reformed Church – first located on Tracy Street then at Penn and Carroll, then W. 32nd and Carroll

1848-1860 – Friedrich G. Kaufholz

1860-1870 – H.F. Rutenik

1870-1882 – F. Forwick

1882-1902 – J.H. Rontgen

1906 – William Leich

1913 – John Belser

1918 – Conrad Hoffmann

1921-1924 – John Sommerlatte


Around 1848 there lived in Cleveland a pious man who had immigrated from Hanover, a mechanic by the name of Friedrich G. Kaufholz, who along with his family belonged to the sect of the Herrenhuter.  The machinist shop in which he worked with others was his mission.  In the evening after work he gathered his fellow workers and held an hour of prayer.  Kaufholz built with his own money a chapel on Tracy Street, then called Grove Street, the first church on the West Side.  On September 18, 1848 the chapel was consecrated.  Since the West Side was even then thickly settled with Germans, the congregation grew rapidly.  Kaufholz recognized that he had to give the children a Christian education if the families were to remain in the congregation.  He built a school and installed a teacher.  Although he was not an ordained preacher, Kaufholz exercised the office of a minister with more care than anyone could ask.  As long as he headed the congregation, it did not belong to any ecclesiastical combination.  It called itself the Congregation of Brethren and pursued roughly the same goals as the Herrenhuter.


After the congregation existed for 10 years, it was incorporated on September 22, 1858 under the name of the Evangelical Brethren Congregation, purchasing from Kaufholz the chapel and lot for $800.  The next year the congregation stood mourning at the bier of its founder.


In early 1859 Pastor Dr. H.F. Ruetenik came to Cleveland on his missionary journey.  As the editor of the “Evangelist”, he was somewhat familiar with the local circumstances, and the members knew him by name.  They asked him to remain with them through Holy Week and Easter and preach.  He agreed and said he would remain for six months in order to bring them closer to the Reformed Church.  After the passage of half a year the church council decided not to recommend the election of Dr. Ruetenik, since he was stipulating that the congregation had to join the Reformed Church if they were to have him as minister.  When he gave his farewell sermon the congregation learned of the decision of the church council, the council changed its mind and asked him to stay.  He agreed, and in October, 1860, the reception of the membership of 50 into the Reformed Church was approved.  Dr. Ruetenik took up his office on January 7, 1861.  Thus arose the first Evangelical Reformed congregation.


Several members were not satisfied with this and left, but they soon made their terms with reality and returned.  The congregation bought a lot at Penn and Carrill Street for $6,000.  The chapel was moved there.  There was a growth spurt and a new church was built.  The cornerstone was laid in July, 1863, and the new church was consecrated the following November.  The old church was turned into a teacher’s house.  During a journey by Dr. Ruetenik to Germany, the congregation decided to buy a house on Fulton Street as a parsonage.  Dr. Ruetenik returned and moved into the house and remained there until his resignation in 1870.  During his service, the foundation was laid for Calvin College, the publishing house, and the Second and Third Reformed churches.


After Pastor Ruetenik’s departure, the congregation called Pastor F. Forwick (died April 16, 1893), who took office in November, 1870.  He founded the Fourth and Fifth Churches. 


When German instruction was introduced into Public Schools, attendance at parish schools declined.  In 1874 it was decided to allow the school to close.  Pastor Forwick resigned his position on September 4, 1882 in order to follow a call to Vermilion, Ohio.  On November 5, 1882, Pastor Dr. J.H. Roentgen was elected his successor and he took up office on January 8, 1883, which he kept until May 1 of this year.  Since Dr. Roentgen’s departure the congregation is led by Pastor F.W. Leich.


2.  Second Evangelical Reformed Church – originally on Henry Street then at Woodland at Putnam, then Woodland at E. 38th

1864-1872 – Elias Bentzing

1873-1886 – Johann Christoph Young

1886-1888 – Chr. Schopfle

1888-1906 – Johann Heinrich Stepler

1913 – John Van Zomeren

1918 – Philip Vollmer

1924 – Arthur Bisheim

1928 – George Meischner


The Second German Evangelical Reformed Church was organized on April 18, 1864.  Their first minister was Elias Bentzing, who served them until 1872.  They guilt their first church in Henry Street.  The congregation sold this property to a Roman Catholic congregation in April, 1893.  In 1873, Pastor Joh. Christoph Jung entered the service of the congregation.  He served until his death in 1886.  Pastor Chr. Schoepfle was his successor and he remained until August, 1888.  The next month, Mr. Joh. Heinrich Stepler of Lima, took office in November of 1888.  It became clear that they needed to move further east to follow the movement of the membership.  In November, 1891, a lot was obtained at the corner of Woodland and Putnam Street and the church was built in 1893. 


3.  Third Evangelical Reformed Church – Aaron between Payne and Superior

1868-1871 – Nathaniel Rutenik

1872-1874 - P. Schulke

1877-1883 – Charles G. Zipf

1887-1894 - Wm. Friebolin

1895-1928 – Henry Schmidt


The Third Evangelical Reformed Church stands on Aaron Street between Payne Avenue and Superior Street.  The first stimulus to the foundation of a reformed congregation in this part of the city came from Dr. H.J. Ruetenik, then pastor of the First Reformed Church on Penn Street in early 1868.  Five families established the church on Aaron Street.  The first minister was Pastor Nathaniel Ruetenik.  After him came Pastors P. Schulte, C.G. Zipf, and Wm. Friebolin.  Under Pastor Zipf the present church was built.  During Pastor Friebolin’s pastorate, the members of his church formed the Fourth Reformed Church.  The present minister, Henry Schmidt, has served since June 3, 1895. 


4.  Fourth Evangelical Reformed Church – Louis Street

1872-1882 – Heinrich Trautmann

1882-1888 N. Wiers

1888-1895 – John F. Winter

1895-1898 – Martin Vitz

1898-1902 - E.W. Henschen

1906-1908 – Louis Benner

1913-1918 – Adolph Krampe

1924-1928 – Edward Kielsmeier


The Fourth Reformed Church is a daughter congregation of the “First”.  On December 10, 1872 about 15 members of the First living on the South Side of the city, organized the “Fourth” and called Heinrich Trautmann.  He served until autumn, 1881.  The congregation then bought the parcels at 40 and 46 Louis Street and erected a church which was consecrated the following August.  Pastor Trautmann later returned to Cleveland as an emeritus and remained tied to this congregation until he died in 1898 at the age of 79.  After him, Pastor N. Wiers served from 1881 to 1888.  Under his time an addition of 30 feet for Sunday School purposes was added to the church.  The Pastor J. Winter took over the pastorate.  He remained from 1888 to 1895.  Under his leadership they built a new parsonage.  After him Pastor M. Bitz was called as minister.  He headed the congregation from November 1895 to January 1, 1898.  In January, 1898, the current minister, E.W. Henschen, took over.  Currently it has about 365 confirmed members or a total of 650 souls.


5.  Fifth Evangelical Reformed Church – Hague and Higgins, later Hague and W. 67th

1875 – C.H. Gundlach

1876 – Weiss

1877-1883 – Wilhelm Braun

1883-1884 – Krieger

1884-1886 – Henry Trautmann

1886-1898 – W. Reuter

1898-1906 – Wm. Friebolin

1913 – Gustave Von Grueninger

1918 – Carl Russom

1921-1928 – William Klein


In early 1875 Pastor F. Forwick, then the preacher of the First Reformed Church on Penn Street, founded a missionary Sunday School in the part of the city known as “The Island of Cuba.”  First results were not very promising, and so there was a decision in early 1876 for a German Reformed Church on Higgins Street.  At his own risk, Pastor Forwick bought a lot, collected money and built the church which now stands alongside the new church and is joined to it by sliding doors.  This old church cost $800.  A congregation was organized with a number of families, taking the name of Fifth Evangelical Reformed Church.  Pastor C.H. Gundlach, was called as minister.  He soon had to give up his office because of health.  In 1876, Pastor Weiss took up the position but he only lasted until the following February.  Pastor Wilhelm Braun took over as third minister in August, 1877 and served until 1883.  The little church was often too small, so in 1879 the lot at the corner of Hague and Higgins Street was purchased, the church moved there and a parsonage constructed.  Pastor Krieger then served the congregation from 1883 to 1884.  Pastor Trautmann leapt into the breach and served the congregation for free until 1886.  This helped so much that the people won back their trust and courage and called Pastor W. Reuter, who served until 1895.  Under Pastor Reuter, the congregation declared itself autonomous and paid the preacher a salary of $500 in his first years.  Pastor Wm. Friebolin, the current preacher, took up his position on October 1, 1898.  The church was moved to Hague Street.  In 1901 plans to spend about $5000 for a new church were considered and approved.  Construction began last October. 


6.  Sixth Evangelical Reformed Church – Smith at Broadway and then 4843 Wendell


1883-1887 – August Schade

1891-1898 – Ernst Fuenfstueck

1902 – Albert Lohmann

1906-1913 – Frank Aigner

1918 – Fred Hoffman

1921 – Henry Clausing


The Sixth Reformed Church under Pastor Lohmann enjoys general respect among the nine sister congregations of the city.  In 1877, Bernh. Sturm, elder of the Second Congregation, helped the young mission into existence.  After a period of time Pastor O. Accola was elected preacher.  As he wavered between accepting, a “free” preacher came in on the same day.  Pastor Schade of Bucyrus was telegraphed requesting a guest sermon, and he preached to a number of person in a hall.  The people were unhappy that the church council had permitted anyone to the pulpit who was not a minister in the Reformed Synod.  Soon thereafter Pastor Schade was formally called and hastened to move.  But the unsatisfied were not to be won back.  They preferred to remain Lutheran.  He began anew with the work and soon the numbers improved through new arrivals from the old homeland, from Mecklenburg and Schwerin.  The unanimous call came to Schade from Baltimore.  The position was filled by the election of Pastor Fuenfstueck.  He led the congregation for eleven years. 


7.  Seventh Evangelical Reformed Church – Willcut Avenue at Woodland, then E. 63rd at Woodland

1882-1883 – Braun

1883 – 1900 – William Dreher

1900-1902 – John Schweickhardt

1906-1921 – J.H. Roentgen


On the afternoon of March 12, 1882, six German families gathered in what was Goldsmith’s Hall on Woodland Avenue for the purpose of founding a seventh German Evangelic Reformed Church.  Pastor Braun, who was then minister of the local Fifth Reformed Church, temporarily took over.  He organized it on June 1, 1882.  From October of 1882 to October 1883, the congregation held its services in the Temperence Hall in Rock’s Block, corner of Kinsman Street and Woodland Avenue.  After the departure of Pastor Braun, his successor was Pastor Krueger, who served from February 4 to July 1.  On July 8, 1883, Pastor Dreher took over.  Under him, the church moved in the fall to its own church, at 22 Willcut Avenue.  This church was consecrated on October 7, 1883.  Pastor Dreher ended his activities here on February 11, 900.  Pastor J. Schweickhardt took over on February 18, 1900 and is the present minister.


8.  Eighth Evangelical Reformed Church – Willowdale

1886-1908 – H.J. Rutenik

1913-1921 – Jesse String

1924-1928 – Harry Rohrbaugh


The Eighth Reformed Church came into being under entirely special circumstances and has developed in a peculiar manner.  In 1886, students of Calvin College established a Sunday School in Brooklyn Village.  The teacher of the institution encouraged them.  The Sunday School grew, but the English congregation on Archwood Street where they were located wanted to be rid of the German Sunday School.  Money was collected to buy a lot on Willowdale (then Terrace) Street near Pearl Street and a chapel was built on it.  Services began on the first Sunday of Advent, 1888.  This congregation was organized in May, 1889 and named itself the Eighth Reformed Church and elected Dr. H.J. Ruetenik the leader.  He holds that office today.  Dr. Ruetenik is the oldest active German cleric in Cleveland and one of our oldest pioneers.  He was driven from his old homeland by the revolutions of 1848.  He was born in 1826 in the province of Brandenburg.


9.  Ninth Evangelical Reformed Church – Lockyear and Hodge

1889 – Wm. Friebolin

1890-1893 – Friedrich Forwick

1893-1924 – August J. Franz


The Ninth Evangelical Reformed Church is one of the youngest congregations in the city and the youngest among the Reformed.  It is a daughter of the Third Church on Aaron Street.  A number of families of that congregation moved further east from 1885 – 1889.  The minister of the Third Church at the time, Pastor W. Friebolin, decided to gather these families into a new congregation.  On May 19, 1889, the organization took place in the little chapel prepared by him at the corner of Becker and Lockyear Avenue.  In the first and second year of its existence the new congregation remained in this chapel, which was leased by Pastor Friebolin and in which divine service was held by Pastor Friebolin and seven Reformed clerics and a large crowd on June 9, 1889.  Soon people came to the view that this ministry could not last, and that it limited the expansion of the congregation.  So the church was placed under the control of German missionary authorities.  In agreement with the congregation, at the end of 1889 they called Pastor Friedrich Forwick of Vermilion, as minister of the community.  Pastor Forwick gave his first sermon on New Year’s Day 1890.  The officers bought a lot at the corner of Lockyear and Hedge Street where the present church stands.  Work was begun on a new church in 1890.  The years of 1891 to 1893 were years of trouble for the young congregation.  Demands for expenditures came from all quarters.  In early 1893 the congregation was dealt a hard blow when Pastor Forwick died on April 16 after a brief illness.  The congregation remained orphaned until the following autumn.  Then, Pastor A.J. Franz was called from Waukegan, Illinois and held his first service on September 10, 1893.  Pastor Franz was born in Hessia-Nassau and came to America in his early years.  On June 10, 1894, this congregation declared itself autonomous.  After the death of the widow of Pastor Forwick (1895) the congregation decided to obtain her property located next to the church.  Pastor Franz managed in the autumn of 1896 to obtain a barn nearby on Becker Street which had a great deal of wood.  The young men endeavored to rip it down and sort out the wood, and within two months the congregation was in possession of a schoolhouse without any further effort.  Funds are currently being collected to construct a more substantial, great church.




In 1876, the Erie Conference of the Evangelical Community was born.  It is significant that the Erie Conference was specifically formed as A German conference.  When the Pittsburgh and Ohio Conferences, from whose territory the Erie Conference was taken, began to become predominantly English, the representatives of the Community to whom the original goal of “preaching the gospel to the Germans in America” had not yet been forgotten, posed the question, “How are German congregations to be provided with preachers, and how is the large German population to be provided with the gospel and supported if everything in the Conference become English?”  They sought the answer to this question in the General Conference held in Philadelphia in 1875 by founding a German conference which would receive the name of Erie Conference.  It was decided that the Erie Conference would hold its first meeting in the Heights Church in Cleveland on March 3, 1876. 


1.  Emmanuel Evangelical Church – Jennings Avenue at Starkweather

1863 – L. Scheuermann

J.K. Pontius

G. Hasenpflug

1871-1874 - G.F. Spreng

1877-1879 – Matthew Guhl

1883 - J.J. Lang

1887 – J.D. Seip

J.G. Theuer

G. Ott

C.L. Witt

1891 - Frederick Mueller

1894 – Charles F. Schoepflin

1898 – Jacob Lang

1902 - J.E. Mueller

1906 - Henry Wiegand

1908 – F. Mueller

1913 – Martin Neumeister

1921 – G.S. Gratz

1924 – Walter Yaecker

1928 – W.H. Schuster


The first beginnings of the Heights Emmanuel, now Jennings Avenue Church reach back to the year 1863.  From 1863 to 1865 there arose a class, and during the summers Brother L. Scheuermann preached under the trees on the same spot where the church now stands.  In 1865 this part of the city was received as a mission by the Ohio Conference, overseen by Brother L. Scheuermann together with the Salem Church, and he raised a little church with a membership of 46.  Some of the first officers were:  J. Marquardt, C. Striegel, J. Herr, H. Brandt, J. Buck, B. Eggert, F. and C. Buck.  In 1873 the mission was changed into a station with 26 members under the oversight of Brother J.D. Seip, who built the current church.  In 1876 the Erie Conference was organized in this church, and in 1901 during its 26th session it celebrated its silver jubilee in the same place.  Since its origin the following brothers have served there:  L. Scheuermann, J.K. Pontius, G. Hasenpflug, G.F. Spreng, J.D. Seip (twice), J.G. Theuer, M. Guhl, J.J. Lang (twice), G. Ott, C.L. Witt, F. Mueller, C.F. Schopflin, J.E. Mueller and currently F. Wiegand.


2.  Salem Evangelical Church – on Linden St., later 2539 E. 33rd  founded 1841


1871-1872 – C.G. Koch

1874 – J.G. Theuer

1877-1879 – A. Bornheimer

1883 – George Hasenpflug

1887 – J.J. Lang

1891 – G. Gehr

1894 – Andrew Woerner

1898 – J.E. Moeller

1902 – John Ziegler

1906 – John Hetche

1908 – Henry Wiegand

1913 – Gottlieb Gaehr

1918-1921 - J.H. Weigand


The Salem Church, whose building is currently on Linden Street is the mother congregation of the Community in Cleveland.  The first members, the Schnuerer family, came to Cleveland in 1840.  From then, there was preaching here until the city was designated a mission early 1841, and in summer a little church had been built.  In 1855 a larger church had to be built on Erie Street.  But in 1890 this church was sold and a new one built the next year on Linden Street.


3.  Herald Street Church


In autumn, 1872, Bishop W. Horn, then editor of the “Evangelisches Magazin” together with several other preachers, went to the eastern portion of Cleveland to seek a place to preach.  In 1873 this part of the city was designated a mission, and a small church was built on Brown Street.  In 1882 the current church was built on Herald Street.  The current preacher, Georg Goetz, was born on July 9, 1850 in Buffalo.


4.  West Brooklyn Mission Church later known as Tabor Church, W. 41st at Daisy – founded 1889


1894 – George Walz

1898 – Theophil Gaehr

1902 – John D. Seip

1906-1908 – John Ziegler

1913 – Harry Fuessner

1918 – J.G. Ziegler

1921 – Ludwig Mayer

1924 – Henry Fuessner

1928 – William Bennett


This church received the name of Tabor Church at the time of its consecration.  The beginnings of this mission were in 1889.  In 1890 a church was built.  Brother F. Mueller and the Jennings Avenue Church made great efforts for success, and at the next conference he could report that the church was free of debt.  The current preacher is J.M. Herter.


5.  Superior Street Church – founded 1854 – previously called Aaron Street Church, at Superior and E. 36th


1871 – H.C. Schwan

1872 – J.D. Seip

1874 – Frederick Heinrich

1877-1879 – C. Hammer

1883 – Herman Cordes

1887 – George Ott

1891 – Valentine Braun

1894 – Christian Walz

1898 – Frederick Mueller

1902 – William Lingelbach

1906-1908 – Ernest Yaecker

1913 – J.E. Moeller

1921-1924 – George Miller

1928 – Ludwig Mayer


This church was earlier called the Aaron Street Church.  The beginnings of it go back to 1854.  In 1856 this area was accepted as a mission and Brother Joh. Walz was the first missionary.  The first church was built in 1872 under J.D. Seip, and the present church was built in 1899 under Fr. Mueller.


6.  Woolsey Street Church – founded 1893 – located Woolsey at Korman and later E. 79th at Korman


W. Lingelbach

M. Koffin

J.C. Ludwig

1894 - C.F. Negele

1898-1902 - Leonard Scheuermann

1906 – August Dornheim

1908 – Gottlieb Gaehr

1913 – George Goetz


In 1893 the Woolsey Street mission was begun under W. Lingelbach and C.A. Thomas.  Since those days the following preachers have served:  M. Koffin, J.C. Ludwig, C.F. Negele, and J.M. Herter.  The founder and current preacher of the congregation is L. Scheuermann, who worked there for four years at the outset and brought the membership up to 35.


7.  Tod and Broadway Church


1886 – John Honecker


1888 – E.W. Jacker

L. Scheuermann

C.F. Schopflin

G. Gahr

M. Koffin

F. Handke

J. Wahl

G. Berstecher

Carl Wolgemuth


The Tod Street and Broadway Mission was begun in 1886.  Brother Joh. Honecker served it, then Father Spies with the aid of C.A. Thomas.  In the same year a church was also built.  In 1888 Brother E.W. Jaecker served and after him L. Scheuermann, then C.F. Schoepflin, G. Gaehr, M. Koffin, and F. Handke, then J. Wahl for a month.  Brother G. Berstecher then took over until he was replaced with Carl Wolgemuth.  The latter was born on March 23, 1853 in Ballbronn, district Wasselnheim in Alsace.  He came to America in 1872.


8.  Ebenezer Church – Gordon at Sargent, later 2195 W. 65th – founded 1882


1894 - Leonard Scheuermann

Jacob Honecker

J.C. Meckel

F.B. Snyder

J.G. Theurer

Val. Braun

G. Berstecher

G. Schenk

J. Finkbeiner

George Gahr


In 1882 the Erie Conference declared a “West Side Mission.”  The beginnings were made by L. Scheuermann.  In July 1883, a lot was purchased on Swift Street, an old building was moved ther and dedicated as the Ebenezer Church.  During the service of J.G. Theuer, the current property at the corner of Gordon Avenue and Sargent Street was obtained.  During the ministry of Val. Braun the new church was built.  Until now the following preachers have served:  L. Scheuermann (twice), Jacob Honecker, T.C. Meckel (twice), B.F. Snyder, J.G. Theurer, Val. Braun, G. Berstecher, G. Schenk, J. Finkbeiner and currently Georg Gaehr.




Four German Congregations belong to the United Brethren In Christ sect.  This sect shares much with the Methodists.  United Brethren in Christ was called into being a hundred years ago in this country.  Its founder was a German who organized the first congregation in Baltimore. 


1.  First United Brethren Church - This church first began in 1854 at York and Bridge Streets.  In 1860 it relocated to Lorain near Randall and in 1868 it finally moved to Orchard and Peach.  The pastors were:


Julius Degmeier

C.F. Eckert

C. Streich

1871-1872 - Matthew Bussdicker

1874-1877 - August Krause

1879 - Jacob Ernst

1883 - John Sick

1883 - G. Fritz

1887 - Edward Lorenz

1891 - John Bremer

1894 - Justus Moeller

1898 - Caspar Streich

1902 - Heinrich Oelschlager

C. Baumbach


At the start of the 1850s the first movement got underway to establish a German U.B. congregation here, since various persons had settled here who had belonged to one in the east.  It was 1854 when the first German congregation of the U.B. in C. was born on the West Side.  It was organized with 20 members.  After the first congregation was founded in 1854, there was need for a church building, and so services were held in the English Brethren Church at the corner of York and Bridge Street, which had been built some years before.  The first minister was Julius Degmeier.  It soon received so many members that it was able to build a small church on Lorain Street near Randall Street.  This was in 1860 when C.F. Eckert held the pastorate.  After holding services there for eight years, the church was sold and a lot was obtained at the corner of Orchard and Peach Street.  In 1868, the congregation headed by Pastor C. Streich, built a new church.  From 1868 to the present, the following ministers have served the First U.B. congregation:  C. Streich, M. Bussdicker, A. Krause, J. Ernst, J. Sick, G. Fritz, E. Lorenz, J. Bremer, J. Moeller, C. Streich, H. Oelschlaeger and C. Baumbach.  The first U.B. congregation can be regarded as the mother of the two others since it passed members on to them. 


2.  Second United Brethren Church at Elton and Dudley, founded in 1878.  Pastors were:


1879 – August Krause

1879 – Jacob Scholler

C.J. Eckert

Edmund Lorenz

1883 - John Sick

1887 – John P. Mosshammer

1891 - A. Kopittke

1892 - G. Schmidt

1894-1898 – Henry J. Frank

1902 - John Dunzweiler


3.  Third United Brethren Church on Kinsman, later Kinsman at E. 70th, founded in 1886 by John Assel.


1887 – Caspar Streich

1891 – Benjamin Fritz

1894 – Jacob Ernst

1898-1902 – John Assel

1918 – August Schmidt

1928 – Louis Odon


4.  Fourth United Brethren Church on Rhodes Avenue at Hodgson, founded in 1894 by G. Strich.


1898 – John Floerke

1902 – Caspar Streten

1918 – Weber.




It was 1825, at the time when the construction of the Ohio Canal was begun, and the city numbered about 500, when the first Catholics, a number of Irish workers seeking employment with the canal, arrived here.  The next year the first priest arrived in Cleveland, Thomas Martin.  The foundation for the first Catholic church in our city was laid by Father John Dillon who was sent here in 1835.  He felt victim to a bilious fever which killed him on October 16, 1836 at the age of only 29.  In September 1837, the priest Patrick O’Dwyer was sent to Cleveland.  A few days after Father O’Dwyer’s arrival, on October 24, 1837, messrs. James S. Clarke, Richard Hilliard and Edmund Clark transferred through a land contract the building lots 218 and 219 in “Cleveland Centre” to the bishop of Cincinnati as trustee for the “Roman Catholic Society of Our Beloved Lady of the Lake” of Cleveland, with the condition that the society build an adequate frame structure for public divine services and afterwards regularly holds services there.  It was further stipulated that this property would remain the property of the said society as long as it was used for this purpose, or as long as this society owned property within “Cleveland Centre” and operated a church and held regular services in it.  Father O’Dwyer went to work right away to increase the building fund established by his predecessor and to undertake the construction of the church.  A few months later the rough construction was complete but the building could not be completed due to lack of funds.  In the meantime disputes had arisen within the congregation which were partly due to nationalism.  Father O’Dwyer was removed for that reason.  The church stood unfinished for months until Bishop Purcell came to Cleveland in September, 1839.  He managed to get the church to the point where a mass could be read there for the first time in October of 1839.  The consecration took place on June 7, 1840.  This church was named “The Church of Our Beloved Lady of the Lake”.


1.  St. Mary’s Church in the Flats (aka The Church of Our Beloved Lady of the Lake)

1840-1846 – Peter McLaughlin

1846-1848 – Mauritius Howard

1848 – Louis de Goesbriand

1853 – Johann Luhr


This church served all Catholics of the city of Cleveland until 1852.  In October, 1840, the priest Peter McLaughlin was named minister at St. Mary’s.  Since he understood German to some extent, he could meet the needs of his “mixed congregation”, which consisted largely of German immigrants.  With the intention of moving the church to the higher and better parts of the city, Father McLaughlin bought four lots from Thom. May at the corner of Superior and Erie Street, where the cathedral now stands.  Critics accused Father McLaughlin of buying land “out in the country”.  Erie Street was then the eastern limit of settled city.  Tired of harassment, Father McLaughlin asked his bishop to relieve him of his position in St. Mary’s.  His request was honored and he took his leave in February, 1846.  His successor was Father Mauritius Howard.  In January, 1848, the priest Louis deGoesbriand was named Father Howard’s successor.  From October 1847, to November 6, 1852, St. Mary’s in the Flats, the sole Catholic church in Cleveland, was the first cathedral of the diocese.  On the latter date the present cathedral at the corner of Superior and Erie was dedicated.  St. Mary’s was left to the German Catholics, who were served by Father N. Roupp until the arrival of Johann H. Luhr in February, 1853.  Father Luhr was the first residential parish priest of the Germans in Cleveland.  After the formation of St. Peter’s and Assumption of Mary churches, Monsignor Boff celebrated high mass on Three Kings, 1886, at the direction of the bishop in the decaying church, which had been used since 1879.  This was done to prevent repossession of the church by the descendents of the donors as a result of the contractual conditions which they had already raised.  Collections were taken to set the church in good order, but they did not amount to much.  The heirs of the donors turned to the courts.  There was a compromise in which the lot was to be sold and the proceeds split between the diocese and the heirs.  This church was torn down in September of 1888.


Spawning from St. Mary’s Church in the Flats were St. Peters and Assumption of Mary.


2.  St. Peter’s – located at Superior and Dodge for people on the east side

1853-1868 – Johann Luhr

1868-1896 – Francis Allen Westerholt

1896-1928 – Nicolaus Pfeil


Since St. Mary’s was inconvenient for many German catholics, who were scattered over the city, Father Luhr proposed that those living east of the river should have their own church.  A lot was purchased at Superior Street and Dodge Street.  In this way, St. Peter’s Church came into being.  The congregation is the oldest German Catholic church in the metropolis of the state of Ohio.  It was established on February 17, 1853.  On March 10, 1854, St. Peter’s obtained a large lot on Superior and Dodge Streets, on which they built a school and small church.  On August 17, 1857 the cornerstone to the present St. Peter’s Chruch was laid.  Pastor Luhr resigned in 1868.  He was succeeded by Pastor Francis Allen Westerholt.  He died on November 20, 1896 and Nicolaus Pfeil was his successor.  He came to Cleveland on June 6, 1897 from Avon, where he had led the Trinity Parish.  Properties were purchased on January 16, 1900 on Superior and Huntington Street for future expansion.  Pastor Pfeil is a child of Cleveland.  He is the son of our treasured fellow citizen, Lorenz Pfeil, who is now 82 years old.  He came from the Tauber Valley in Baden in 1847.  Pastor Pfeil was born in 1859, attending St. Mary’s school, then the St. Stephan’s parish school before studying in Canisius College of the Jesuits in Buffalo, which he graduated in 1878.  On July 1, 1883 he was consecrated a priest.


3.  Assumption of Mary or St. Mary’s – located at Jersey and Carroll, later W. 30th and Carroll


1854-1857 – J.J. Kraemer

1857-1861 – F.X. Obermueller

1862-1880 – Stephan Falk

1881-1887 – Michael Zoeller

1891-1894 – John Neustich

1894-1902 – Victor Scheppach

1906-1908 – Anthony Hartmann

1913-1921 – Rudolph Meschenmoser

1924-1928 – Augustine Hackert


Germans living west of the river became a congregation of their own in November, 1854, with the name of “Assumption of Mary” using the church in the Flats until the completion of their own church at the corner of Carroll and Jersey Streets in 1865.  This is the oldest German Catholic church on the West Side.  It was organized in 1854. The first minister was Rev. J.J. Kraemer.  In 1857 Rev. F.X. Obermueller became Kraemer’s successor and served the congregation until 1861.  Under Rev. Stephan Falk, who was pastor from 1862 to 1880, the congregation built a church of their own.  At the corner of Jersey and Carroll Street they obtained a lot and in September, 1863, construction began.  It was consecrated on September 13, 1865.  Father Michael Zollner was the next parish priest.  Father Ignatius Korling was chaplain and in 1881 a second assistant was given in the person of Heinrich Wochner.  In 1884 Father Wilhelm Pakisch was another assistant.  After Father Zollner left, Father Neusich was made his successor.  He held office until 1894.  The present minister is Victor Scheppach who entered office on June 15, 1894.


4.  St. Joseph’s – located at Woodland and Chapel


1862-1868 – H.D. Best

1868-1871 – Capistran Zwinge

1871-1885 – Kilian Schlosser

1885-1888 – Alardus Andrescheck

1888-1897 – Theodorus Arentz

1897-1900 – Benignus Schutz

1900-1906 – Bernard Wewer

1908-???? – Francis Haase

1913-1924 – Polycarp Rhode

1928-???? – Flavius Kraus


The first beginnings of St. Joseph’s, located on Woodland Avenue and Chapel Street, dates back to 1855.  In that year, some distance from the church, a Catholic school was opened called St. Bernard’s School on the east side of Irving Street.  In 1857 the school was moved to Orange and Irving Street.  Here Pastor Luhr bought a lot.  A frame building was located there for school purposes, then it was later used as a church.  This church was called St. Bernard’s Church and was a mission of St. Peter’s.  In summer, 1862, St. Bernard’s Mission was elevated from an autonomous congregation, and the Most Reverend Ant. Krasney took office in August 1862 as the first parish priest.  An effort was made to obtain another property and it was found at Kinsman (now Woodland Avenue) and Chapel Street.  It was purchased in September, 1862.  Construction was begun.  The cornerstone was laid in 1862 and St. Joseph was taken as patron of the new church, so the church is known as St. Joseph’s.  Pastor Krasney had become pastor of the Bohemian St. Stanislas and in the meantime, Reverend H.D. Best took over.  The church became too small, and eight lots were purchased on Chapel Street between Hazen and Creighton Streets.  These were purchased for the monastery or for the church.  At the same time as construction was begun on the new church, the minister Pater Capistran was recalled, and on August 31, 871 Father Kilian Schlosser was named pastor of St. Joseph’s.  The church was consecrated on October 5, 1873.  On Father Kilian’s initiative, St. Alexis Hospital was established in 1884.  On July 15, 1885 Father Kilian was transferred to Chicago.  Father Alardus Andrescheck, was not pastor.  He was succeeded on July 25, 1888 by Father Theodorus Arentz.  Father Arentz remained until summer, 1897 and was replaced by Father Benignus Schuetz.  He was pastor for three years.  Since September, 1900, Father Bernard Wewer has been pastor.   


5.  St. Michael’s – located at Clark and Scranton.  Founded 1881


1883-1908 – Joseph Maria Koudelka

1913-???? – J.M. Paulus

1918-1928 – J.A. Schaffeld


Through 1880 the southwestern part of Cleveland was only lightly populated, and most of this belonged to St. Mary’s on Jersey Street.  The heavy immigration from Germany which followed brought so many to that part of the city that the desire was expressed for a German parish school.  The project was supported by Father Zoeller, then minister of St. Mary’s, and on April 16, 1881 permission was given by the bishop to establish not only a school but also a congregation.  In summer, 1881 a lot was purchased at the corner of Scranton and Clark Avenue.  In the autumn, a frame building was built on the site consisting of two schoolrooms.  Father Zoeller had a small alter placed in the school room.  The building became too small and another two-story building of respectable dimensions was planned.  The upper story was to be dedicated to divine services.  The young congregation received a minister of its own on July 15, 1883 in the person of Rev. Joseph Maria Koudelka.  The two-story church and school house were first consecrated on October 21, 1883.  In the years immediately following it was decided that a larger church would have to be built in a few years.  In March, 1884 a lot was purchased across from its previous property, at the corner of Clark and Scranton for the building of a future great church.  In the meantime, a temporary schoolhouse was put up.  In 1897 another schoolroom was built so that now there were seven large classrooms in which 234 boys and 227 girls received instruction. 


The steadily growing congregation now decided to approach the church project.  On June 19, 1988 the excavation of the foundation was begun.  In this year the foundation alone was completed.  Early the next year the other contracts were given out.  On April 7, 1889 the cornerstone was laid.  In 1890 the towers were built and the roof covered with tiles.  A colossal figure of the Archangel Michael, patron of the congregation, was placed on the forward gable.  Two other life-sized statues decorate the front façade – the archangels Gabriel and Raphael.  During the winter months the interior work was done.  It was the intention of the congregation only to do each year what their money permitted.  It was hoped that they could complete the church by 1893, but on June 29, 1891, early in the morning, the old church and school burned down with all its contents.  The new church was at once equipped for divine service though it was still unfinished.  At the start of March, 1892, the work was advanced to allow the scaffolding to be taken out of the church.  Finally on November 20, 1892, the church was consecrated.


6.  St. Stephan’s – located at Courtland at Duke Street, later W. 54th near Lorain


1869 – Stephan Falk

1870-1913 – Casimir Reichlin

1918-1928 – Joseph Gerz


St. Stephan’s Church is the strongest in numbers of the German Catholic congregations in Cleveland.  It is a daughter of the Assumption of Mary Church on Jersey Street, separated in 1869.  It received the district to the west of Harbor Street.  After the founding of St. Stephan’s, Pastor Stephan Falk had a two-story brick building erected in the middle of the land on which the present church stands, on Courtland across from Duke Street.  In its first floor there were schoolrooms, while in the upper story there was a church.  In April, 1870, Pastor Casimir Reichlin was consecrated priest.  A new church was soon necessary and the cornerstone was laid on September 7, 1873.  Work on the church wad delayed, but the congregation finally entered the church on July 2, 1876.  On November 20, 1881, the church was consecrated.  In 1889, the Sisters of Our Beloved Lady, who had served the school since 1874, received a lovely convent of brick.  In 1897 a new schoolhouse was built on Scott Street. 


7.  Holy Trinity – located at Woodland between Giddings and Brown Streets, later Woodland at E. 71st Street.


1879-1913  – Peter Becker

1918  Joseph Hopp

1921 - 1928 – Joseph Trapp


The Holy Trinity German Catholic congregation arose in late 1879 when the German families belonging to Holy Family Church, now St. Edward’s parish, whose pastor was Peter Becker, applied together with their parish priest to remove themselves from that parish and establish a German congregation.  This request was approved in December, 1879 and Pastor Becker received the power to buy a lot to build a church on Woodland Avenue between Giddings and Brown Street.  Since the young congregation had also received permission to hold services for the time being in the chapel of St. Joseph’s Orphanage, they decided to build on one of the lots a wooden, two-story schoolhouse.  In August, 1880 Father Becker was formally named its minister.  After the erection of the schoolhouse, they passed in 1881 to building the church.  The cornerstone was laid on April 24, and on August 24th it was consecrated.  In September, 1899, the Ursulines took over the teaching of the parish school which had previously been handled by the Marian Sisters. 



8.  St. Francis – located on Superior near Becker and later Superior at E. 71st


1887 – Francis Westerholt

1887-1893 – Nikolaus Kirch

1893-1918 -   Francis Metternich

1921 - 1928 – St. Francis – Superior at E. 71st, Rev. Joseph Hopp


The newest of the German Catholic congregations in Cleveland is St. Francis Church.  Its areas of activity lies outwards in the district where East Madison Avenue crossed Superior Street.  The present minister is Father F. Metternich.  The branching off of St. Francis from St. Peter’s occurred because the distance of the faithful from the church had grown too great.  This took place on March 3, 1887.  As soon as the little congregation was organized by Father Francis Westerholt, a lot was obtained on Superior Street near Becker Avenue.  The new church was consecrated on September 11, 1887 and the school was begun with two sisters of the Sisters of Our Beloved Lady.  The first minister of the congregation was Nikolaus Kirch.  He remained until January 29, 1893 and was replaced by Rev. Francis Metternich. 





1.  First German Methodist Church


1846 – Founded on Prospect Street, Rev. Buhrer

Karl Helwig

J.A. Klein

1850 – Founded in Ohio City and named St. Pauls on Harbor

1860 – Karl Rozenhardt

1860 – Sold Harbor location and built on Erie Street

1879 – Erie Street building exchanged for Scovill and Sterling


On September 3, 1845 the Ohio Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church held its session in Cincinnati, and Pastor Ernst Buhrer was sent here to establish a congregation as A German missionary.  On the first Sunday of his being here, he held his first sermon before a numerous audience in the English Methodist Church on St. Clair Street.  Some weeks later he was able to organize a Sunday School with 50 children and on January 2, 1846 a small congregation.  This received the name of First German Methodist Church.  Pastor Buhrer was now sent on and he was replaced by Pastor Karl Helwig.  During his pastorate a lot was purchased on Prospect Street between Huron and Miami Streets, and the building of a brick church was begun which was completed in the pastorate of his successor, Pastor J.A. Klein.  Later the church was sold.  The congregation grew and increased, and in 1850 it founded a congregation in Ohio City which is now known as St. Paul’s on Harbor Street.  In 1860, under the administration of Pastor Karl Rozenhardt, the church on Harbor Street was sold and a larger one built on Erie Street.  On February 9, 1879 this church property was exchanged for a lot at the corner of Scovill and Sterling Avenue, and the present church was built in 1893.  The current minister is Joh. J. Baechtold, who is in his third year as a minister.


2.  Bethany German Methodist Church (Willard at W. 91st)


1893 – Founding year – Pastor J.W. Mueller

1898 – Frederick Mueller

1902 – John Holtkamp

1908 – Herman Beyer

1913 – George Mitter

1918 – Robert Blume

1921-1928 – Henry Knauff


On March 19, 1893, Pastor J.W. Mueller came to Cleveland with some members of the Rockport congregation and established a Sunday School on Lorain Street near Clark Avenue.  This was the beginning of the Bethany German Methodist Church in Cleveland.  The first gatherings took place in a storage room, then in the room of an apartment house.  The same year construction began on a church and this was completed and consecrated in December.  Pastor F.W. Mueller served the congregation for five years.  Pastor F.J. Baumann became his successor and remained one year.  He was followed by Pastor J.H. Holtkamp, the current preacher now serving his third year.  The old Rockport Congregation dissolved and the members joined this one.


3.  Second German Methodist Church (St. Paul’s) located at Harbor and Bridge, later W. 44th at Bridge


1883 – J. Rothweiler

1887 – David Graessle

1891 – O.C. Klocksiem

1894 – Carl Koch

1898 – John Bodmer

1902 – Herman Rogatzky

1906 – Emil Boch

1918 – M.C. Morlock

1921 – H.C. Beyer

1924-1928 – John Holtcamp


4.  Emmanuel German Methodist Church – located at Quincy and Lussenden

1891 – Christian Baumann

1894 – John Mayer

1898 – Henry Schaedel

1902 – H. Glesen





1.  Christ Episcopal Church – located on Orange Street near Belmont


1868-1889 – J.W.C. Duerr

1891 – Karl Oppen

1892-1894 – Roland Ernst Gruber

1894-1902 – D.D. Hefler

1902 - ???  - John Salinger


Pastor Duerr, the founder and minister of Christ Episcopal Church on Orange Street for the period of nearly a quarter-century, has written the history of the congregation as follows:

In autumn, 1867, Bishop Bedell wrote me that he would like to interest the clerics of our church for a “German Mission”.  For this purpose he gave me a letter of introduction.  Rev. J. Brooks, a brother of the later Bishop F. Brooks, now deceased, rector of St. Paul’s Church, agreed to the plan and took over total responsibility.  As a result I began the German-English mission of St. Paul’s in the first week of 1868.  For three-quarters of a year I held divine services in a hall of the former stocking factory at the corner of Broadway and Cross Street, preaching German services in the morning and English in the evenings, which were both very well attended.  During the week the same place was used for a  German-English school which soon had 50 and later 100 pupils.


In summer, 1868, not far from our place of meeting, the St. Luke’s Church was built, where we were able to move late in the year to continue this double mission.  Until Christmas, 1869, this was the birthplace of Christ Church, which was what it was called when it was constituted and incorporated in June of that year.  The congregation determined to buy land for a church, school and parsonage, and soon passed to building the first of these.  The cornerstone was laid on September 29, 1869 on Orange Street by Bishop Bedell.  At Christmas the Sunday School and later the church was ready enough for services to be held there.  The consecration took place only on November 19, 1871.


During the following year the parsonage and the tower to the church was built; the latter received a bell of 16 hundred-weight, which was joined by a single smaller one.  The total cost was $12,000 for all.  Soon, that noble philanthropist, Mrs. M.S. Bradford, bought a property to the south of the church and gave it to the congregation, a value of $8,000, so that soon the congregation has amassed a property of $20,000.


Material growth went hand in hand with spiritual growth so that the church often could not hold the congregation.  In 1889 poor health forced Pastor Duerr to resign.  A result of this and the impossibility of filling the gap quickly was a certain alienation among the members of the congregation.  For three years the congregation suffered from frequent changes of minister and the members declined.  In early 1892 Pastor Roland Ernst Grueber accepted a call and began serving in May of that year.  A major factor which prevented the settling of disputes at that time was that the change of bishops caused some disturbance as well in the liturgical concessions which had been made by Bishop Bedell, concessions which were reversed by his successor, Bishop Wm. A. Leonhard.  With the loss of Pastor Duerr, the congregation had to deal with much which was alien and hostile.  Mr. Grueber resigned before two years had passed.  His successor was Pastor D.D. Hefter.  Since November the current rector is J. Salinger Jr. 




1.  First German Baptist Church – located at Forest and Scovill


1866-1870 – G. Koopmann

1870-1879 – Edward Grutzner

1879-1881 – J.C. Haselhuhn

1881-1890 – Jacob H. Merkel

1890-1898 – Franz Friedrich

1898 - 1913 – William J. Zirbes

1918 - 1921 – H.C. Baum

1928 – Frederick Lehr


On a cold, raw day, the first Sunday in September, 1860, Maria Agnes Fetzer nee Schempp was baptized in her faith by Preacher Watson of what was then Erie Street Baptist Church (now the Euclid Avenue Church), in the Canal.  This was the first baptism of a German Baptist in Cleveland.  Some other German Baptists had settled here and joined that congregation.  They participated in the meetings, but now and then they would gather in homes and hold German meetings.  Through loyal work, gradually other Germans were won for the Baptist cause.  Some German Baptist preachers passing through paused before going further as soon as they heard of these groups.  Among these was the preacher G. Koopmann, who after repeated petitioning, was made a missionary to local Germans.  He began his activities on October 18, 1862 with the help of seven members who had been meeting in the back of the Erie Street Church.  Six months later they were combined with the English mission at the corner of Scovill and Sterling Avenue.  Here the work began to have great results.  The congregation soon had a Sunday School.  The hatred and envy of strangers was of course not lacking, but it only helped to solidify and spread the congregation.  Now the thought developed of organizing a German Baptist community, and on November 3, 1866, the First German Baptist Congregation was organized with 46 members.  The first preacher was G. Koopmann.  At once the new congregation began having difficulties in that the English Baptists occupying the Tabernacle at the corner of Scovill and Sterling organized their own congregation and desired to keep the church for themselves alone.  Now where to go?  James M. Hoyt, a member of the English congregation, gave the Germans a building lot located at the southwestern corner of Forest Street and Scovill upon which to build a German Church.  Until it was ready, the congregation used a place at the corner of Orange and Wadsworth Avenue.  A day of joy was October 10, 1868, the day on which the congregation got a home, even if it was only the temporary home of the lower floor of the church.  The Cleveland Baptist Union helped the congregation out of its monetary problems.  Until June 1870, Pastor Koopmann worked hard.  He was followed by Pastor E. Gruetzner.  New help arrived in the form of the publication house of German Baptists, which was being moved from Cincinnati to Cleveland.  Pastor Philipp Bickel, who headed that institution, soon began helping.  On September 28, 1873, the upper space in the church was occupied. 


The state of health of Pastor Gruetzner soon obliged him to lay down his office.  J.C. Haselhuhn, Bickel’s successor in the publishing house, then served for 18 months, followed by various other preachers.  J.H. Merckel finally arrived.  In 1884 the congregation was on Case Avenue, and in 1885 the congregation on Erin Avenue, where J.H. Merkel is now preacher, arose from First Church.  The property of the church on Scovill was sold.  After nine years of service, J.H. Merkel laid down his position.  He was followed in 1890 by F. Friedrich.  A new mission was begun on Starkweather Avenue.  The seven years of missionary activity of Preacher Friedrich was beneficial.  He was followed by the present preacher, W.J. Zirbes in 1898.  With the aid of the missionary society in the city, the building for the Starkweather Mission was built at the corner of Fremont and College and consecrated in February 1899.  F.P. Kruse resigned as missionary in November, 1900.  He was followed by the preacher F. Buermann.


2.  Second German Baptist Church – located at Case near Kelly.  Founded in 1877, church built in 1883.  Later located at E. 55th at White.


1884-1886 – J.C. Haselhuhn

1886-1889 – A.J. Ramacker

1889-1894 – F.A. Licht

1894-1900 – Henry Hitzinger

1901-1908 – Herman von Berge


Exactly 25 years ago it was that a German Sunday School was established in the building of the publishing house of the German Baptists at the corner of Payne and Dayton Street.  H. Schulte was one of the deacons and first Superintendent.  Pastor E. Gruetzner, then preacher of the First Church, let the preaching, and after his departure so did his successor, Pastor J.H. Merkel, now preacher of the Erin Avenue Baptist congregation.  Soon, Pastor Dr. J.C. Haselhuhn, then editor of the “Sendbote”, took over the leadership of the entire business.  On December 9, 1883 a church was consecrated and stands at Case Avenue near Kelly Street.  On June 17, 1884 the mission was organized as an autonomous congregation.  Pastor D.C. Haselhuhn was elected preacher.  He remained a member there until his death in May, 1893.  In 1885 the congregation invited A.J. Ramacker to spend his summer at the church.  Before the next summer the congregation had elected him as its preacher.  He served from 1886 to 1889.  He resigned to acdept a call to the theological seminary of the German Baptists in Rochester, New York.  Professor F.A. Licht was his successor and he served from December, 1889 to January 1894.  He was followed by Pastor H. Hitzinger from June 1, 1894 to November 1, 1900.  On April 1, 1901, the current preacher, Pastor Herm. von Berge, took office.


3.  Erin Avenue German Baptist Church – located at Erin and Hitchcock – founded 1875.  Later located on Erin at W. 32nd.


1883-1888 – H. Schwendener

1888-1890 – G. Fetzer

1890-1896 – N. Streike

1896-1899 – Ferdinand G. Wolter

1900-1906 – Jakob Merkel


It was a rainy day in Summer, 1875, as some children sought shelter from the rain in front of the house of Colonel Reeder at the corner of Wade Avenue and Pearl Street.  Mrs. Reeder called the children into her home and spoke with them about religion.  After the storm had passed, she invited the children to come back next Sunday.  They did and they brought friends.  In this way a Sunday School arose.  The Reeder family were compelled to move it to an adequate location.  They found it in the one-story building at the corner of Erin Avenue and Hitchcock Street which had once served as a parochial school.  The work of the Reeders expanded and they soon found themselves compelled to seek help.  They turned to the missionary society, Cleveland Baptist Union.  Since the majority of the children were German, the society turned to the First German Baptist Church.  In 1881 it took over the Sunday School.  In early 1883 the First German Baptist Church called Mr. H. Schwendener.  He accepted the call and came here in the end of May.  On June 29, 1885 there followed the organization of the present Erin Avenue Baptist congregation with 54 members who were released from the First Church for this purpose.  In the same year the present practical church was built.  Pastor Schwendener left after five years.  He was followed by Pastor G. Fetzer.  He was preacher for 1 ½ years, then Pastor N. Streike arrived.  He served for about 6 years.  Then came Pastor F.G. Wolter of Detroit who led for three years.  On September 1, 1900 Pastor Jakob H. Merkel arrived.




In 1902 there were 102 German lodges, 55 homeland associations, 30 singing societies, 4 associations of former German soldiers and 13 societies of charitable or scientific types.


1848 – Frohsinn Singing Society

1850 – Cleveland Turner Society (gymnastic)

1863 – Harmonie Singing Society

1864 – Concordia Lodge (Masonic)

1869 – Knights of Pythias

Foresters (Harugari Order was the German order)

Order of Good Fellows

Knights of Honor

1872 – Turner Men’s Chorus

1873 – Orpheus Singing Society

1873 – Heights Men’s Chorus

1881 – Society of German Warriors

1883 – Swabian Singing Section

Newburg Germania Men’s Chorus

Harugari Men’s Chorus

1884 – German Militia Association

1889 – Association of German Brothers in Arms

1890 – German Pioneer Society

1891 – Baden Liederkranz

1892 – East End Military Society

1897 – Cleveland Liederkranz

1902 – Austrian Liederkranz



1847 – German Order of Harugari (Harugari meaning Wandering People)

1871 – German League

1884 – Baden Support Society

1884 – Bavarian Support Society

1886 – Palatine Support Society

1886 – First Prussian Society

1887 – Hanoverian Support Society

1888 – South German League

1892 – United German Union

1893 – Swabian Support Society

1895 – Steinburg Saxon’s Illness Support Society

1895 – Independent Prussia Illness Fund Support Society (met at Muellers Hall at Scranton and Auburn Avenues

1895 – Rhineland Support Society

1897 – Hessian Suport Society

1898 – Independent German Order




City Always a Hub for Foreign Language Papers
"100 Years of Nationality Groups in Cleveland"
Second in a Series
By Theodore Andrica
Cleveland Press, September 14, 1950

Since Maximillian Heinrich Allart began circulating a handwritten German language Monatliche Journal in Cleveland in July, 1844, this city has always been an important center in the foreign language publishing field.  There is no record how long Allart's brave, hand-written project lasted, but it was not very long.  By 1846 there were enough Germans (around 2000) so that Edward Hessenmueller, a leading member of the German group here, started a weekly, the Germania. Since the owner was prominent in Democratic circles, his paper was also Democratic in politics.  The influx of German immigrants, following the failure of the 1848 German revolt, changed the Cleveland and German picture considerably and by 1852 it was felt that the Germania was not enough.  Jacob Mueller and Louis Ritter sold stock, at $5 per share, to start a new German language weekly. When they raised $400, they launched the Waechter Am Erie weekly, on Aug. 9, 1852.  The paper had offices on the second floor of the old Plain Dealer Building, Superior Ave. and Vineyard St. Its first editor was August Theime, a young man of letters from Buffalo.

5 Cents a Copy

The new weekly sold for 5 cents for a single copy or $1 for a half-year's subscription. In its first issue it supported the nomination of Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire for president and W. Rufus King of Alabama for vice president, on the Democratic ticket.  This was the real beginning of a virile foreign language publishing activity in Cleveland.  As more immigrants arrived in Cleveland, speaking a multitude of languages, it was natural for the newer nationality groups to follow in the footsteps of the Germans and establish their own papers.  As late as in 1935 Cleveland had 53 foreign language dailies, weeklies and monthlies.  Today there are "only" 35 foreign language publications and two English language Jewish weeklies in Cleveland. 

The six dailies are:

Waechter and Anzeiger, German; 1243 Rockwell Ave. It is independent in politics and its editor is Walter Eckstein. In world politics it is anti-Communist.

Backs Democrats

Szabadsag, Hungarian; 1736 E. 22nd St. Although nominally an independent paper, its owner and editor, Zoltan Gombos, is a consistent supporter of the Democratic administration and of Governor Lausche. The paper is opposing the Budapest Communist regime.

Wiadomosci Codzienne, Polish; 1017 Fairfield Ave. In American politics it is Republican. It is strongly anti-Communistic and before the war supported the Pilsudski regime in Poland. Zygmunt Dybowski is editor.

Ameriska Domovina, Slovene; 6117 S. Clair Ave. is one of the two Slovene dailies here. It is Democratic in local politics and violently anti-Tito and anti-Communistic as far as old country politics are involved. Anton Sabec is editor.

Under Congress Fire

Enakopravnost, Slovene; 6231 St. Clair Ave. Its editor, Ivan Bostjancic, has been under fire by the un-American Committee in Congress. The paper has been and is a steadfast supporter of Tito's regime in Yugoslavia and during the last American election it supported Wallace.

Novy-Svet, Czech; 12020 Mayfield Rd. the first issue will be published Saturday under the editorship of John Kratky and Anton Sustr. This paper was organized after the Svet- American Czech daily ceased publication two months ago.

Other Nationality Papers

Cleveland's 20 nationality weeklies are:

AMERICKE DELNICKE LISTY, Czech, 4732 Broadway, Vaclav H. Matousek, editor.

A JO PASZTOR, Hungarian, 1736 E. 22nd St.; Josef Muzslay, editor.

AZ UJSAG, Hungarian, 8407 Woodland Ave.; Louis Tarcal, editor.


L'ARALDO, Italian, 12020 Mayfield Rd. Dr. Annibale Verzumo, editor.

JEWISH INDEPENDENT, Jewish, 2108 Payne Ave.; Leo Weidenthal, editor.

JEWISH REVIEW AND OBSERVER, Jewish, 1104 Prospect Ave.; Howard Wertheimer, editor.

JEWISH WORLD, Jewish, 10526 Superior Ave.; Robert Henvald, editor.

DIRVA, Lithuanian, 1351 Giddings Rd.; Vincent Rastenis, editor

KURYER, Polish, 6805 Lansing Ave.; Jan A. Zebrowski, editor.

ZWIAZKOWIEC, Polish, 6968 Broadway; K. J. Zielecki, editor.

ZJEDNOCZENIA, Polish, 6805 Lansing Ave.; Jan A. Zebrowski, editor.

SLOVENSKE NOVINY, Slovak, 10510 Buckeye Rd.; Rev. Fr. Bernard Slimak, 0.S.B., editor.

GLAS, Slovenian, 6117 St. Clair Ave.; James Debevec, editor.

GLASILO, Slovenian, 6117 St. Clair Ave.; Ivan Racic, editor.

NOVA DOBA, Slovenian, 6233 St. Clair Ave.; Anton J. Terbovec, editor.


AMERICA, Romanian, 5703 Detroit Ave.; George Donev, editor.

SOLIA, Romanian, 6201 Detroit Ave.; Viorel D. Trifa, editor.

FOAIA POPORULUI, Romanian, 6603 Detroit Ave.; George Stanculescu, editor.

The 10 foreign-language monthlies published in Cleveland are:

VESTNIK, Czech, Bedford.

EINWANDERERS FREUND, German, 2969 W. 25th St.

GEISTIGES LEBEN, German, PO Box 5666; Felix Schmidt, editor.

HELLENIC HERALD, Greek, 1532 E. 36th St.; Miss Helen Vorvolakis, editor.

HERMUNKAS, Hungarian, 8618 Buckeye Rd.; L. L. Lefkovics, editor.

ZENSKA JEDNOTA, Slovak, 3756 Lee Rd.; Rev. Fr. Georgs Luba, 0.S.B., editor.

ZARJA, Slovenian, 6516 Bonna Ave.; Mrs. Albina Novak, editor.

ITALIAN PICTORIAL NEWS, Italian, 7108 Superior Ave.; Bernard J. Meiaragno, edtior.

UNIREA, Romanian, 1367 W. 65th St.; Rev. Fr. George Babutiu and Rev. Fr. Mircea Todericiu, editors.

THE BROTHERHOOD, Russian, 3111 W. 14th St.; William Racin, editor.

Clevelanders possessing old pictures, souvenir booklets and other items about early nationality life here are asked to lend Theodore Andrica such material for use in preparing his series on history of the various groups here.


Statues Honor Great Foreigners
"100 Years of Nationalities in Cleveland"
Third of a Series
by Theodore Andrica
Cleveland Press, September 21, 1950

Besides the churches, halls and various organizations, another indication of the intensity of nationality life in Cleveland is the large number of statues erected here in honor of foreign writers, composers, musicians and patriots.  In no other American city have the nationality groups erected so many statues as in Cleveland.  The memory of 51 foreign famous men and women is being perpetuated in bronze and stone in Greater Cleveland. Many of the art pieces are located in the Cultural Gardens of upper and lower East Blvd., in Rockefeller Park. 

In the Czech Cultural Garden are the busts of Frantisek Palacky, historian; Jindrich S. Baar, writer; Jan Purkyne, writer; Bedrich Smetana, composer; Myroslav Tyrs, co- founder of the Sokols; Bozena Nemcova, novelist; Antonin Dvorak, composer; and Karel Havlicek, co-founder of the Sokol movement.

In the German Cultural Garden are the busts of Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Johann Christoph Schiller, Heinrich Heine, Gotthold Lessing, poets; Frederich Jahn, founder of the Turner movement. The fountain honors Friederich Frobel, founder of the kindergarten system. Richard Wagner's statue is in Edgewater Park.

In the Hebrew Cultural Garden are the bas reliefs of the following:  Baruch Spinoza, Moses Mendelsohn, Achad Ha'am and Maimondides, philosophers and essayists; Jacques Halevy, Giacomo Meyerbeer and Carl Goldmark, educators; Emma Lazarus, humanitarian; Rebecca Gratz, educator and Henrietta Szold, founder of Hadassah.

The Hungarians have the bust of Franz Liszt, composer and pianist, and of Imre Madach, writer, in the Cultural Garden. The large statue of Louis Kosuth, leader of the 1848 revolt against Austria, is in University Circle.

A bust of Virgil is in the Italian Cultural Garden.

In the Lithuanian Cultural Garden are busts of Jonas Basanavicius, first president of Lithuania and of Dr. Vincas Kudirka, author of the Lithuanian national anthem. Biruta, the legendary Lithuanian princess, is honored with a fountain.

In the Polish Cultural Garden are the busts of Ignace Paderewski, pianist; Marie Curie, co-discoverer of radium; Frederic Chopin, the composer; Henoyk Sienkiewicz, author. The heroic statue of Thaddeusz Kosciuszko, hero of the American revolutionary war is in Wade Park.

The busts of the Rev. Jan Kollar, Lutheran pastor and of Rev. Fr. Stefan Furdek, Catholic priest, are in the Slovak Cultural Garden. A large monument of Gen. Milan R. Stefanik, co-founder of Czecho-Slovakia is in Wade Park.

In the Ukrainian Cultural Garden are the busts and bas reliefs of Volodimir the Great, ruler of Ukraine; Taras Shevchenko and Ivan Franko, poets and writers; Bohdan Khelmitsky, patriot; and of Michael Hrushevsky, historian.

In the Yugoslav Garden are the busts of Bishop Njegosh, Serb Orthodox leader; Bishop Baraga, Catholic Slovene missionary in the United States; Ivan Cankar and Simon Gregorcic, Slovene writers.

A bust of Shakespeare is in the Shakespeare Garden and on the northern side of the Courthouse are the statues of Moses; Justinian the Great, founder of the Roman Law; Alfred the Great, founder of the Anglo-Saxon system of jurisprudence, and Pope Gregory IX, a mainstay of Canon Law.

Clevelanders possessing old pictures, souvenir booklets and other items about early nationality life here are asked to lend Theodore Andrica such material for use in preparing his series on history of the various groups here.


6 Waves of Germans Set Up Strong Bloc Here
"100 Years of Nationalities in Cleveland"
Fourth of a Series
By Theodore Andrica
Cleveland Press, September 26, 1950

German immigration to Cleveland can be divided roughly into six categories. At the beginning were the Germans who came here between 1830 and 1848 and who were responsible for the establishment of the earliest German churches and organizations here.  Following the unsuccessful revolt in 1848 against German political oppression, waves of so-called `48ers began arriving in Cleveland in 1850.  There was another large influx of German immigrants here in the years immediately before the Civil War just in time to make possible the formation of three regiments from Cleveland, composed mostly of Germans.  Starting again in 1872, after the Franco-Prussian war, another wave of German immigrants hit Cleveland. The wave tapered into steady flow until 1914 when the first World War began.  After 1918, new German immigrants found their way to America and, of course, to Cleveland. Because the American immigration laws favored the coming of western European peoples, Germans came in relatively large numbers till 1938.  Immigration of "Germans" to Cleveland, however, was not confined strictly to people of Germany. Many "Germans" had left their country centuries previously and had settled in several central and eastern European countries as far as east as the Urals.  Among such Germans who came eventually to Cleveland are the "Zipsers, " a group of Germans who settled a few hundred years ago on the lower slopes of the Carpathians, in the then Hungary but now Slovakia. An outstanding Zipser in Cleveland was the late Theodore Kundtz, a widely known manufacturer.  Then we have the "Schwaben," who settled in Hungary about 200 years ago and of whom many have come to Cleveland.  Some of these Schwaben lived in the western part of Hungary; others lived in the Banat province, which after the First World War was divided between Romania and  Yugoslavia. These Germans are known as "Banaters" and they are very active in Cleveland.Although they speak German, the Transylvanian Saxons are not included in this story, since they will form a separate chapter of their own.

400 Separate Groups

At the peak of German life in Cleveland, there were 400 separate organizations--churches, singing groups, gymnastic societies and hometown associations.  Today the best estimates show about 75,000 foreign-born Germans and their second generation, American- born, children (but not grandchildren) in Cleveland.  In 1950 the Germans have three publications, a daily and two monthlies; seven halls, eight Catholic and 22 Protestant churches; 20 fraternal benefit lodges; 24 cultural groups; 14 social clubs and four radio programs.


Germans Came Here Early, Played a Vital Role
"100 Years of Nationalities in Cleveland"
Fifth of a Series
By Theodore Andrica
Cleveland Press, September 28, 1950

The Germans began coming to Cleveland just in time to add their bit to their mushroom growth of this community, which began to develop as the building of the Ohio Canal progressed.  Cleveland's population in 1820 was 606 and that of Brooklyn (Ohio City), west of Cuyahoga, 348, a total of around 1000. Land was becoming expensive for those days.  A two-acre lot at the corner of Superior St. and Public Square, where the Federal Building stands now, sold for the then-high price of $266.50.  Historically speaking, the very first German who came to Cleveland, or, better say, to the spot which later became Cleveland, was John Heckewelder, a Moravian missionary of German descent.  In 1786, 10 years before Moses Cleaveland and his surveyors arrived here from Connecticut, Heckewelder established a small settlement on the Cuyahoga River, near what is now Bedford.  This group stayed less than a year and Heckewelder journeyed eastward, never to return.  Because he made no serious efforts to establish a permanent settlement, Heckewelder cannot be rightfully considered as THE pioneer German immigrant.  Unfortunately for the historians, the permanent German settlers, who began coming here after 1820, were more concerned with making a living and establishing some sort of a home than to make sure that their names were left to posterity.

Came in Sailing Boats

From contemporary accounts we know that the Germans who came to America in the 1820's came by sailing vessels from Hamburg or Rotterdam and after months of sailing arrived at some eastern port, New York, Boston and at times, Quebec.  By stage coach or sailing vessel they would find their way to Buffalo, then by boat to Cleveland. Of course, there were some who walked hundreds of miles. 

"The Cleveland Gazette and Commercial Register" of Aug. 8, 1818 published this news with a Rochester, N.Y., date line.

"Within a few days four or five families of emigrants from Germany passed through this village. They traveled on foot, the women carrying large bags on their heads. Their condition appeared miserable, but their countenances bespoke health and contentment. They came via Quebec."

Worked on the Canal

By 1829 about 300 immigrants arrived in Cleveland weekly to work on the canal. Most of these were Irish and Scotch, but there was a goodly sprinkling of Germans among them.  In 1830 local historians took note that "German immigrants began to settle along Lorain St. on the West Side and in the vicinity of Superior and Garden streets in the east."  From the very first of their arrival here in appreciable numbers, the Germans began to play a vital role in the economic, cultural and social development of what is now known as Greater Cleveland.


15 German Families Here by 1833
"100 Years of Nationalities in Cleveland"
Sixth of a Series
By Theodore Andrica
Cleveland Press, October 2, 1950

While there is no exact knowledge about the name and arrival of the first German family in Cleveland, records of the Western Reserve Historical Association show that by 1833 there were about 15 German families here.  Settling along Lorain St. on the West Side and in the vicinity of Superior and Garden (E. 17th) streets on the East Side, the Germans soon made an impression in the then-small community with their industriousness, skill and anxiety to establish a permanent home.  The earliest families were the Silbergs, butchers; the families of Neeb, Kaiser, Denker and Borges, tailors; Wigman, mason; Schiele, gardener; and the Diemers, Fingers, Rissers, and Freys, whose trade is not known.  They were followed by the Wanglein, Laisy, Steinmeir, Hessenmueller, Henninger, Ehringer, Schaaf and Umbstaetter families.

From West Germany

Most of the pioneering Germans came from the western states of Germany, notably from the Rheinpflaz and Wuerrtemberg.  Among the earliest Germans here, according to the files of Waechter und Anzeiger, were Carl Soheekley, a native of Zell, Wuerttemberg, who came from here in 1832, and John Krebiehl, who later changed his name to Crable. Krebiehl came from Wachenheim, Rheinpflaz in 1833.  Karolina Hecker, born in Klingenmuenster, Rheinpflaz, came to Cleveland in 1834. Fritz Hoffman came here in 1834 from Steindorf, Nassau.  Among the Germans who came to Cleveland in 1836 were Katharina Beckenbach, a native of Klingenmuenster, and Elisabeth Hecker of the same town. Evidently these two followed Karolina Hecker who arrived here two years earlier.

Bavarian Watchmaker

Gregor Dietz, a watchmaker of Weismain, Bavaria, arrived here in 1837. John Denzer of Wuerttemberg; Margaretha Koerges of Heppenheim, Hessen-Darmstadt; and Eva Waegenbauer of Erlenbach, Rheinpflaz, came to Cuyahoga County in 1839.  Among the 1840 arrivals were Katharina Burger from Mandel, Prussia; Leonard F. Lautetwasser of Ilsfield, Wuettermberg; Abraham Klein of Unsleben, Bavaria; Phillip H. Repp of Mutterstadt, Rheinpflaz; Peter Schuetthelm of Hamm, Rheinhessen.  In 1841 came Karl Ball of Asbach, Alsace, and Adam Stephen, whose birthplace is unknown. In 1842 came George Brehmeier of Rothenacker, Wuerttemberg, and Peter Koerper of Weiber, Prussia. Heinrich Ernst Boehning came from Barkhausen, Bavaria, in 1843.  We have the names of four arrivals in 1844: Stephen Buehrer; Franz Henke of Hanover; John Ernst Kappler of Ittersbach, Baden; and Pauline Umbstaetter.  In 1845 came Meyer Fuldheim from Grenzhausen, Nassau, and Christian Risser of Schwabing, Bavaria. Among the 1846 arrivals are Heinrich Heil of Elchen, Kurhessen; Walentin Schaab of Darmstadt; Andrea Steinbrenner Baden and Heinrich Walker of Hannover.  From the Rheinpflaz the following Germans came to Cleveland in 1847: Elisabeth Comery of Oggersheim. Paul Kinvater of Bochl. Rosina Mehringer of Oggersheim. Louis Muellet of Alsenz. Ferdinand Paillon of Oggersheim, Johann Probeck of Dirmstein. Jacob Unkrich of Hoschstetten. Philipp Jacob Urban of Ungstein. Mathias Wirtz of Horathen.


Germans Built Church Here in 1842
"100 Years of Nationalities in Cleveland"
Seventh of a Series
By Theodore Andrica
Cleveland Press, October, 1950

According to tradition, in the early 1830's a small group of German sailors whose names no one seems to remember, found themselves battling the waves of Lake Erie in the midst of a furious storm. Their boat was small and frail and its destruction seemed inevitable.  As they were about to be engulfed, they knelt in fervent prayer, promising that if they would be saved, they would erect a church in God's honor. Miraculously they were saved and obediently they fulfilled their promise. The church was eventually erected.  There is no authentic record of this incident, but in it there may be found a reason for the name "Schifflein Christ" (Little Boat of Christ) given to the first German church in Cleveland, built at the comer of Erie (E. 9th) and Hamilton Sts. in 1842.  A later record stated that the name was selected because "it stood near the lake and because during its brief period of its existence it had weathered many a storm."  The congregation must have been in existence as early as 1834. Records found by the Rev. Theodore A. Kitterer, pastor of the First Evangelical and Reformed Church, show that there was one burial without a pastor in 1834.

Groups Reunited

The actual organization of the congregation took place under the direction of seven young Germans on April 26, 1835. The newly organized congregation called itself the First Evangelical Protestant Congregation. For its first shepherd, the small group elected the Rev. F. Tanke, at a yearly salary of $300.  Rev. Tanke, a native of Germany, stayed just a few months with his new flock. He was followed by a Rev. Buse. The circumstance which brought about this sudden change in pastors resulted in discord among the members and Rev. W. Steinmeyer was called to reunite the groups. He, too, stayed only a few months, terminating his pastorate in August, 1835.  The fourth pastor was the Rev. C. A. H. Allardt who stayed 23 years and under whose pastorate the first church was built in 1842 at the comer of Erie and Hamilton Sts.  The first recorded baptism by the Rev. Allardt was that Elizabeth Krolli, born Aug. 20, 1845, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Adam Krolli. The first wedding recorded was that of William Specht and Hanna Maria Eichenfelder, on Jan. 1, 1847. The first death recorded by Rev. Allardt was of an infant, son of Phillip and Maria Lerch, born Jan. 6, 1847 and died the same day.

New Structure Built

The present First Evangelical Church at 839 Thornhill Dr.

In 1876 the old building at Erie (E. 9th St.) and Hamilton Ave. was sold and the greatly enlarged congregation erected a new structure at Superior and Dodge Aves. (now Superior and E. 17th St.).  The Evangelical Protestant Trinity Church, organized in 1874 and the Ebenezer Evangelical Church, established in 1893 merged with the First Evangelical Church in 1927 and 1928 respectively.  Following these mergers, the congregation erected the present First Evangelical Church at 839 Thornhill Dr. The pastor is the Rev. Theodore A. Kitterer.  The story of the "wandering," or progress, of this first German Church in Cleveland, from the shores of Lake Erie to present day location is a typical example of what eventually happened to the other German churches, which were established in the second half of the 19th century in Cleveland.


3,000 Germans Here by 1850
"100 Years of Nationalities in Cleveland"
Eighth of a Series
By Theodore Andrica
Cleveland Press, October 6, 1950

The decade ending in 1850 concluded the first phase of German immigration here. By that time there were about 3,000 Germans in Cleveland proper and on the West Side, then known as Ohio City.  When 1850 came around, there existed in Cleveland several German Protestant churches and organizations catering to the spiritual needs of the Germans living here.  The City Directory of 1837 listed a "German Society," organized in 1836, but nothing is known about this first German lodge. It was not listed in subsequent city directories.  The First German Evangelical congregation, formally organized in 1835, erected a modest church known as Schifflein Christi at Hamilton and Erie (E. Ninth) streets in 1842.  A year later, in April 1843, a group of German Lutherans withdrew from Schifflein Christi Church and established Zion Lutheran congregation under the leadership of the Rev. David Schuh.  Religious services were held in Concert Hall, on the third floor of the Miller block, on the north side of Superior, between Seneca (W. Third) and Bank (W. Ninth) streets.

Build New Church

This congregation soon outgrew the facilities of this hall and on Jan. 20, 1848, ground was broken for a new church building at Hamilton Ave. and Division Alley, under the pastorate of the Rev. August Schmidt. Today the church is at Prospect Ave. and E. 30th St.  In the spring of 1843 a group of German Protestant families in the Brighton community were organized by the Rev. Carl Allardt into St. Luke's Evangelical congregation.  For $80 they purchased an old school building and moved it to the corner of Broadview and Schaaf Rds., where it was used as a church. Ten years later, part of the congregation built another church on a site that remained the location of St. Luke's Evangelical Church, Pearl Rd. and Memphis Ave.  In 1846 Edward Hessenmueller launched the "Germania," the first German language newspaper in Cleveland. Hessenmueller came to Cleveland in 1840 and soon became a leading figure in German circles and prominent in Democratic politics.  Ernest Kaufholz, a German foundry foreman, brought together a little German prayer group known as the Congregation of the Brethren, and they raised a small house on Tracy St. to be used as their church.  Dedicated on Sept. 17, 1849, this was the first chapel on the West Side in which services were held in the German language. Today the congregation worships in an impressive building at Warren Rd. and Alger Ave., Lakewood.

Seek Other Pursuits

As the tide of German immigration rose, an appreciable number of Cleveland Germans sought other than religious activities to take up their free time.  To vary the tempo of their life here and to kill some of their homesickness, some Germans gathered for singing.  In 1835 some German farmers living outside Cleveland County came to the city and held a festival.  "They not only drank beer, but entertained with songs and instrumental music, which greatly impressed the local Americans," said a contemporary German report.  According to Waechter and Anzeiger, the first German "gesangverein" in Cleveland, was the "Frohsinn." It was founded in 1848 and was directed by a man named Heber.  When rumors of the California gold reached Cleveland, Herber hit the westward trail and the Frohsinn Gesangverein was left, musically speaking, leaderless.  Gottlieb Votteler took over the direction of the Frohsinn but somehow the old spirit was gone, or perhaps some of the members followed Heber to California. At any rate the Frohsinn ceased functioning in 1850.


City Largely German in 1850's
"100 Years of Nationalities in Cleveland"
Ninth of a Series
By Theodore Andrica
Cleveland Press, October, 1950

Owing to the enormous dimensions which German immigration took in the years following 1848, a very considerable percentage of Cleveland's population was German, either of the first or second generation.  Many German immigrants are associated in the popular mind with the 48ers although they had no particular connection with, nor interest in, the German revolutionary movement of that year. The arrival of the so-called 48ers coincided with a great wave of German immigration caused strictly by economic pressure during 1846-56.

No Political Interest

In Cleveland, as in other German-populated American cities, the Germans before 1848 had shown little interest in politics. But the true 48er was a "political being" and participated with gusto in the political life of his new country.  The 48ers at times even took upon themselves to criticize the frequently corrupt American administration, the mechanical methods in the American schools and the dullness of the then prevailing American life.  In Cleveland the decade of 1850 is marked by the founding of two great movements which were to leave a lasting imprint on educational and cultural life. They were the Gesangvereine, or the singing societies, and the Turners.  Although the physical training advocated by the Turners was something new in Cleveland, it was partly through the urging of the German groups, introduced into our schools and later modified or replaced by other sports.

Outing "Offensive"

The Sunday outing so cherished by the Turners and so often offensive to their more puritanically minded fellow citizens was not so different from the present American family picnic.  The choral and orchestral music which the Germans cultivated at first in German circles has become a regular institution in all American metropolitan centers. The first Cleveland Turnverein was organized in 1850. The names of Beck, Maier, Brandt and Rettberg are mentioned among the active leaders.  "Exercise with all your might in God's green house," was the slogan of this pioneering Turnverein. This first place of exercise, the "Turnplatz," was in Bellevue Garden, on Central Ave., near Central Viaduct. "From this point there was a 'herrliche' view of the Cuyahoga Valley," wrote a contemporary German.

Exercised, Talked

During winters, the Turners met in Welch & Frank's Store. Besides exercising, the Turners had lively discussions, particularly on the issue of slavery. The Turners were among the first to join the Freimaenner Bund, an organization that was to play an important role among Cleveland Germans.  When the Civil War came, many Turners joined the Union Army and the Cleveland Turnverein became dormant. The story of its reorganization, after the Civil War, will be told in another chapter.  There is no doubt that as far as musical life was concerned, it was the Germans who were first active in this field in Cleveland. In fact, the Germans' influence in the field of music went back to the Indian days.

Trader Brings Violin

A trader named Haas was the first to bring the violin to the little settlement at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. It was a German whose name is unknown who brought to Cleveland the first harmonium, or portable organ. When the Germans began coming here in appreciable numbers, in the 1820's and 1830's, several brought with them flutes and accordions.  In a previous chapter mention was made of the founding in 1848 of the first German singing society in Cleveland, the "Frohsinn," under the leadership of a man named Heber. Heber went to California in 1849 and the Frohsinn collapsed.  Fortunately for the Cleveland German singers, Heber returned in 1850 and immediately organized a mixed German chorus. It was not a formally organized group and rehearsals were held from time to time in Seifert's Casino.

Photo caption: Heights Maennerchor Hall used to be on Starkweather Ave. Today the group has its headquarters at 4311 W. 35th St. Heights Maennerchor is still very active here.

Photo caption: Newburgh. Germania Maennerchor Hall on Engel Ave. was one of the many centers of German singing in Cleveland. Neither the organization nor the hall exist.


City Was Proud of German Singing Festivals
"100 Years of Nationalities in Cleveland"
Tenth of a Series
By Theodore Andrica
Cleveland Press, October, 1950

The first German event of national importance held in Cleveland was the Saengerfest of the North American Saenger Bund in 1855.  Eighteen German singing societies, 300 singers, descended upon Cleveland on May 27, 1855, for the three-day song festival which was to start the following day.  The singers came from Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Canton, Cincinnati, Tiffin and Columbus.  Monday, the first day of the festival, was taken with the formalities of the opening ceremonies. In the evening there was a torch parade on the Public Square.  Tuesday, May 29, 1855, was the big day. Not only the Germans, but all of Cleveland's 44,000 population was celebrating and even the stores were closed for the day. A huge parade started at 8 a. m., consisting of the singers, local German groups, with their leaders riding horseback and with flying flags.

Colorful Parade

The colorful parade wound its way to the "festhalle," where the concerts were to be held, in the University Bldg., University Heights. Tired but happy, the paraders ended their walk about noon.  At 4 p. m. the singers began their concert. First some of the individual groups sang under their own leaders but later a 100 man chorus, composed of several singing societies, sang under the direction of Hans Balatka, a famous conductor from Milwaukee.  Then came the gala banquet in Ballous' Hall. The contemporary German historian dutifully recorded that 800 admission tickets were sold for the concert and banquet, 50 cents being the price for a concert ticket and $1 for the banquet.  Flags decorated the streets leading to the concert and banquet halls. The balcony of the concert hall was covered with black-red-gold; the colors of Germany. A huge picture of Teutonia, shadowed by an American eagle, occupied the back of the stage. The "Cleveland Orchestra," directed by Hans Balatka, accompanied the singers. 

Singers Earn Praise

This was the first Saengerfast in Cleveland. The local "American" press was full of praise for the musical achievement of the German singers and it was apparent that Cleveland was soon to have another national Saengerfest in 1859.  The holding of the first Saengerfest in 1855 followed closely the formation in 1854 of the Cleveland Gesangverein.  Previously the only German singing group here was the "Frohsinn" which, however, ceased functioning in 1850. When the Frohsinn's erstwhile director, Heher, returned from the California gold lands, he immediately began to re-establish German singing here.  With some of the Frohsinn's former members and with a group of the fast-arriving 48'ers Heber organized an informal group which constituted the singers' section of the Freimaenner Bund.

Proud of Heritage

The Freimaenner Bund consisted of people proud of their German heritage and who were eventually responsible for the first German school in Cleveland in the Freimaenner Hall on St. Clair Ave. near Ontario.  When the North American Sanger Bund held its Saengerfest in Canton in 1854, part of the singers section of the Cleveland Freimaenner Bund thought it would be nice to bring the next Saengerfest to Cleveland.  Disputes arose over this issue. A faction led by Fritz George and Carl Adam left the Freimaenner Bund and in October, 1854, formed the Cleveland Gesangverein, with Fritz Abel as musical director.  Charter members included Fritz Abel, C. Frank, E. Jordan, C. Koebler, C. Mudler, John Kehn, E. Nussini, A. Thieme, F. Wehrmeister, H. Coardua, George Doelz, Karl Kamnitz, F. E. Lambert, Jacob Mueller, Wilhelm Richter.  Fritz Schaefer, C. F. Thiele, B. Waldkirch, Hans Droz, Peter Heine, A. Kolbe, C. Lembeck, Fritz Mueller, Jacob Risser, C. Sutter, C. W. Schmidt, Jacob Finger, Hans Hensch, C. Kutzkopf, A. LangsdorF, L. Quedenfeld, L. Ritter, C. Severin and G. F. Votteler. Quedenfeld was named president, C. F. Thiele, secretary, and Mudler, treasurer.  Previously in Ohio City, today's West Side, the "Liederkranz" and the "Liedertafel" existed. The first was directed by Karl Raeder, a teacher; and the second by Charles Saeltzer, a bookkeeper. The two societies merged in 1858 into the West Side Maennerchor which changed into the "Orpheus" in the 1870's.


Slavery Issue Brought New German Paper
"100 Years of Nationalities in Cleveland"
Eleventh of a Series
By Theodore Andrica
Cleveland Press, October 16, 1950

The slavery issue brought about important developments among Cleveland Germans in the decade between 1850 and 1860. In the last named year the city's German population numbered 15,000, or one-third of the total.  The Cleveland Germans of that period were divided in two factions; the older settlers who called themselves the "Grays," and the newer German arrivals, especially those who came here after 1848, who were known as the "Greens."  The "Grays" were content to go along established ways and not to meddle too much in public affairs. They were satisfied to work diligently, save money, enlarge their little workshops and follow the Democratic Party.  The newer German element, being more politically minded, was eager to take part a leading part, if possible, in the city's affairs. The "Greens" were proud of their German heritage and of their free-minded spirit and were anxious to keep together the liberal Germans who arrived in Cleveland in ever increasing numbers.

Clash Brought Paper

The differences between the "Grays" and the "Greens" led to the birth of the Waechter Am Erie. The "Greens" believed that the Germania weekly, published since 1847 by Edward Hessenmueller and Ludwig Wagelin, was not keeping up with the times and that Cleveland Germans needed a more aggressive publication.  Jacob Mueller, who later became a lieutenant governor of Ohio, and Louis Ritter headed a group of Germans who bought 80 shares of stock at $5 each, and with the $400 thus raised began publishing the Waetcher Am Erie. August Thieme was brought from Buffalo to edit the new paper.  A printing shop was set up by Heinrich Rochotte on the second floor of the Plain Dealer Bldg., Superior and Vineyard Sts. The first issue on Aug. 9, 1852 was printed on the Plain Dealer press.

Battled Slavery

Issued twice weekly, the Waechter Am Erie dedicated itself to the abolition of slavery and the "promulgation of liberal culture." Its ceaseless attacks on slavery greatly alarmed the Democrats. The old-time Germans called the people around Thieme a "bunch of revolutionaries."  In a few years, Thieme and Rochotte bought the paper from the stockholders and began issuing it three times weekly, then again twice a week.  Meantime the conflict between the "Grays" and the "Greens" was becoming more acute. Just when it was feared that the rupture would lead to a permanent division, a new unexpected force appeared which united the Cleveland Germans. This was the Know Nothing Party, which advocated hatred of all "foreigners."  The Waechter Am Erie was in the forefront of those fighting Know Nothingism. As result, a goodly number of Cleveland Germans entered the ranks of the Republican Party. The Waechter became an enthusiastic supporter of Salmon P. Chase in his bid for governorship.

Got Help From GOP

During the Fremont-Chase campaign, the Waechter appeared daily (with the financial help of the Republicans) but after the election, it was issued again as a weekly, until Sept. 27, 1866 when it became a daily. During the decade of 1850-60 a third German paper appeared in Cleveland, the "Cleveland Courier," issued first in 1856. It did not last long.  As the battle of words between the abolitionists and the pro-slavery Americans was slowly changed to a real battleground, the Cleveland Germans, just as the Germans in most American states, lined up nearly unanimously with the anti-slavery cause.  When the Civil War opened Cleveland, Germans were among the first to enter the Union Army ranks.


Decade Marked by German Cultural Growth
"100 Years of Nationalities in Cleveland"
Twelfth of a Series
By Theodore Andrica
Cleveland Press, October 18, 1950

The "bruderkampt" or conflict over the slavery issue between the older German settlers and the newer ones living in Cleveland and Ohio City (today's West Side) in the 1850-60 decade, did not diminish their zeal in creating worthwhile institutions.  Among the Cleveland Germans accomplishments in that decade were the establishment of the first three German Catholic churches; the founding of three Protestant congregations, in addition to the four already existing then, and the holding of the second national Saengerfest in 1859.  On the more worldly side of the ledger can be put the beginning of the first German theater in Cleveland in 1856.  The three German Catholic churches were St. Peter's, St. Mary's of the Assumption (West Side) and St. Joseph's.  The three new Protestant congregations established in the 1850-60 decade were: Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church (1853), the West Side United Evangelical Protest Church (1853), and St. Paul's Evangelical Protestant Church (1858).  The four Protestant German churches established before 1850 were Schifflein Chmt Evangelical (1835), Zion Lutheran (1843), the First German Methodist (1845) and St. Luke's Evangelical Church (1846).  One of the first monuments in the history of German Catholicism in Cleveland is St. Peter's, the oldest German church here.  It should be noted here that from October, 1840 to Nov. 6, 1842, St. Mary's in the Flats, at Columbus and Girard streets, was the only Catholic church in Cleveland. On the last named date the second Catholic church was dedicated at Superior and Erie (now E. 9th street), the present site of St. John's Cathedral.  As the number of German Catholics increased in Cleveland, the Rev. Fr. John H. Luhr was brought from Canton to administer to those who frequented St. Mary's in the Flats Church.

Oldest German Catholic church in Cleveland is St. Peter's, Superior Ave. & E.17th St.  It was erected in 1859.

Bishop Rappe authorized Father Luhr to organize a purely German Catholic parish. The new priest did so and on Feb. 13, 1853 St. Peter's Catholic German Parish was formed. The following spring in 1864, a lot was bought at Superior Ave. and Dodge St. (now E. 17th).  First a frame building was erected and later, in 1856, a two story brick structure was built to serve as a school and chapel. Finally, on Oct 3, 1859 the present St. Peter's was dedicated by Bishop Rappe.  In the meantime the West Side Germans, led by the Rev. Fr. J. J. Kraemer, organized in 1854 a parish of their own, naming it "St. Mary's of the Assumption." For a while the parish used the older St. Mary's Church in the flats. Under the pastorate of Rev. Fr. Stephen Falk the parish bought a lot at Jersey and Carol1 Sts. And construction of a new church began in September, 1863. it was dedicated on Sept. 13, 1865.  The beginning of St. Joseph's Church, Woodland and E. 23d St., goes back to 1855. St. Peters German Catholic parish established a small parochial school, named St. Bernhardt's, east of Irving St. In 1857 this frame combination school and church was moved to the southwest corner of Orange and Irving St.  In the summer of 1862 members of St. Bernhardt's mission were permitted to organize a parish of their own, with the Rev. Fr. Anton Krasney as first pastor. A larger lot was bought at Woodland and Chapel Aves. Another frame edifice was erected and the parish was re-named St. Joseph's.  At the invitation of Bishop Rappe a group of Franciscans took over the parish on Feb. 13, 1868. Under the leadership of Fathers Capistran Zwinge and Dominicus Droessler plans were made for the erection of a larger brick church, monastery and school.  The present church building was dedicated on Oct. 5, 1873.


400 Came here for '59 Singfest
"100 Years of Nationalities in Cleveland"
Thirteenth of a Series
By Theodore Andrica
Cleveland Press, October, 1950

The 1859 national Saengerfest brought to Cleveland 24 German singing societies with 400 singers, from Allegheny, Buffalo, Dunkirk, Canton, Youngstown, Akron, Columbus, Wheeling and Detroit.  This was quite an improvement over the first Saengerfest held here in 1855, when 18 German gesangvereins with 300 singers participated. Another feather in the cap of the Cleveland Germans was the fact that the second song festival came back here so soon after the first.  The second Saengerfest began on June 14, 1850, with a special performance of the opera "Alessandro Stradella." It ended on June 17 with a great parade from the Public Square at Willson Park.  "The German spirit and gemutlichkeit greatly impressed the Americans," commented a German chronicler.  Musical director of this songfest was John Van Oelkers. August Thieme, editor of the then seven year-old Waechter am Erie, delivered a solemn address. 

This second Saengfest followed closely the first German theater seen in Cleveland. On June 13, 1855, members of the Cleveland Gesangverein and of the Cleveland Turnverein presented Schiller's "Rauber" in the local English theater but it remained for a group of traveling German actors to establish the first professional German theater "season" in the winter of 1856.  Heading this group was H.F. Bonnet and the stage director was named Xavier Strasser. A Miss Koerner was the leading lady and the principal male parts were played by Karl Schlehuber.

Hunger for Drama

The hunger for drama was apparently so great among the Germans of Cleveland that they were able to applaud enthusiastically at the end of the first offering even though it was a five-act drama named "The Crowned Murderess." The show was held in the German National Theater, Potter's Block, Ontario St.  Admission was 25 cents for any seat in the house. There was a large sign with the legend "Disturbers of the peace will be thrown out." Free tickets were given "only to the press."  To celebrate this great cultural event properly Herr Bonnet held a dance, at the end of the performance. That it was truly an important event in local German circles can be seen from the attire of most of the public: the men wore long black coats and the women were in "Krinolin," or hoop skirts.

Ran All Winter

For the rest of the winter Herr Bonnet presented the following plays, all in the blood-and-thunder class: "The Murder of the Kaiser of Bainberg," "The Robbers of Maria Culm, or, the Power of Thinking," "The Count of Burgundy, or, Life in the Wilderness."  Bonnet's German troupe was followed by one directed by a Mrs. Keller who presented such gems as "Azarel, or, the Lost Son," "The King of the Alps, or the Misanthrope."  After Mrs. Keller several German theater troupes came and were none staying more than a season. Only in 1872 there was a German theater with local residents formed by Guehlen and Emir Von Der Osten.

"Passing Events"

The Saengerfest and the theater were but passing events in the life of the more religiously minded Cleveland Germans of the 1850 decade. Besides the establishment of the first three German Catholic churches, three more Protestant churches were founded. When 1860 came around. Cleveland Germans had seven Protestant and three Catholic churches.  Trinity Evangelical Lutheran congregation was organized in 1853 by a few West Side German families belonging to Zion Lutheran Church. Its first pastor was the Rev. J. C. W. Lindemann, and the first frame building was erected in 1857 on Jersey St. In 1859 this congregation helped to establish the Lutheran congregation in North Dover, Ohio.

Starts Church in '53

West Side United Evangelical Protestant Church was organized July 20, 1853 by the Rev. Philip Stempel. The Rev. Stempel came from the Rheinfalz in 1849 and was first a teacher in Brighton (now South Brooklyn). He held the pastorate of the West Side United Evangelical Church for 22 years.  St. Paul's German Evangelical Protestant Church was established Apr. 18, 1858, by a group led by Jacob Borger, Nicholas Dorn, Lorenz Gleim, and W. Hanne.  First pastor was the Rev. M. Steinert, who held the pastorate until 1865. A small frame building was erected at Scovill and Greenwood Aves., which was replaced with a brick building in 1870.


German Units in Civil War Union Forces
"100 Years of Nationalities in Cleveland"
Fourteenth of a Series
By Theodore Andrica
Cleveland Press, October 23, 1950

The outbreak of the Civil War was the signal for Cleveland and Ohio Germans to forget whatever differences of opinion they may have had and to demonstrate their loyalty to their new land.  Soon after President Lincoln issued a call for volunteers, Cleveland Germans answered it with complete unanimity. On the political side, the Germans who did not belong to the Republican Party became active in the so-called "War Democratic" section of the Democratic group.  Cleveland Germans kept up their enlistments. When the Civil War ended, the Germans made up one-fourth of the 10,000 soldiers given to the Union cause by Cuyahoga County, as can be seen from the list of names in the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Public Square.  The example set by Cleveland Germans was closely followed by Germans living in other parts of Ohio. Eventually more than a third of the soldiers Ohio gave to the Union cause were German.

11 Regiments

Eleven Ohio regiments were composed mostly of Germans were composed mostly of Germans:  The 37th infantry (Col. Edouard Siber); the 107th (Col. Seraphim Meyer); the 9th (Col. Gustav Kaemmerling); the 28th (Col. August Moore); the 47th (Col. Franz Poschner); the 67th (Col. Otto Burstenbinder); the 106th (Col. Gustav Tafel); the 58th (Col. Valtine Bausenwein); the 74th (Col. Alexander Von Schrader); the 108th (Col. G. F. Limberg); the 165th (Col. Alexander Boehlander).  To this can be added the Third Ohio Cavalry Regiment's Col. Luis Zahm and three German artillery batteries under Lieuts. Louis Hoffman, Hubert Dilger, and Louis Markgran.  Several German Ohioans became generals: Gottfried Weitzel, August V. Kautz, Jacob Ammen, August Moore, Ludwig Von Blsessingh, Franz Darr, Heinrich Giese, Friedrich W. Leister, Edouard S. Meyer, Alexander Von Schrader, and George M. Ziegler.  The first Cleveland Germans who left their city for war were three members of Company E of the First Ohio Volunteer Militia Regiment, formed by members of the Cleveland Grays. The three were Jacob Lohrer, who later became a police captain; Philipe Heege, another police officer, and Edward Umlauft. They left for Washington on April 18, 1861.  The other two Cleveland militia companies, the Cleveland Light Guards and the Sprague Cadets, also had Germans among their ranks. Of the 16 Germans in the Cleveland Light Guards the following died in battle: Frank Wertz, John Bandel, Abraham Guenther, Wilhelm Kell, Charles Stern, Louis Schroeder and Leonhard Waeher.

Pure German Unit

The first purely German unit from Cleveland was Company K of the Seventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment, formed by members of the Cleveland Turnverein. Its first officers were:  Capt. John F. Schutte (died in battle, Aug. 20, 1861); Lieut. C. F. Nietchelm; Oscar W. Sterl (later captain in Ohio's 104 Reg.); Sgt. Ernst J. Krieger (later Major in Ohio's 177th); Sgt. Wilhelm Lauterwasser (the color bearer of his regiment in the July 30, 1862, battle of Port Republic); Sgt. William Voges (who died in the battle of Port Republic).  Sgt. G. H. Bohm, who eventually was taken prisoner but was exchanged and became captain of several companies; Sgt. Adolph Kohlman, who died of typhus in a prisoner-of-war camp in New Orleans, Nov. 13, 1861.  Company K was called to the colors on April 30, 1861. With the Seventh Ohio Volunteer Regiment it participated in the battle of Cedar Mountain. Fredericksburg, Chancerllorsville and Chattanooga.

150 Men Started

The first Cleveland German company started out with 150 men. It lost in various battles 27 men. Thirty were wounded.  In August of 1861 a movement was started to organize a purely German regiment in Ohio. Three companies of Cleveland Germans, mostly members of the Cleveland Gesangverein, formed the core of the regiment which was to be known later as the 37th Infantry.  The officers of the three companies were:  Col. Edouard Siber, Maj. Louis Ankele and Maj. Karl Hipp; Drs. Conrad and Julius Schenk (father and son), Capts. Quedenfeld, John Hamm, George Boehm, Karl Moritz, Theodore Voges, Jacob F. Mery, A. Ballander, Sebastian, Louis Hambert, Charles Meesener, G. W. Krauss, Lieuts. Louis von Blessingh, Votteler, Bfahl, Ambrosius, Christ Hambach, Jacob Kleinschmidt, Henry Goelke, Peterson, A. Stoppel, Louts Ritter, Julius Scheldt and Louis T. Wilms.


107th Ohio Filled With Germans
"100 Years of Nationalities in Cleveland"
Fifteenth of a Series
By Theodore Andrica
Cleveland Press, October 24, 1950

Cleveland Germans formed a great majority of the famed Ohio 107th Infantry Regiment during the Civil War, a unit composed almost entirely of Germans.  The regiment was organized in the fall of 1862, about the same time when another German unit the 20th Battery, was founded. First leader of the 107th was Col. Seraphim Meyer, a Cleveland lawyer who later became a judge in Canton.  In the fall of 1863 this regiment, then part of the 11th Corps, went to South Carolina and Florida where it acquired fame in the battles of Devaux's Creek, Enterprise, Sumterville and Swift Creek.  When Jackson's forces stormed the 11th Corps at Chancellorsville, a near panic developed in the ranks of the 107th.  A Cleveland 48er German, Dr. Karl Hartman, who served as regimental physician, drew his sword and helped to contain the enemy and to reorganize the demoralized regiment. He was killed by an enemy bullet. Dr. Hartman was the only physician in the Civil War who died in actual battle.

Served as Officers

Cleveland Germans who served as officers with the 107th included Gen. Edward S. Meyer, who was gravely wounded at Gettysburg; Maj. George Arnold, at the time a well-known restaurateur; Capt. John M. Lutz, wounded at Gettysburg.  Capts. John Brinker and Anton Mieler, who were promoted to their officer ranks from sergeancy; Capts, John Shrink and Otto Weber, who were staff officers; Lieuts. Julius Sebastian, John Hauer, Conrad Deubel. Quartermaster was Daniel Umbstaetter; Carl Behlen, chaplain; Augustin Schyllander was the pharmacist; William Hurj, the bugler. Sergents were Frank Kupender, John A. Feuerstein and Sigmund Rosenfeld.  The 20th Ohio Battery was another Civil War unit known as "German," although only half of its 243 were Germans, most of them from Cleveland.

Started by Druggist

It was organized by Capt. Louis Smithnight, then a well-known Cleveland druggist. He was born in Saxony in 1834 and came to Cleveland as a lad of 15. Capt. Smithnight became famous as the man who captured the first Confederate cannon, taken in the war. This field piece was brought to Cleveland and placed on Public Square.  The German-speaking Cleveland officers of the 20th battery were Capt. William Backus Sr., Lieuts. Henry Roth, C. F. Nietschelin, Henry Horn, Mathias Adams, Henry Hoehn and William Neracher.  Non-commissioned Germans included Adams Hausman, Philip Schwarz, Paul Walz, John Zeller, Charles Johns, Adam Conrad, Peter Dietrich, John Marquard, George Sommers, George Jansen and Peter Hann.


Turnverein Started Here in 1849
"100 Years of Nationalities in Cleveland"
Sixteenth of a Series
By Theodore Andrica
Cleveland Press, date unknown

Cleveland was the fourth city in America to have a Turnverein. Cincinnati Germans were first, introducing Turnerism in 1848, then came Boston, Philadelphia and Cleveland in 1849 and 1850.  Turnerism, the method of gymnastics established by Frederick Jahn in Germany in 1811, was brought to America by three of his pupils in 1824 but the movement languished for lack of teachers.  The German revolt of 1848 brought to American thousands of desirable emigrants from Germany, among them Frederick Hecker, a leader of the revolt. At Hecker's suggestion his friends in Cincinnati formed the Cincinnati Turngemeinde. Cincinnati's example was soon followed by Cleveland Germans. Jacob Mueller, Karl Gobelli, Jacob Nix, Jacob Arnold, Dr. Karl Hartman, Otto Weber, A. H. Wagner, Fritz Dexheimer, John Probeck, Karl Behlen, the brothers George, Jacob, Henry and Wilhem Lehr, Maier; Brandt, Rettberg were among the founders of the Cleveland Turnverein in late 1849.

Clear Wooded Area

By the spring of 1850 these and other members of Cleveland Turnverein cleared a wooded section, then outside the city, now the comer of Huron and Ontario, and made it into a Turnplatz.  In 1851 they erected a small frame building, Cleveland's first gymnasium. The building was ill equipped but, nevertheless, was the pride of the membership.  When the Civil War came, virtually all members of the Cleveland Turnverein enlisted and the organization ceased functioning.  After the Civil War, surviving Turner members reorganized the groups and built a new hall on Ohio St. (now Central Ave.). When this was merged with the Germania Hall, the building was sold to St. Anthony's Catholic Church.  On Mar. 24, 1867, several West Side Germans met in the Free German School, Mechanic St. (now W. 38th St.) to discuss the organization of a new Turnverein. At the second meeting, Apr.7, 1867, the Socialer Turnverein was formally established.

Meet in School

Louis Grammes was chosen president and Karl J. Gobelli, secretary. Others active in founding were George Raeder, William Lambinus, Wilhelm Lehr, Friedrich Wenz, Heinrich Walther, Theodore Leutz, Friedrich Lehr, Jacob Schlachter, Hans Walter, William Grothe, Dr. Focke, Julius and Herman Mueller.  The new Socialer Turnverein rented the auditorium and the school yard of the Free German School for $75 per year. In September, 1867, the organization became a full fledged member of the North American Turnerbund.  In 1872 the Socialer Tumverein bought the German School property and spent $7,000 to build a new hall. By 1876 the membership and grown so much that a paid gymnastic teacher was employed. He was John Franz, who received $25 per month for teaching two nights a week.

Get New Building

To accommodate the growing membership, a lot was bought in 1883 at 3919 Lorain Ave., the present site of the organization, and a $13,000 building was erected. This building was destroyed by fire in August, 1889. In its place a larger modern structure was erected costing $56,000. Since then the building has been further modernized and today it serves nearly 1,000 members.  East Side members of the former Cleveland Turnverein on Sept. 7, 1876, organized Germania Turnverein and held their gymnastic exercises in the old Turnhall on Ohio St. (Woodland Ave.) until the building was sold to the Cleveland Catholic diocese in 1887.  Under the leadership of Wilhelm Kaufmann, the new Germania Hall was erected in 1888 at the cost of $65,000 on Erie St. (now E. 2416 E. Ninth St.) near Bolivar Rd. Aiding Kaufmann in the new project were Paul Schneider, Adolf Mayer, Dr. Carl Zapp. Louis Uhl, Christian Schuenpbach, John Franz, Herman Pothmann, C. F. Uhl, John Feil, Dr. B. Frause, Leopold Einstein, Louis Wendorf and A. Ernst.  In 1908 the Germania Tumverein merged with Turnverein Vonvaerts, which was founded on May 18, 1890. The Vonvaerts built its new home in 1893 at Willson Ave. and Harlem St., where the East Side Turners have their home now, 1622 E. 55th St.  Among the early leaders of the Vonvaerts were Otto Neuert, George Ridinger, Franz Pfister, Dr. Robert Fischer, Ernst Miller, Ed Henning, H. Guetterie and A. Doehla.


Germans Launched Fairview Hospital in 1889
"100 Years of Nationalities in Cleveland"
Seventeenth of a Series
By Theodore Andrica
Cleveland Press, October 31, 1950

German organizational, religious and cultural life in Cleveland reached its peak during the 40 years that followed the Civil War, ending in the 1910's.  The achievements of Cleveland Germans during this era include the establishment of 24 Protestant and five Catholics churches; the founding of Fairview, Lutheran, St. Alexis' and St. John's hospitals and of the Altenhelm, German old folks' home, 7719 Detroit Ave.  The beginnings of Fairview Hospital lie in the story woven around a small Swiss boy from Bucyrus, O., who fell from a tree and broke his arm in two places.  The arm was not properly set and the boy was sent to a Cleveland hospital for treatment. Friends wrote to Dr. J. H. Stepler: a German reformed minister, asking him to visit the boy.

See Need for Group

Out of this visit developed the idea that Cleveland should have a place where sick and needy Germans and others could be taken care of in a kindly, sympathetic manner.  Dr. Stepler brought the idea to the attention of the German Reformed Church at a meeting in the Second Reformed Church on July 3, 1892. A committee, consisting of Dr. Stepler, Dr. J. H. C. Roentgen and Mrs. A. Young was appointed.  On July 31, 1892, the Society for the Christian Aid to the Sick and Needy was formally organized with 65 members. The management was entrusted to a board consisting of four ministers, four laymen, and four women, all members of the Reformed Church.  The first officers were the Reverends Stepler, Roentgen, F. G. Forwick, E. A. Fuenfstueck; W. Richter, W. Becker, A. Kirchofer, S. Jung and Mesdames A. Jung, F. Forwick, S. Stepler and Miss S. Loewe. Dr. Stepler was elected president and Dr. Rogenten, financial secretary.  Lack of nurses prevented the group from any active hospital work for an entire year. Attending the meeting of the society in July, 1983, was a visitor from Zurich, Switzerland, a Reformed deacon, "Schwester" Katherine Broeckel.  After a visit to her Zurich home, Sister Broeckel returned to Cleveland and on Nov. 15, 1983, she began her active work. At the beginning Sister Broeckel, who lived in the Oltmann home, was visiting the sick in their homes. Her first patient was a Mrs. A. Trautmann.  Eventually Sister Broeckel found a house at 1212 Scranton Rd., three rooms and a kitchen, which she arranged for hospital purposes and opened on Mar. 1, 1894.  On Apr. 15, 1894, a second "Schwester," Miss Anna Hofer, came here from Toledo. As the old Scranton Rd. house proved to be too small, a larger place was rented on Franklin Circle. This, too, proved inadequate and a property was bought on the lot where the present Fairview Hospital is located. Some $16,000 were spent to open this new "German Hospital" on Sept. 8, 1896.

Nurse Resigns

German Hospital, as Fairview Hospital was called until 1917, was built in 1896 on the present site, 3303 Franklin Blvd.

In February, 1897, Sister Broeckel resigned and Sister Anna Hofer succeeded her. In May, 1901, Dr. Roentgen, whose name was conspicuous in the work of the first 10 years of the hospital, was appointed as the first superintendent. He served in this capacity until 1903.  Dr. J. H. Ruetenik and the Rev. Henry Schmidt followed and then the Rev. J. V. Kosower took up the work as full-time superintendent on Jan. 1, 1908.  At the same time that the Rev. Kosower came to the hospital, ground was broken in August, 1907 for a new fireproof hospital building and this was dedicated in May, 1908. During the first World War, the name of "German Hospital" was changed into Fairview Hospital. Superintendents who followed the Rev. F. W. Leich, the Rev. F. H. Diehm. In 1923 the Rev. Philip Vollmer Jr. was named superintendent and he still is serving Fairview Hospital in that capacity.


Germans Started Old Folks' Home
"100 Years of Nationalities in Cleveland"
Eighteenth of a Series
By Theodore Andrica
Cleveland Press, date unknown

Eighty-six Cleveland German women, comprising the West Side Frauenverein, with $233 in their treasury, started the Altenheim, German old folks' home at 7719 Detroit Ave. in 1887.  They held their first meeting for this purpose on Aug. 9 1886, in the Socialer Turnverein. Leaders of the idea included Mrs. Louise Zuelling, Mrs. Jacob Mueller, Mrs. Louise Schlather, Mrs. Karl Schmidt, Mrs. E. Ackerman and Mrs. Charles Ranch.  Bazaar followed bazaar and countless activities were pursued by these women to raise money. They succeeded in interesting a group of German businessmen to give larger donations and on treasury showed $8,051.  These original benefactors included Louis Schlather, J. C. Weideman, Hans Tiedeman, C. G. Gehring, Isaac Leisy, G. V. Muth, Charles Ranch, John Meckes, Mrs. C. Stolz, Mrs. J. Baehr.  With $8,000 in the bank the brave women bought a large plot at the present address for $11,000 and proceeded to raise more funds.  The Walworth Run Bridge Club, the East Side Frauenverein, Mrs. Shlegel, the German Day Committee and the Plattdeuscher Volkfest Committee were among new donors.  With $12,125 in the bank and with Hans Tiedeman as chairman of the building committee, the erection of the home was started and the cornerstone was placed on Sept. 4, 1891. Jacob Krausz helped collect more money among German businessmen and when the Altenhelm.was formally dedicated on Sept. 18, 1892, the cost, $22,142, was all paid.

Hospital Legacy

The idea of founding the Lutheran Hospital grew from a legacy of $4,000 left in 1895 by Mrs. Katherina L. Schierbaum, a Cleveland German woman, to the Lutheran Church for needed but undesignated services for the poor and the sick.  Consequently nine Cleveland Lutheran churches, nearly all German, formed the Evangelical Lutheran Hospital Assn. and on May 26, 1896, the Lutheran Hospital received its state charter.  First officers of the hospital at the time of its founding were the Rev. J. J. Walker, president; F. M. Leuther (father of Winfred, the former president of Western Reserve University), secretary; William Wishmeyer, treasurer; H. F. Luekens and Louis Morton, trustees.  In September, 1896, a frame house was brought at the apex of W. 2Sth and West 29th. St. on Franklin Circle and the building was equipped, rather simply, for hospital purposes.

Opened in 1896

Mrs. Clara Mueller served as matron, cook and nurse. The modest hospital opened in October, 1896, with George Zehnder as the first patient. By the end of the year the hospital had cared for 23 patients.  Of the many groups that have been faithful supporters of Lutheran Hospital from its very inception is the West Side Sewing Circle, organized on May 4, 1897. Included among the organizers were Mrs. Louise Henke, Mrs. John Grieve, Mrs. Henry Moyer, Mrs. August F. Leopold, Mrs. Lena Lange, and Mrs. A. C. Lampe.  In 1898 the Mark Hanna home at 2603 Franklin Blvd. was acquired and occupied by Lutheran Hospital and in the same year the nurses' school was established. 

Acquire More Land

In 1912 the Wormington property, immediately east of the old Hanna home, was purchased for a nurses' home. The hospital grew so rapidly that the Hanna and the Wormington homes were razed to make way for a new hospital building, dedicated July 9, 1922.  Eventually additional property was acquired around the building, a new wing was erected, parking lots were made, and a new nurses' home was built. The latest addition and modernization was done last year.  Present superintendent of Lutheran Hospital is Lee S. Lanpher.


2 Hospitals Founded by Germans
"100 Years of Nationalities in Cleveland"
Nineteenth of a Series
By Theodore Andrica
Cleveland Press, November 3, 1950

Among the lasting accomplishments of Cleveland Germans were the founding of St. Alexis Hospital on July 16, 1884, and St. John's Hospital on May 15, 1892.  St. Alexis Hospital was founded by two German Franciscan Sisters: Leonarda and Alexia, natives of Westphalia, Germany. The sisterhood to which they belonged had arrived only a few years previously from Germany and had established a community house in Lafayette, Ind.  Bishop Richard Gilmour asked Sisters Leonarda and Alexia to come to Cleveland and establish a hospital in the vicinity of the rapidly growing steel district on Broadway, a neighborhood which at that time was "remote" from Cleveland.  Knowing little English, the two sisters arrived in Cleveland on July 16, 1884 with the clothes that covered them and less than $2 in money.

Broadway and McBride

Rev. Fr. Kilian Schlosser, then pastor of St. Joseph's Catholic German Church, received the two nuns and rode with them in a carriage over unpaved Broadway to the corner of McBride Ave.  There was an old house set in a struggling garden. The brick building had eight rooms and was originally used as a school and later as the home of a group of eight Poor Clares.  In common with other houses in the neighborhood, the house was candle lit, had no plumbing.  A kind neighbor, Mrs. Frank Buettner, came to help prepare supper and brought some bedding for the two nuns. They ate their first meal in Cleveland at an oilcloth-covered table.  The following morning Father Schlosser said mass in the small frame chapel adjoining the brick house. It was July 17, 1884, the feast of St. Alexis, hence the name of the hospital.

Others Aided Sisters

Gradually, Mrs. Buettner, the kind neighbor, was joined by others in aiding Sisters Leonarda and Alexia. These early benefactors included:  Mr. and Mrs. Henry Beckman, Mr. and Mrs. Herman Beckman, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Kramer, Mr. and Mrs. C. A. Grasselli, Mr. and Mrs. L. A. Russell, Harvey Rice, John Wagner, and Messrs. Blee, Fitzimmons, Born, Hullmann, and Mrs. Pulte.  Dr. Joseph Sykora was the little hospital's first physician. By the end of 1884 the number of patients cared for was 25, all charity cases.  In April, 1885, a new frame building was completed, making room for 34 beds. There were 111 patients in 1885, 92 of whom were charity cases. New buildings were added in 1891 and a entirely new hospital was erected and opened on Oct. 4, 1897. Still later, on June 16, 1903, the present main building was dedicated.  Sister Leonarda, one of the founders, died in 1916.

West Side Was Next

After St. Alexis' Hospital was started, Bishop Gilmour asked Sisters Leonarda and Alexia to establish a similar institution on the West Side.  The building fund for St. John's Hospital began with $700 raised by the two sisters and $1,200 from a bazaar held in 1888.  A donation of $5,000 by W. J. Gordon made possible the purchase of a large plot in 1890, on which a two- story frame building was erected. It was opened by Bishop Horstman on May 12, 1892. Among the early benefactors of St. John's were Rev. Fr. G. F. Houck, Herman Beckman, Mrs. Farnam, Dr. Theodore Weed, Dr. Humiston.  Sisters Beatrix Susanna and Juliana for St. Alexis' staff were appointed to lead new John's Hospital; with Sister Beatrix as supervisor.  In 1899 a large adjoining lot was bought by Bishop Horstman and a new structure was built which eventually was razed to give way to the present brick structure.  The cornerstone of the present building was laid Sept. 27, 1914.


Earlier Schools Stressed German
"100 Years of Nationalities in Cleveland"
Twentieth of a Series
By Theodore Andrica
Cleveland Press, November 7, 1950

From 1859, when teaching of the German language was first introduced in the Cleveland High School, to the early 1900's, the German language was as important in the educational system here as any major subject, mathematics, for example.  During the period mentioned the Cleveland school system had "German" superintendents and it had as many as 172 German teachers.  Teaching of German began in Cleveland as soon as the earliest German Protestant churches were established in the 1840's, but it remained for the so-called 48ers to put the German language on the educational map.  The earliest German element had little interest in any movement that was not directly connected with its churches. A contemporary German writer complained that "the very old Germans took of their hats to the Yankees and forgot their mother tongue."  The newest Germans, arriving here in the 1850's, brought new enthusiasm for their cultural background. With idealism and sparing no expense they worked to insure the perpetuation of the German language. While disagreeing on many subjects, the new Germans agreed unanimously on the question of teaching German.  The first German schools in the early 1850's were the three maintained by the Freimaenner Bund. Franz Georgi and F. P. Schroeder were the teachers at the one on St. Clair Ave. and Erie St. (now E. 9th).  The second was on Mechanic St. (W. 38th St.) where George Raeder and Karl Gobelli were the teachers. The third was on Laurel St. (part of Scovill Ave.) in the building which later was known as Teutonia Hall, where Wilhelm Buerger was the teacher.  German was introduced in the Cleveland High School in 1859 when Karl Ruger was hired as professor of German at the annual salary of $1200. Students in the senior class could take German instead of higher mathematics.  It remained for Andrew J. Rickoff to introduce German in elementary schools. When he came to Cleveland in 1867 there were 2,000 pupils in the German Free Schools and church schools.  First German superintendent was Konrad Hotze and the first German elementary school teachers were:  Miss Emma Reisch, Rockwell School; Miss Flora Kahnheimer, Willey School; Miss Ottilie Esen, Case School; Miss Auguste Krehbiel, Rice School; F. P. Schroeder and Miss Mary Heinsohn, Bradburn (Brownell) School; August Esch, Sterling School; Miss Emma Krehbiel, L. F. Wilhelm and William Buerger, Mayflower School: Miss Julia Berger, Miss Amalia Pfund and John Raeder, Orchard School; Miss Emilie Wucherer, Wade School and John Glueck at University (Tremont) School.  Louis Klemm followed Hotze as German superintendent in 1875. August Esch followed Klemm in 1877, then came Joseph Krug, who in turn was succeeded by Herman Woldmann in 1895.  German-English textbooks were introduced in 1877 by the School Board and this action brought criticism from both the German and the "American" element of the city. The Germans considered the quality of their books inferior, the "Americans said that money was spent uselessly."  By 1891 fully 51% of all schools pupils took instruction in German, but by 1901 the percentage went down to 41%.  Besides the instruction given in public school, German was taught to 5000 pupils in eight Catholic German schools, and to 4000 pupils in eight German Protestant churches.


Friendship Glowed in Old German Cafes
"100 Years of Nationalities in Cleveland"
21st of a Series
By Theodore Andrica
Cleveland Press, November 13, 1950

Besides singing societies and Turnvereins, Germans contributed another institutions that brought genuine "gemuetlichkeit" to life in Cleveland.  This was the old fashioned "wirtschaft" or as it was called by the non-German: the saloon, or cafe.  The early German saloons were not only places where alcoholic refreshments were sold but also meeting places for congenial friends. This was an important thing in an era when private-clubs were non-existent.  It would be an error to think that the early German tavern keepers chose their trade only because of money making possibilities. There was a definite pride in the profession on those days, pride that was part of the make-up of every "wirtschaftbesitzer" in the old country.

A Friendly Scene

An old-fashioned German saloon keeper knew every customer by name, and the "stammtisch," the table where the same people met at the same time every day, was an integral part of every German tavern.  One of the oldest German taverns in Cleveland was run by A. Seywert who in 1850 had his restaurant on the second floor of an old brick building at the corner of Superior and Water St. (now W. 9th). Here one could find, day or night, congenial German company.  Since whisky was sold for only five cents per glass, many young Germans who lived in unheated rooms found Seywert's tavern a cheap place to keep warm, meet congenial people, all for five cents a drink.

Slight Interruptions

Nearby was the central fire station. As most Germans who frequented Seywert's saloon were volunteer firemen, when a fire broke out the customers put on their helmets and rushed to the fire. Then they returned to Seywert's and drank to each other’s health.  In the same vicinity was Friedrich Wagner's tavern and restaurant. In his native Wuertemberg Herr Wagner, was a teacher of writing, poetry, and piano. He came to Cleveland in the 1850's and soon opened a restaurant and tavern but he kept on giving writing, poetry, and piano lessons.

His Home Was Busy

Herr Wagner believed in advertising. Here is how he told the world about his wares:  "I give German lessons to children, 10 cents for 25 hours, when they come in a group. Piano lessons, 20 hours for $1, either on my own piano or at the pupil's home. I will teach handwriting and will write letters to Germany cheap."  "I will also write, and teach the writing of, poems for any occasion, be the subject satire, politics or moral, three cents a line. My wife will teach housekeeping, including the sewing of shirt cuffs, $1 for 16 hours."  Carl Miller opened the winter season of his saloon with a grand ball on Oct. 3, 1851, in his Empire Hall, Miller, who was an officer in the Schleswig-Holstein artillery before coming to America, promised good music and wines from the Rhine and France.  Napoleon House, at the corner of St. Clair Ave. and Water St. (W. 9th) was "Father" Emrich's famous German tavern in the late 1850's. Emrich served under Napoleon in Spain and was a fanatic worshipper of the French emperor.  When guests who knew his foibles belittled Napoleon, Emrich simply put them out of his tavern.  Bechtel House, run by "Father" Bluim, was near Napoleon House on St. Clair Ave. Bluim had only one kind of wine, which he called "Isabella." Whenever a customer criticized his wine, Bluim would throw the man out of the saloon.

First Tapped Beer

To William Richter goes the honor of serving "Lager," or beer on tap, for the first time in Cleveland. Richter came here from Saxony and opened a saloon and boarding house on Ontario St.  After he introduced lager beer, his tavern became one of the most popular German meeting places in Cleveland. Richter's popularity had one drawback, he complained to friends: his steadiest customers were the most irregular payers.  Photo caption: German taverns were among the best known cafes in the early days of Cleveland. Most of them went out of business when Prohibition came along.


German Saloons Faded by 1900
"100 Years of Nationalities in Cleveland"
22nd of a Series
By Theodore Andrica
Cleveland Press, November, 1950

Up to the early 1900's the German saloons and summer gardens were as much part of the German picture in Cleveland as were the Turn and Gesangvereins and the churches.  The beer industry growth brought more competition in the tavern field, the industry of the free lunch brought more "strangers" into the "wirthschaft" and the place of the familiar "stammtisch," the table in a saloon where friends met daily, was taken by private clubs.  Toward the turn of the century the rapid industrialization of the city killed off another venerable German custom: the Blue Monday. In the old days it was the custom of skilled workers to nurse their hangovers acquired during the weekend on Monday, hence the name: "Blaue Montag."  Eventually the genuine old fashioned German saloon was gone and when prohibition came along the spirit of "gemuetlichkeit," too was gone.  One of the oldest German saloons in Cleveland was Carl Frank's "wirtschaft" on Bellevue Place, where the Haymarket was established later. This was a real German "Volksgarden" and it was here that the first Cleveland Turners held their exercises in the 1850's.  Lang's beer saloon at Erie and Parkman Sts. (East Ninth and Scovill) was the favorite place of the Blue Monday fraternity.  Schlegel's tavern nicknamed "Jerusalem" was nearby. German Jews who lived around the former Central Market, up to Woodland and Perry Sts., were steady guests at both Lang's and Schlegel's, but mostly in the last.  Among the daily guests in Schlegel's and Lang's were such German pioneers as Jacob Finger, Moritz Liebich, John Messer, Henry Gaentzler, Franz Kaltemeyer, Heinrich Rochotte, Karl Buerger, Karl Duefeld, Karl Ankele, Gregor Dietz, Franz Reinhard, Joseph Agricola, Paul Heine, Dr. Wuest, P.F. Schroeder, Louis Krueger, Karl Schneider, Daniel Uhl and Karl Roszkopf.  Spring Cottage was a cafe and restaurant on Lake St., owned by John G. R. Frey. Many balls were held there and the first fireworks, on special occasions, were the talk of the town.  Paul Schmidt opened at saloon and boarding house on Chatham St., on the "West Side", in the middle 1850's. In 1863 he moved his place "downtown," to 82 Michigan St., where the Terminal group is now located.  Seiler's saloon, on Michigan St. next to Schmidt's, was a favorite meeting place for the German "elite." In the 1860's Frank Haltnorth opened his tavern, the Wilhelm Tell, on Walter (W. 9th) St. His place was very popular in the Civil War era.  At the corner of Forest St. where the Erie tracks cross, was Dangelem's beer tavern and garden, a very popular place for German families. Trinkner's Garden, on Kinsman St. was a much frequented German picnic ground.  Well known German beer gardens were Kindsvater's on E. 55th St.; Dahler's on Tod St.; Raaf s in Brooklyn; Sommer's Tivolian Garden on Pearl St.; Gieszen's; Hoffman's Forest; Lied's Tavern; F. Diebold's and F. H. Benz taverns.  Other old German taverns were Joseph Kieferle's Black Whale on Champlain St.; Albert Eisele's saloon at Superior and Bond (E. Sixth) St.; Paul Heine's or Water (W. Ninth) St.; Fred Sheurmann's Tavern on Huron St.; Boehmke's on E. Ninth St.; E. Kirchstein's; Lemberth's Central Hotel on Champlain St.; Brun Schwarzer's on Lorain St.; Silberg Brothers on Columbus Rd.; Weber's 242 Superior St.; Grebe's on E. Fourth St.; John Naumann's on Ontario St.


Germans Were Pioneers of Cleveland Brewing
"100 Years of Nationalities in Cleveland"
23rd of a Series
By Theodore Andrica
Cleveland Press, November, 1950

The development of Cleveland's brewing industry is closely connected with the story of the Germans here.  The word "beer" was unknown to the native Clevelanders as late as 1850. Only ale was consumed here in those days. There were exactly three persons who satisfied the needs of the town with ale.  Ives, whose place was on the spot where later the White Sewing Machine plant was erected; J. M. Hughes on West River St. and Keyes on St. Clair Ave.  Beer was imported from Buffalo; Philadelphia and Pittsburgh until two Germans, Schmidt and Hoffman, founded the first beer brewery in Cleveland in 1852 on Ansel Ave. Three decades later Uris Brewery was known as the Cleveland Brewing Co.

First Breweries Built

In 1855 Stumpf Bros. established their small brewing plant at comer of Davenport and Lake Aves., where much later the George F. Gund Brewery was located. About the same time Mathias Mack established a brewery on the place where the waterworks were erected.  In rapid succession came the breweries of John Dangeleisen on Forest St. near Broadway and of a man named Mueller who opened shop where later the Leisy Brewery was established.  In 1857 Leonhard Schlather started brewing beer in a plant at Bridge and York St. and in the same year Carl Ernest Gehring which later was named for him. 

Small Output

In this area of brewing the methods of beer making were simple. The average brewery had a capacity of only four barrels and its full production was used by a certain saloon or "wirtschaft."  The malt was ground in a mill driven by horse. There was no ice in those days, consequently beer could not be made in the summer time. During the winter months brewers made as many barrels of beer as they could store in their cellars.  After the first ice cellar was established in Cleveland in 1870, beer making became a year round industry.  Columbia Brewing was established by Stoppel Bros. On Commercial St. in 1860, the same year when Keidel opened his Star Brewing Co. The latter was sold to George Muth and later to John M. Leicht and Strangmann.

The Beer Pioneers

Two partners, Lezius and Uihlein, founded at the corner of Jackson and Pittsburgh Sts. in 1861 the brewery which was acquired by J. Diebolt in 1891 and became known as Diebolt Brewing Co.  Two German pioneers, Kindsvater and Mall, established their brewery in 1860 on Davenport St. It was taken over later by Jacob Mall.  Isaac and August Leisy, natives of Griedelshein, Bavaria, came to Cleveland from Iowa in 1872 to attend a brewers' convention. They liked the city so much that the following year they took over the old Haltnorth Brewery at Vega and Rhodes Aves. And developed it into one of the largest breweries in Ohio.  In 1882 August Leisy went to Kansas. Isaac died here in 1892. His death was a great loss to the Cleveland German community since he had been a generous supporter of all German activities.

Son Carries On

His son Otto continued his father's interest in Cleveland German affairs.  The Beltz Brewing Co., Slather and Outwaithe Aves., was founded by Joseph Beltz in 1876.  George F. Gund came to Cleveland from Seattle in 1897 and bought the Jacob Mall Brewing Co. on Davenport St.  W. A. Oppman, native of Wuerzburg, Germany, opened his brewery in 1875 at Columbus and Willet Sts., and several years later merged it with the Phoenix Brewery Co.  In 1897 the Cleveland and Sandusky Brewing Co. was formed through the consolidation of the following breweries: Gehring, Cleveland, Phoenix, Columbia, Bohemian, Star, Baehr, Barrett, Union, Schlather, all of Cleveland, and Keubler and Stang of Sandusky.


Pastor Fought for 1st Yule Tree
"100 Years of Nationalities in Cleveland"
24th of a Series
By Theodore Andrica
Cleveland Press, November, 1950

Now that the first winter storm has hit and Christmas is approaching with a seemingly amazing speed, it is good to know that it was a Cleveland German clergyman who made the Christmas tree an integral part of Christmas in America.  He was Heinrich Christian Schwan, a native of Horneburg, a province of Hanover, Germany, who came to Cleveland in 1851 to take over the pastorate of Zion Lutheran German Church, Erie (E. 9th) and Eagle Sts.  Pastor Schwan was born in 1819 and after graduating from the universities of Goettingen and Jena in 1838, he entered a theological school and was ordained in 1843. Immediately he left for missionary work in Leopoldina, Brazil. There he married Miss Emma Blum in 1849 and the two came to the United States, first serving in Black Jack, Mo., and then in Cleveland.

First Appearances

Christmas trees in the Chancel of Zion Lutheran Church

Rev. Schwan's first Christmas with his new congregation in Cleveland proved later to be a memorable one, since it was then in the winter of 1851 that he introduced the first Christmas tree in his gabled, small church building.  It was not much of a tree but it was lighted with candles and decorated with colored paper chains, pasted together with flour. A few walnuts and apples were also tied to the branches.  The Christmas tree stayed in Pastor Schwan's church for two Sundays, then to avoid open quarrel, he removed it into his own back yard.

Fights for Tree

Rev. Schwan then began his missionary work in behalf of the Christmas tree. He told his congregation and his Cleveland friends that in Hanover, where he came no Christmas was complete without the lighted and decorated fir tree.  He wrote his fellow clergymen in various parts of the country telling them of his difficulties in introducing the Christmas tree in Cleveland. He received several reassuring letters in which he was told that lighted Christmas trees were seen in other Christian countries, too.  Villages along the Rhine observed the custom already in the 17fh century, Finland had its first tree in 1800, Denmark in 1810, Norway in 1828, Vienna in 1817, Sweden in 1817.

Gets Wooster Backer

The most reassuring letter Pastor Schwan received was from Wooster, Ohio. In it he was told that a German youth of that town, August Imgard by name, had introduced the Christmas tree in his home in Wooster in 1847 and that he had no difficulty with anybody about it.  Neither Imgard nor Pastor Schwan knew that decorated Christmas trees were used in Philadelphia, in 1834, in Fort Dearborn in 1804 and in Rochester, N.Y. in 1840, but none of the places did the innocent tree create any impression nor inspire imagination.  Once reassured that the Christmas tree was not of pagan origin, Pastor Schwan became a self-appointed missionary for its wider use during the Christmas season.  Pastor Schwan eventually became among the most noted Lutheran clergymen of America and served for many years as president of the Evangelical Lutheran School of Missouri. His pastorate at Zion Church in Cleveland ended in 1888.  The golden jubilee of his pastorate here was celebrated with great pomp in 1893 in the Music Hall on Vincent St. He has three sons: G. C. Schwan and G. H. Schwan, attorneys, and Rev. Peter Schwan, former pastor of the Willson Avenue Lutheran Church.


Germans Began Many Industries
"100 Years of Nationalities in Cleveland"
Twenty-Fifth of a Series
Cleveland Press, date unknown

The Germans were in the front ranks of the immigrants who brought considerable skill to Cleveland and who had a major share in this city's commercial and industrial movement.  The Germans' skill and generally acknowledged thoroughness enabled them to establish all sorts of enterprises, many of which, brought fame and prosperity to Cleveland.  Illustrating the Cleveland Germans' diversity of enterprise even in the early days of the city's industrial and commercial history is this list of German firms which advertised in the first issue of the Waechter Am Erie, Aug. 9, 1852.  Luetkemeyer and Schmidthausen, Superior and Vineyard, hardware, German books and insurance agency; Wagner Brothers, 23 Water (W. Ninth) St., chairs; F. and C. Born, stoves; John Gerlach, 71 River (W. 11th) St., boots and shoes; Joseph Degan, 9 Water St., toys.  Valentine Ziemer, 6 Union St. clothing; Schulz Brothers, Bank (W. Sixth) St., furniture; J. Kuehnhold 12 Water St., tailor; F. J. Borges, Superior and River Sts., clothing; Bratenahl Brothers, leather; M. Dietz, attorney and notary; A. Seywertz, employment agency.

Grew in Number

With the growth of German immigration immediately before and after the Civil War, the number of German skilled workers and tradesmen also grew rapidly. By the turn of the century the Germans' share in the business life of Cleveland was more than considerable.  Although Cleveland Germans opened all kinds of shops, a study of their enterprises in the 1900's indicates they were particularly prominent in the following fields:  Stoves and ranges, brewing, carriage making, hardware and metals, taverns, wines and liquors, bakeries, general undertakings and furniture, cigar making, greenhouses, and on the West Side, banking.  Paul Schneider, Henry Trenkamp, Edward Dangler, George A. Tinnennan, Heinrich and Carl Born pioneered in the manufacture of stoves and were responsible for making Cleveland the center of stove manufacturing in the nation.

First in Their Field

When Friedrich and Carl Born established their small stove-making shop at 14 Water St. in 1847, they claimed to have been the first in the country to make steel ranges. Later the shop was moved to 122 Superior St.  Jacob Raunch, an early German immigrant, started a small wagon carriage shop in 1846. His son, Charles, succeeded him and formed a partnership with Charles Lang. The fine quality of their production made them know in all Ohio.  They later manufactured a high-quality electric vehicle. With the advent of the automobiles, the business developed into the manufacture of custom automobile bodies under the name of Lang Body Co.

Wagon Makers

Henry Heideloff, a native of Kassel, Germany, came to Cleveland in 1850 and became a wagon and carriage maker and followed his trade up to the turn of the century. He died in 1915.  Wilhelm Woltman came to Cleveland with his parents from Hannover in 1856. In 1874 he established the Woltman Carriage & Wagon Works at Woodland and Liden Aves.  The Harm Carriage Works at 811 Woodland Ave. was founded in 1865. Gustav Schaefer established his carriage shop at 911 Lorain Ave. in 1882. Schaefer's widely known motto read: "My work is my best advertisement."  Other carriage makers included W. H. Gabriel at 50 Michigan St., Fred Gruse at 1412 Pearl St., Kruce & Hessler at 1510 Pearl St., Wilhelm Schmidt and Fred Schuster at 167 Abbey Viaduct, Andrew Schell at 18 Broad St., Ernst Rose at Clark and Burton Sts. and C. F. Hanger, 44 East Prospect.  W. C. Langenau, a native of Dietz-Nassau, learned the machinist's trade in the old country and came to America in 1867. With $128 of his own and $450 he had borrowed, he opened in 1870 a machine shop which later developed into the present Langenau Co., 8403 Franklin Ave. Langenau's daughter married former Mayor McKisson.


Golden Era of German Life Reached in ’07 by Theodore Andrica – Cleveland Press, December 7, 1950

The golden era of German life in Cleveland reached its peak when the Gothe-Schiller monument was dedicated in Wade Park on June 9, 1907.   The 60,000 Clevelanders of German birth or origin who attended this great event formed the largest number of Cleveland Germans assembled at any time in this city’s history.  Even Kaiser Wilhelm sent a personal message as did Charles Fairbanks, vice president of the United States.  The celebration closed with the singing of “Die Wacht am Rhein” and “The Star Spangled Banner”.  Ten years afterwards, American boys fought German soldiers, an event that had not only world-wide repercussions but it also ended the most active period of German life in Cleveland.  When Cleveland Germans dedicated the Goethe-Schiller monument in 1907, they could look back with a certain amount of satisfaction to their accomplishments, personal and as a racial group.  From 1836, when the first German society was founded in Cleveland, until 1907, the Cleveland Germans established the following institutions and organizations:  Forty-nine Protestant churches, of which 12 were Evangelical Protestant; 11 Lutheran, nine Reformed, five Methodist, four United Brethren, four Baptist, one Episcopal, one Mission, one Christian and one United Christian.  German Catholics established by that time seven Catholic Churches and there were six German-speaking Jewish synagogues.  There existed at the time two Protestant and two Catholic German hospital and a home for the aged.    In addition, the Cleveland Germans had 20 singing societies, five military associations, 18 home-town societies, 83 fraternal lodges and 20 miscellaneous social organization.  In that period of its existence, the Waechter und Anzeiger German daily employed nearly 100 persons and was nearly as influential in the city’s public affairs as the English-language papers. 

From the above, it can be seen that in the 1910’s Cleveland Germans had a grand total of 214 major organizations, not including the large number of church societies.  This figure does not include the organizations  supported and established by the Banater Germans, the Saxons, the Austrians or other German-speaking Clevelanders.  The Goethe-schiller statue was followed with that of Richard Wagner, unveiled in Edgewater Park on Oct. 15, 1911.  Ernst J. Siller, partner in the Weideman Co. and Leonard Schlather, well-known brewer, were the foremost contributors to the Wagner fund.

Other events sponsored by Cleveland Germans which brought national fame to this city were:

The “Fest des Freimsennersbund” on June 5, 1853; the Robert Blum Memorial in honor of the martyrs of the ’48 revolution, held Nov. 9, 1853.  The national Saengerfest, May 28, 1855; the centennial of Schiller’s birthday, Nov. 10, 1859; the festival in honor of the German scientist, Alexander von Humboldt, Sept. 4, 1869.

The Victory Festival of April 8-11, 1871, was held to celebrate the German triumph in the Franco-Prussian War.  All of Cleveland was decorated with American and German flags and a huge Arch of Triumph was erected on the Public Square.

The first “German Day” in Cleveland was held on Aug. 4, 1890, and included a parade that lasted four hours.  The Germans’ participation in the Cleveland Centennial celebration in July, 1896, included a mass meeting of German churches, attended by 5,000.

The 150th birthday anniversary of Goethe was celebrated by Cleveland Germans with a festive program in the Opera House on July 7, 1899.  The last national Saengerfest held in Cleveland before the First World War was on July 11, 1893.

World War Ended German Era by Theodore Andrica, Cleveland Press December 13, 1950

The first World War was a decisive blow to German organization life in Cleveland.  When the war ended, many efforts were made to revive the golden era of German life here but most efforts were without much success.  By 1920 many of the old German pioneers had died, a great number of Clevelanders of German parentage could not even speak German any more and to the grandchildren of the pioneers, Germany was just another country on the map.  Even the fresh post-World War I German immigration did not help very much.  Although the old German pioneers and the new German immigrants spoke a common language, their background was different.  The older Germans came from a peaceful Fatherland, the new came from a defeated Reich.  World War I caused such an emotional “patriotic” outburst against anything and everything German that even the innocent sauerkraut was renamed liberty cabbage.  Generally speaking, Cleveland Germans fared better during World War I than did their brethren in other parts of Ohio.  There is no authentic record that in Cleveland “patriotic” Americans forced any German to kneel and kiss the American flag, a practice in which several Ohio towns indulged.  In Cleveland the first manifestation of anti-German feeling was the introduction of “No Germans Need Apply” on factory walls.  As the manpower shortage increased, this sign disappeared.  Shortly after this country entered the war against Germany, April 6, 1917, the German names of many streets were “Americanized” by the City Council.  Councilman Jimmy McGinty sponsored the ordinance.  Thus Hoffman Avenue became Kosciuszko Ave; German Street was changed to Simms Street; Germania Alley to Edward Court; Hannover Ct. to Masterson Ct. and Berlin St. to E. 117th St.  A move was initiated to change the name of Biddulph Rd. but it was found to be an old English name, so the contemplated change was canceled.  The Cleveland Press published spirited editorials against the Waechter und Anzeiger, intimating that the Waechter’s policy was not fully American.  Mayor Harry L. Davis appears to have sided with the Waechter in defending its American patriotism, a fact duly noted by The Press.  The May 2, 1917 meeting of the School Board was marred by charges and countercharges that a certain school principal of German descent be investigated about on charges of disloyalty.  We read in the April 16, 1917, issue of the Press that Cleveland Germans repudiated the statement of Herman Fellinger, a member of the mayor’s War Commission, who allegedly said that German Americans would not aid in a move to plant gardens on vacant lots to increase food production.  Municipal Judge Dan C. Cull sentenced several persons to 30 days in jail for saying – usually in saloons – something like this:  “The Kaiser will lick the U.S. and I am going to help him do it.”  Several efforts were made to stamp out teaching of the German language in Cleveland schools.  On May 6, 1918, the School Board voted, 6 to 1, to continue the study of German in Cleveland High Schools.  The study of German was, however, dropped from grade schools on “patriotic” grounds.   On April 6, 1917, the German Club, consisting of 950 members voted unanimously to tender the American government the use of its club at W. 25th St. and Prame Ave., for any prupose.  These and many similar incidents illustrate the unsettled frame of mind that gripped Cleveland in regard to the Germans living here.  Nothing indicated more dramatically that an era had ended among the Germans here, however, than the fact that even the German ladies’ afternoon “kaffeekraenzchen” were suspended for the duration.


When the Germans Came to Cleveland by S.J. Kelly, October 18, 1939 Plain Dealer

East, west and south, the Germans settled in Cleveland as early as 1829.  Of 600 emigrants who came in two weeks’ time, 20 percent were Germans.  Following were many others from Quebec through Rochester or by the Erie Canal.  Groups traveled on foot from Buffalo over rough roads, the women carrying large bags on their heads.  They camped in rough roadside shelters and hidden in their bundles were rix-dollars of Prussia.  A few had dubloons and florins.

Not all remained in Cleveland.  Those with guide books teeming with glowing descriptions of the west pushed on into the state.  By 1830, an influx of German settlers had set in.  There was no racial census or list of names kept by the village and Carl Sheekley is the first German known to have become a resident.  By 1833, there were the Silbergs, butchers and proprietors of an emigrant house; W. Kaiser; the Neeb family; Denker and Borges, tailors; Wigman, a mason; Schiele, a gardener; Dietz, watchmaker; Heisel, later a chocolate maker; John Krehbiehl; the Diemer, Finger, Riser and Frey families; and these were followed shortly by the Wanglein, Laisy, Steinmeir, Hassenmueller, Ehringer, Schaaf, Heninger and Umbstaetter families; and Fritz Hoffman.

Far beyond the town’s limits, some cultivated farms.  St. Clair Avenue and E. 55th Street long was a quiet German neighborhood while many worked truck farms in the level tract stretching toward town now covered by streets branching from Superior.  Two miles south from the lake, on either side of E. 55th Street, were settlements on land now cut by Central and Quincy Avenues while the truck farms extended out Broadway beyond Kingsbury Run.

The majority of Germans in those early days settled in old Brooklyn Township west of the Cuyahoga, a village soon to become Ohio City, and many made homes along what today is Lorain Avenue.  Industrious, eager to assist in developing the business of the two cities, leading in affairs of public weal, they were true citizens in the fullest sense of the word.  Many who came in 1834 and 1835 were political refugees, bringing learning and culture.  On February 22, 1836, the German Society of Cleveland was organized for benevolence and diffusion of useful knowledge among its members.  G. Meyers was president; T. Umbstaetter, secretary; and J.J. Meier, treasurer.  The first standing committee included Conrad Gentsch, Charles Bader, Charles Silberg, H. Heisel and D. Crolly.  There were 50 members the next year and the future was to see the organization promote many of the city’s great music festivals.

Though divided among the Protestant, Catholic and Luther faiths, the Germans of Cleveland were deeply religious.  In 1834, a chapel was fitted up in Shakespeare Hall on Superior Lane.  Soon a Catholic congregation of 1,000 members of different nationalities worshiped there, including Germans.  Rev. John Dillon was pastor until his death on Oct. 15, 1936.  The first German Protestant congregation was worshiping in the Academy on St. Clair Street.  Two services were held each Sunday beginning at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.  Rev. William Steinmeir was pastor of the 400 who attended.  With some of the early settlers mentioned, the wardens included Conrad Gemeiner, Henry Schumacher and C. Scher.  The first German Lutheran Church – the Zum Schifflein Christi – organized in 1835, seven years later was to build its first house of worship at Erie (E. 9th) and Hamilton Streets.

The first German Evangelical Protestant Congregation was formed April 26, 1835, with Rev. John H. Tanke, as minister.  Their place of worship was a room on the upper floor of the Hancock Building at the northwest corner of Superior and Seneca Streets.  On June 24, 1839, Rev. Charles Allardt was elected pastor.  Six years after organization, the members were to lay the cornerstone of a large church, also on Erie Street.  The Evangelical, Zion and German Methodist churches were to form congregations a decade later and to have houses of worship in different parts of the city, and the German Baptist Church was built a third of a century after any German congregation met.


City Loses a Helpful Friend in Closing of German Paper
Cleveland Press, May 31, 1954

Shutdown of the Waechter und Anzeiger, the city's last German language newspaper, is an unwelcome milestone along a road that reaches proudly back into the days of the Cleveland's early growth and the beginnings of its greatness.  Cleveland always has been an important gathering place for the refugees from the endless political unrest of Germany.  All through the busy and productive decades of the late 19th Century, Germans outnumbered all others among the immigrants who came to Cleveland, and helped build it into a great and thriving city.  Throughout those years for more than a century now, Waechter und Anzeiger was the window through which these newcomers for their first glimpse and their first understanding of their new homeland.  It was a sturdy shoulder on which these uncertain newcomers could lean, a voice easily understood amid the strange tongues and the strange customs of a new land.  Its closing is another reminder that these days are over now, that this country, and this city, no longer will have the periodic invigoration of masses of energetic, earnest immigrants.  While the Germans and the others of the city's amazingly cosmopolitan population still cherish some of the customs of their homelands, its many tongues have become one.  This newspaper has played a significant and constructive part in the building of Cleveland.  Both its passing, and the reasons which brought it about, are regretted.


Girls' Junior High Planned at Notre Dame Academy Site
By Marjorie Schuster
Schools Writer
Cleveland Press, June 21, 1963

Cleveland's first public junior high school for girls only may be opened before the year is out.  Location would be the present Notre Dame Academy building at 1325 Ansel Rd. That school is being moved to the Notre Dame Center in Geauga County, and the Cleveland property reportedly is being offered for sale for $1,200,000.  A preliminary study by Cleveland school officials shows that with practically no changes the building could use 500 to 600 girls. It could be remodeled to accommodate as many as 1,000 pupils, according to Alva R. Dittrick, deputy superintendent in charge of secondary schools.

Temporary Solution

Acquisition of the Notre Dame property for this use would be at least a temporary solution to the acute housing problem at Patrick Henry Junior High, which now has the biggest junior high enrollment in the state. It will go to 2,400 in September.  There would also be some relief for the crowded situation at Empire, Addison, and Harry Davis Junior Highs.  Dittrick said the experiment with a school for girls in the 13 to 15-year-old bracket long has been desired. School officials want to see, he said, if such an atmosphere would ease the transition from elementary school to high school.  In Cleveland, only Jane Addams Vocational High School now is limited to girls. The new junior high would be a general school.  Dittrick said the fact that the Notre Dame building has only one gym and other limited facilities also would confine its immediate use to girls. He said appraisals and remodeling estimates will be completed before any recommendation is made to the School Board.  At the last School Board meeting, a parents' delegation picketed the school administration building and then appeared before the board to protest the alleged inaction in curing the crowded situation in Patrick Henry.  The situation is one of several critical ones because, Dittrick said, peak school enrollments now are at ninth and tenth grade levels.


Notre Dame Girls Love It
By Katy Snider
Cleveland Press, December 12, 1963

The young ladies of Notre Dame Academy have gone east--way east.  And a straw vote among the pupils indicates high enthusiasm for the new high school on Butternut Rd. in Munson Twp.  "Great," "fun," "exciting" were some of the ways girls described studying at the pastoral outpost.  "I love it--it's so different," exclaimed student council president Barbara Balchak, who travels each day by chartered bus to and from her home at 10805 Manor Ave., Cleveland.  Most of the 340 girls at the school travel in such chartered buses, at an average cost of $15 a month.  The Sisters of Notre Dame, who run the school, signaled the end of an era when they decided last July to move to the country from their 42-year-old home on Ansel Rd.  The motherhouse of the order had already moved to the educational center in Auburn Center. And Notre Dame College has been in South Euclid since 1928.  The high school opened at its new location Sept. 6, in 12 classrooms housed in two temporary buildings and Notre Dame Academy's first permanent building, a remodeled barn.  According to Sister Mary Owen, principal of the school, the shift east cause only a few girls to leave Notre Dame. And some new pupils were added, such as former Chardon High School student Heather Holmes.  Sister Mary Owen even tells of one girl so determined to follow Notre Dame to Munson Twp. that her parents finally moved from Avon to Chardon.

Photo caption: Changing classes are heralded by the bell rung by Georgina Kindall, 9302 Pierpont Ave., Cleveland. Three hand bells are used because no permanent bell system has been installed in the temporary buildings. Georgina, a senior and editor of the school's newspaper, travels a total of 46 miles each day to attend classes.

Photo caption: Assembly room and study hall now under construction will be Notre Dame Academy's first new building. Behind the temporary building on the right and connected to it by a corridor is the remodeled barn housing the administration.

Germans’ Thrift, Industry Paid Off With Success by Geraldine Javor in the Plain Dealer, August 31, 1964

In the early 19th century the sight of small frame houses, elaborately enclosed by iron fences, was a fascinating reminder in Cleveland of the Old World.  The houses had small, well-tended gardens, and the houses and yards alike were clean and orderly.  The aroma of sauerkraut, potato pancakes and dumplings was enough to lure a person inside.  In the neighborhood, also, was to be found a ho-brau for beer drinkers.  These little neighborhoods were found in many sections of Cleveland, for the Germans, among the earliest immigrants to arrive here, did not settle in any particular section.  Carl F. Wittke, the Cleveland historian and author of “We Who Built America,” and former vice president of Western Reserve University, described the early German immigrant as a home-loving, philosophic, phlegmatic, plodding German peasant and artisan, who settled in the city to ply his trade and by thrift and industry, acquired a home.”  These Germans who first settled in Cleveland left their homeland mainly for economic reasons.  “Many of the Germans who migrated to America at the turn of the century came because America was the land of adventure and opportunity,” said William Hudlett, a photographer, former state representative and owner of Hudlett Studios, 13358 Madison Avenue, Lakewood.  “There were also some who came to escape military service.”  Letters glowing with the pride and prosperity of the new land, reached the German in Europe from friends and relatives.  And so he came, by himself at first, and later sent for his family.  “The German represented the plain, homely virtues of perseverance, patience, thrift, and respect for authority, with just enough idealism to save and build homes in the New World,” Dr. Wittke said in his book.  The German immigrant’s first ambition was to work hard, save his money and buy his own home.  And so, the early German made his mark and helped make the early history of Cleveland.  Although a steady stream of Germans continued to migrate to Cleveland throughout the 1800s, the largest wave of German immigration occurred from 1880 to the beginning of World War I.  Large groups of Germans also came following both world wars.  In fact, according to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, the second largest tide of German immigration occurred after World War II, in the decade of the 1950’s.  “Those people came after the wars because they wanted a better life,” said Hudlett, who came to Cleveland from Germany in 1912.  “They left a land torn by wars.”  Among some of the early German families in Cleveland were the Kaisers, Neebs, Diemers, Fingers, Rissers and the Freys.  Early merchants and skilled tradesmen were Denker and Borges, partners in a tailoring and clothing business; Wigman, a mason contractor; Schiele, a gardener; Dietz, a watchmaker, and Heisel, a chocolate maker.  Later came the Wanglein, Laisy, Schlather, Gehring, Baehr, Steinmeir, Hessenmueller, Ehringer, Henninger, Schaaf and Umbstaetter families.

The majority of early Germans settled along what is now Lorain Avenue near the downtown and around Superior Avenue but others spread to nearly every section of Cleveland.  They formed settlements to be near people who spoke their own language and were of the same culture.  This neighborhood pattern, however, changed with their children.  With a good knowledge of English, the descendants of the early Germans left the settlements and moved into other sections of the city as they intermixed in marriage with other nationality groups.  Although today a few Clevelanders of German descent still live in some of the original settlements, the majority have left.  Like everyone else, many have moved to suburbs, notably Lakewood, Parma and Garfield Heights.

The early Germans tended to be skilled workmen, businessmen or professional workers.  Ambitious and frugal, they soon prospered.  Many opened their own businesses.  A few were farmers, living outside the city where they raised prize crops and livestock.  Some of the early Germans to reach prominence were the late Jacob Laub, who started Laub’s Bakery; the late Frederick Schmidt, founder of the first German Cultural Society in Cleveland; the late Paul Feiss, founder of Joseph & Feiss Co.; the late Rev. William Steinmeir, pastor of the first Protestant German church; the late Judge Edward Hessenmueller, founder of the first German newspaper, the Cleveland Germania, and Adolph and Berthold Keller, founders of the former Keller-Kohn Co., manufacturers of women’s garments.  The late John D. Rockefeller, industrialist and philanthropist, was of German descent.

Other notables of German ancestry were the Beltz family, owners of the former Beltz Brewing Co.; the late Hugo Leisy of the former Leisy Brewing Co.; Samuel H. and Salmon P. Halle, founders of Halle Bros. Co., and Augustus E. Ricke, the first municipal judge of his nationality in Cleveland.

The late Theodore Schmidt, the first German architect in Cleveland; the late Conrad Krueck, a city councilman who had the first crematorium in Cleveland; the late Saul and Manuel Reinthal and Gus Bamberger, founders of Bamberger Reinthal Co.; the late Herman Schmidt, who operated a wine stube; the late Heinrich Gentz, who started the Waechter Am Erie newspaper; the late Jacob Mueller, who started the Deutsche Presse; the late Nathan L. Dauby, former chief executive officer of the May Co., and the late Anthony A. Fleger, a U.S. congressman and mayor of Parma.

The late Louis D. Beaumont, cofounder of the May Co.; the late Prof. Arthur J. Nusser, who directed many German singing societies; the late Johann H. Beck, conductor of the first Cleveland symphony orchestra; the late Edward Marks, founder of the Jewish welfare fund drive; the late Dr. Richard A. Bolt, director of the Cleveland Child Health Association; the late Julius Boenisch, architect.

The late Schafer brothers, who operated Schafer Body Works; the late Common Pleas Judge George P. Baer; the late Charles J. Wolfram, one of the originators of the chain of Cleveland Cultural Gardens; the late Fred G. and William M. Folberth, inventors of the Folberth automatic windshield wipers; the late Otto L. Fricke, lawyer and the late Herman C. Baehr, former mayor.

Of German ancestry also were two of Cleveland’s most colorful and controversial political figures, the late John M. Sulzmann, sheriff, and the late Fred M. Kohler, chief of police and mayor.

The German was ambitious and although he tended to assimilate rather quickly, he still fostered the culture and traditions of his homeland.  German pastry and lager beer have become a favorite not only of Clevelanders but other Americans.  “The German immigrant loved his beer and his beer gardens, his Sunday picnics and dances and theatrical performances,” Dr. Wittke wrote.  “His many organization devoted to music, art, drama, sharp-shooting, bowling, cards, and turnen (gymnastic exercises) sought to cultivate the joys of life along with other more immediate objectives.  Good beer and good food and good music went together, and Sundays were specially popular for Ausfluge, picnics and entertainments of every sort.” 

Whenever the Germans congregated they seemed to be more interested in singing, music and turnen than they were in politics.  “I think a peculiar characteristic of the German people is that they don’t take much part in politics,” said Lewis B. Weinacht, lawyer of German descent and former executive assistant to two mayors, Anthony J. Celebreeze and Ralph S. Locher.”  “This might stem from their discipline and upbringing and their general satisfaction  with their former monarchy before World War I.”

Organizations and clubs are very important to the Germans.  They formed insurance groups and other clubs connected with social events, religious matter, athletics, music and singing, welfare, dramatics, study, politics and the professions.  “Much of the membership of German organizations declined during and after both wars,” said Hudlett, the photographer.  “They were afraid to be known as Germans because of the wars, and so they shied away from anything that would label them as such.”  But today Cleveland Germans are active in many groups. They have formed many singing societies, such as the Banater Men’s Choir, the Bavarian Men’s Choir, the Blue Danube Men’s Choir, and Women’s Choir and the S.S. Women’s Choir “Saxonia.”  The United German Singers is an organization composed of almost every German singing society in Cleveland and once a year gathers for the Saenger Tagor Singers’ Day, at which time it presents a concert.  The Greater Beneficial Union of Pittsburgh is the largest German fraternal group in Cleveland, followed by the Banater Benefit Society and the American-German-Hungarian Sick benefit Society.  Intensely interested in Turnerism, the method of gymnastics established by Frederick Jahn in Germany in 1811, many Cleveland Germans are active in the American Turners Gymnastic Club. 

Of the approximately 150,000 Greater Clevelanders of German birth or extraction, a large majority are of the Protestant faith, some are Catholic and some Jewish.  There are at least seven German Protestant Churches and three Catholic churches.  They take great pride that through their efforts Fairview Park Lutheran, St. Alexis and St. John’s hospitals were established here.

Some of the larger cultural and social clubs are the German Cultural Garden Association, the Steuben Society of America, the German American Civic League, the German-American Business Men’s Club, Inc., the German Central Farm and the Schlaraffia Silvania.  Many German activities take place at the German Zentrale Farm on York Road in Parma.  Probably the biggest holiday is the annual celebration of Germany Day.

German culture, language and tradition are kept alive through publications such as the Waechter & Anzeiger, a weekly newspaper, and the Vereins-Nachrichten; a monthly publication.  WXEN-Fm and WABQ-AM carry German programs.

In an article such as this, tracing the history of a large group of persons, it is not possible to list or name all those who today or in the past gained prominence among the Cleveland Germans.  In the case of each article in this Plain Dealer series on Cleveland’s nationality groups, the number of prominent persons is always large.

Here, again, as in earlier articles, is a list of some of the present-day individuals who are widely known:

Henry W. Speeth, county commissioner, Henry B. Ollendorff, director of the Cleveland International Program; Frank E. Joseph and his son Frank E. Joseph Jr., lawyers; Robert O. Fricke, lawyer; Frederick W. Frey, assistant county prosecutor; Hugo Hidel, president of the Hilderbrandt Provision Co.; Municipal Judge Roland E. Reichert of Parma; Dr. Harold Feil, heart specialist; Dr. Samuel O. Friedlender, former chief of surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital; Dr. Otto Glasser, former professor of bio-physics at the Cleveland Clinic, and Dr. Heinz T. Fahnenbruck, assistant professor of German at Western Reserve University.

Mrs. Jac I. Einstein, founder of the Council Gardens; Carl F. Wilke, owner of Wilke’s Bakery’ Otto Fuchs, owner of a chain of delicatessens; Joe and William Hoislbauer, builders; Joseph Flubacher, custom cabinet maker; Dr. Benno D. Frank, director of Karamu Theater; Otto Ruhland, president of the German-American Civic League, and Gerhard H. Boecker, president of the German-American Business Men’s Club, Inc.

Anton Zillich, owner of Zillich’s Cutlery and Grinding and active in many Banater groups; Robert Sittner of Robert Sittner Furs; Dr. Julius Weil, director of the Montefiore Home for the Aged; Hans G. Englert, national vice president of the Greater Beneficial Union; Dr. M.A. Schneider, president and owner of the M.A. Schneider Co. and the Home Loan & Securities Corp; Charles S. Marion, president of the West Side Federal Savings and Loan Association, and Allen Knowles, president of the South Side Federal Savings and Loan Association.

Dr. Morris F. Mayer of Bellefaire, the children’s home; Martin Rosskamn, president of the Cleveland Fabric Shops; Hans Kirchberger, or Kirchberger Sausage; Joe Daschner, owner of Daschner Moving and Storage; Rudy Seidel, owner of Suburban Optical; Frank J. Herzog, owner of an import store; Klaus F. Koepsel and William Piller of the K & P Weldall Co.; Alex Aichinger of Aichinger Travel Bureau, who along with Weinacht, has been honored by the West German government for promoting better relations between West Germany and the United States; and Mildred Miller of the Metropolitan Opera Co., a former Clevelander.


Leading figures in city
Cleveland Press, March 17, 1976

Ernest Bohn, who died recently, devoted his lifetime to community development. He left his permanent mark and his genius for planning in housing projects. He saw to it that buildings were provided for the so-called senior citizens rapidly becoming the new impoverished people. Ernie was a Danube Schwabian, having been born in a German community of present day Romania.

One whose influence was felt by every Catholic in the city was Archbishop Joseph Schrembs who came to America at the age of 11 from Bavaria, Germany. He became bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland in 1921--its archbishop in 1939. He died in 1945.

Announcement recently of $2.3 million awards in the fields of medicine, cultural events, education and social work from the George Gund Foundation puts focus on Gund who headed the Cleveland Trust Co. before his death. His father George F. owned one of the city's first breweries, the Jacob Mall Brewing Co. Gund's grandfather came from Germany.


Germany on the Cuyahoga
By Eleanor Prech
Cleveland Press, March 31, 1976

The Germans were in the front ranks of the immigrants who brought considerable skill to Cleveland and who had a major share in the city's commercial and industrial development. And no other group influenced the early growth of Cleveland's cultural life as did the Germans.  Statistics show that 185 German teachers were on the payroll of the Cleveland School Board in 1890 and that fully half of the pupils in Cleveland's public schools received instruction in German.  In numbers there were 27,000 Germans here in 1876 as compared to 13,000 Irish, 11,000 English, Welsh and Manx and 2,000 Scots.  Already at the time there were three evening newspapers known as Wachter am Erie (Independent), the Anzeiger (Republican), and the Columbia (Democrat).  And it wasn't until 1852 that the word "beer" was known in Cleveland when two Germans, Schmidt and Hoffman, founded the first brewery. Before only ale had been consumed.  A far step from beer was the Christmas tree and that too was introduced to Cleveland by a German in 1851. He was Rev. Heinrich C. Schwan, pastor of Zion Lutheran German Church.  German organizational, religious and cultural life here reached its peak during the 40 years that followed the Civil War, ending in the 1910's.  Germans were among the leading pioneer merchants, bakers, architects, wholesale grocers, meat packers, organ manufacturers, and greenhouse operators.

The oldest department store, Fries and Schuele, was founded in 1868. A wholesale grocery and liquor store known as J.C. Weideman was founded in 1861. Jacob Laub came to Cleveland in 1877 and Julius Spang in 1882.  The Cleveland School of Pharmacy came into being in 1882 and in 1865 the Cleveland College of Physicians and Surgeons was founded by Dr.Gustav C.E. Weber and others.  In later years companies such as Draco Corp., the Ohio Machine & Boiler Co., the Cleveland Soap Manufacturing Co., the Haserot Co. and others were founded by German-Americans.  Among the many German names in the political field were State Representative William Hudlett, Sheriff John Sulzmann, Sheriff Ralph Krieger, and Mayor Fred Kohler.

As far as musical life was concerned the Germans were among the first to be active in this field in Cleveland. They brought a great love of music and as early as 1848 founded the "Frohsinn" society. But it collapsed when its director went to California in 1849 to hunt gold.  Probably the strongest of 21 different societies was the Cleveland Gesangverein, formed in 1852. It sponsored a national Saengerfest (singing festival) that brought 24 societies from other towns here in 1859.  By 1927, 2,000 school children performed in the 36th national Saengerfest of the North America Saengerbund. Bruno Walter was festival director and 8,000 heard works by Beethoven, Wagner and Gluck in Public Hall which had been built in 1922.  Another imprint on local life was the activity of the Cleveland Turnverein, organized in 1850 with the slogan "Exercise with all your might in God's green house."

The skills of German barrel makers were used by John D. Rockefeller, founder of the Standard Oil Co. The first American Rockefeller immigrated from Germany in the 1720's, but by the time John D. was born he was only about "three sixteenths" German.

Many Turners joined the Union Army during the Civil War. By the time the war ended it was ascertained that Germans had made up one-fourth of the 10,000 soldiers given to the Union cause from Cuyahoga County. Eleven Ohio regiments were comprised mostly of Germans.

From 1836 when the first German society was founded until 1907 Cleveland Germans established:

Forty-nine Protestant churches (12 Evangelical-Protestant; 11 Lutheran, nine Reformed. five Methodist, four Union Brethren, four Baptist, one Episcopal, one Mission, one Christian, one United Christian).

German Catholics established seven Catholic churches; there were two Protestant and two Catholic German hospitals; a home for the aged; there were six German-speaking Jewish synagogues.

The grand total of 214 major organizations in 1910 did not include church societies, nor those of other German- speaking Clevelanders such as the Banater Germans, the Saxons and the Austrians.

The Transylvanian Saxons who emigrated from Western Germany to Transylvania in Romania came to this country as early as the 1880's. Their numbers here were large enough to establish St. John Lutheran Church and St. Thomas Evangelical Lutheran Church and to found the largest and only Saxon insurance group in America here in Cleveland. It is the alliance of Transylvanian Saxons which recently purchased a new building at 5393 Pearl Rd., Parma, which they aim to make a cultural center.

The newer German immigrants from parts of Yugoslavia, Hungary and Romania known as Danube Swabians have been extremely active here for the past 20 years.

Their Society of the Danube Swabians includes youth and adult groups in folk dance groups, bands, song groups and the German language school. Their activities center around Banater Hall, 3580 W. 140th St., and at their new farm in Olmsted Twp. known as Lenau Park.

Photo caption: German hospital--German Reformed church members founded German Hospital at 1212 Scranton Rd. in 1894 and built the hospital at 3303 Franklin Blvd. in 1896. The name was changed from German Hospital to Fairview Hospital in 1917. It is now the County Nursing Home.


That famed German cooking
By Barbara Bratel
Cleveland Press, March 31, 1976

Germany is a country of many different regions, united by common language and traditions. And each region has a good specialty.  The most famous German specialties are hearty robust foods which include smoked pork, sausages and fine hams (such as Westphalian ham). The sight of a well-stocked German sausage market is never to be forgotten.  Typical of German cooking are the sweet-sour combinations. The Germans rely heavily on fruit in their cooking and baking. They add an apple to their famous red cabbage and sauerkraut.

German-styled red cabbage and sausage:

1 small head red cabbage
2 tart red apples, not peeled
2 tablespoons bacon fat or lard
Salt and pepper
Boiling water
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 pound smoked German sausage, links or cut in pieces

After removing outer leaves from cabbage, quarter, core, and shred head. Core and slice apples. Combine cabbage, apples, bacon fat, salt and pepper to taste in a heavy saucepan.  Add just enough boiling water to cover. Cover pan and simmer until cabbage is tender, but still somewhat crisp, about 20 minutes.  Drain cabbage, reserving liquid. Return cabbage to saucepan and keep hot.  Mix vinegar, sugar and flour in second saucepan.  Stir in reserved liquid. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Stir sauce into cabbage, taste for seasoning, reheat, and top with sausages.  NOTE: Sausage may be cooked and laid atop mixture at serving time or baked with cabbage for the entire cooking time. For best flavor, brown sausage first then place on cabbage.


Gemutlich is coming to the German Farm
By Eleanor Prech
Cleveland Press, April 28, 1976

Gemutlich--that winsome spirit of all that is cordial and congenial--will trumpet a merry blast on her figurative flugelhorn and Parma's German Central Farm will open on Sunday for its 50th year of summertime frolic and friendship.  Owned by Deutsch Zentrale (German Central Organization) the 37-acre farm at 7863 York Rd., is a sylvan retreat whose motto might well be: Frisch, Fromm, Frei Und Froeh.  There families gather to dance the brisk polka, enjoy the goodness of old friends, find freedom from weekday burdens and know the gaiety inspired by the lifted glass and voices raised in song.  To the young cavalier, it is . . . what? A woodland paradise of wein, weib und gesang which most of us know more familiar as wine, women and song.  To Herr grandpa, resting in a shady spot like some proud and noble burgomeister, it is a pleasant way station where old memories are revived over a glass of sparkling riesling or, perhaps, a cooling draught of beer.  Hausfraus visit one another, comparing notes on their romping children whose energy is fueled by knockwurst, weissewurst and soda pop supplied by solicitous pappas.  And who's to say that parental devotion is not far more important than nutritional values of summertime snacks?  And, ah, the pretty frauleins! Intoxicated by the magic of the waltz, they spin and twirl and cast a flirting eye on the neighbor's unsuspecting son.  Family atmosphere aside, the sprawling picnic grove has been the scene of events which celebrate the culture and history of Greater Cleveland's German-American population.  Banquets, concerts, masquerade balls,"German Day" observances, political rallies and the Fasching--the Teutonic Mardi Gras--have been held in the large clubhouse with its well-kept dance hall and huge rathskeller.  So appealing is the German Central Farm, that it has attracted other ethnic groups, a move which has helped span cultural barriers which may have once existed here.  "In the past years many other groups have availed themselves of our excellent facilities," said Carl Ernst, president for the past 10 years of the German Central Organization.

"Should you come here on Sunday, May 30, for example, you'll find Irish from all parts of the country attending and taking part in their 18th annual 'Feis' a folklore contest.  "And if you come on Sept. 5, the farm will be humming with activities of the four Hungarian scout troops sponsored by the American Friends of Hungarian Scouting."  Church groups are also attracted by the wholesome environment, the spacious picnic grounds, and the recreational facilities available for children.  St. Charles, St. Michael, and Holy Family Catholic Churches are among other religious groups which hold picnics there.  Politicians, who usually have a sixth sense for good sites where the body politic is likely to gather in the thousands, have found the Parma farm a good place for picnics and rallies.  Typical of such gatherings, perhaps, is "Perk Day"--a summertime salute to Cleveland's mayor--which will be held on June 6 by the American Nationalities  Movement of Ohio.  Organizations such as the Steuben Society sponsor banquets and dances in the clubrooms. Factory picnics, the WEWS-TV Polka Parade Party, the Pol-Kats picnic--all of them are held at the farm.  And musical groups like the Edelweiss Orchestra, the Melodie Orchestra and the Bavaria Schuhplattler dancers perform there.  Not all is given over to feasting, dancing, singing and the Schuhplattlers, however.  Soon the soccer field, where many a spirited contest has been held, will soon be in operation again.  Both victor and vanquished, however, will be able to exult and grieve in a building which is being renovated to resemble a Viennese Cafe.  But Sunday, May 2, is going to be an extra special day.  That's when it all begins this summer at the big farm.  Listen for the flugelhorn.  And keep your eye out for that winsome sprite--GemutlichProsit!


German paper here marks 125th birthday
By Eleanor Prech
Cleveland Press, December 1, 1976

Waechter und Anzeiger, Cleveland's oldest foreign language newspaper, has issued a 78-page album to mark its 125th anniversary this Bicentennial year.  One of the oldest German language publications in the country, the Waechter is a weekly published and edited by Stefan Deubel at 4164 Lorain Ave.  The anniversary album carries photographs of the first published plant at St. Clair Ave. and E.38th St., the mechanical, business and editorial departments, and early officials of the newspaper.  A news section carries a complete history of the paper which started as a bi-weekly in 1852 under the name of Waechter am Erie, translated Sentinel on Lake Erie.  Its founders were Jacob Mueller, later lieutenant governor of Ohio, and Louis Ritter. The first editor, August Thieme, kept his post for 27 years.  After his death in 1879, the Waechter am Erie Publishing Co. was founded. At the time, three other German language papers, the Cleveland Anzeiger, the Germania, and the Deutsche Presse were published here.  "The newspaper became the Waechter und Anzeiger (Sentinel and Advertiser) in 1893 with the merger of the Waechter am Erie and the Cleveland Anzeiger," said Deubel.  "Its highest point of circulation was in the 1900's when 78,000 copies were published. At one time the editorial staff was nearly as large as those of the English language publications."  Deubel took over publication of the newspaper in 1954 when it became a weekly.  "Our newspaper is the second oldest in Cleveland," said Deubel. "Only the Plain Dealer is its senior in the city.  "Cleveland's foreign language newspapers have given our cosmopolitan community a valuable link with the culture and language of their homelands. We are proud that the Waechter has reached this venerable age in keeping up this link."  The 125th anniversary album carries German Heritage in Cleveland of the Germans in Cleveland. Leaders of various organizations and lodges are pictured. Many social events of the various groups are shown.  Another section includes letters of congratulations on the role played by the newspaper in the history of German people of Cleveland. Among writers are President Ford, Mayor Perk, Gov. Rhodes and Editor Tom Boardman of The Press.  The anniversary date was marked this week with dinner at Old Austria in Rocky River.  Deubel also publishes the Saxon News Volksblatt, the New Jersey Freie Zeitung, the Platt-deutche Post and the Staten Island Post, all weeklies. He is owner of Foreign Language Newspaper Service, a 68-year-old advertising agency primarily for the ethnic printed news media.