Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Germania Building

The Germania Building was built in 1877 by Heinrich Arminius Ratterman for his company, the German Mutual Insurance Company of Cincinnati. The building was designed by German architect Johann Best and is a Renaissance Revival structure with some very nice details like the tall sculpture of Germania, the symbol of German culture and spirit. At her feet lay symbols that represent art, learning, astronomy, architecture, and nature.

Ratterman is known not only for founding this insurance company but for writing many books, articles, operas, and journals. Some of which are still in use today by many historians.

Around the time of WWI, there was an anti-German sentiment in the country and many German institutes were forced to close, German newspapers were outlawed, and streets with German names were changed. At this time Ratterman changed the name of the company from its German name, Deutsche Gegenseitige Versicherungs Gesellschaft von Cincinnati to Hamilton Mutual Insurance which still operates under this name. Also during this time, the statue of Germania was renamed Columbia and was draped in an American flag and E Pluribus Unum was inscribed on the robe.

Today the building serves as offices and a flower shop.

Germania Building
1129 Walnut Street, Over The Rhine

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