Saturday, January 19, 2013

German Street Signs

Sign on Republic Street near Liberty Street

 Starting in the 19th century, Cincinnati became home to many German immigrants.  By the start of the 20th century over half of the city’s population was German.  There were many German businesses, German language newspapers, and German was spoken in schools and churches in the area.

With the start of World War I, anti-German hysteria hit the city.  With this anti-German sentiment, the city banned the teaching of the German language in schools, German language publications were removed from the public libraries, and many German businesses change their names to more American names to avoid being a target for the hatred displayed toward Germans.

In 1918 the city issued an ordinance to change the German influenced street names to a more American or English sounding name.  The streets that changed are:

Berlin Street to Woodrow Street
Bismarck Street to Montreal Street
Bremen Street to Republic Street
Brunswick Street to Edgecliff Point
Frankfort Street to Connecticut Avenue
German Street to English Street
Hamburg Street to Stonewall Street
Hanover Street to Yukon Street
Hapsburg Street to Merrimac Street
Humboldt Street to W.H. Taft Road
Schumann Street to Meredith Street
Vienna Street to Panama Street

In 1995 at the request of the German-American Citizens League the city placed markers at each of the streets to commemorate the original German street names and to preserve the German heritage of the city.

Sign found on Stonewall Street

Many of these honorary signs still stand today.  On the northeast corner of 15th and Republic you can still find the name Bremen Street etched into the side of the building.

Northeast corner of Republic and 15th Streets

1 comment:

Doug Newberry said...

Corrections on your list of street names.

Schumann St changed to Beredith Place
Wilhelm St changed to Orion Ave

Bigelow St changed to King Albert Ave but has since been changed back.

Humboldt to Taft was not part of the 1918 ordinance.