Here are five things to not miss when visiting the homegrown neighborhood built by German settlers in the 1800s
By David Rees
Located south of downtown Columbus, Ohio, German Village is known as one of the most endearing neighborhoods in the Midwest. Lined with restored brick houses, shops and streets full of historic charm, the village was established by German settlers in the mid-1800s and is now one of the largest, privately funded historic districts in the United States. Beyond the aesthetics, German Village is known for its homegrown small businesses. Here are five must-dos for a day trip spent walking down the brick-lined streets of German Village.
The Book Loft
Located just a few blocks south of the state Capitol building, The Book Loft consists of multiple brick buildings, making it one of the nation’s largest independent bookstores. These pre-Civil War era buildings—which once were general stores, a saloon and a cinema—are now home to 32 rooms filled with books.
Winans Fine Chocolates and Coffees
Established in the early 1900s and in its fifth generation of family ownership, Winans offers local chocolates, coffee from across the globe and assorted gifts. A selection of chocolate boxes is accompanied by a vast collection of sweets, from copper kettle candies to pretzels and chocolate-covered novelties.
“[Winans creates] the finest small batch chocolates and hand-roasted coffees and make them available in a friendly, welcoming, local environment,” says Winans CEO Wilson Reiser. “[We] provide locally manufactured products at a price that is attainable to the communities we serve and that inspire confidence in the products’ quality, sourcing and wholesomeness.”
Schmidt’s Fudge Haus
To make their fudge, Schmidt’s Fudge Haus chocolatiers use an Old World process that allows the fudge to last longer while staying creamy and smooth. The shop uses rich Belgian chocolate and various ingredients, including roasted pecans, walnuts, almonds, creamy caramel, smooth peanut butter and marshmallows. Haus fudge is handcrafted
and cooked in copper kettles and finished on marble tables. Martha Stewart has visited the shop, and the Travel Channel has featured it on Man. v. Food.
Franklin Art Glass Studios
Originally founded in 1924, Franklin Art Glass Studios was created by Wilhelm Kielblock, Wilhelm Kielmeier and Henry Elmore Helf during the Great Depression. The shop provides everything needed for stained-glass and warm-glass projects, including a full line of stained-glass supplies featuring more than 1,900 different types of glass. The studio also offers fundamental classes on stained-glass art, including stained-glass construction and copper foil and lead techniques.
The second oldest park in Columbus, Schiller Park, was established in 1857. Originally called Stewart’s Grove by early settlers, the 23.5-acre park was purchased by the city in 1867 for $15,000. It was renamed Schiller Park in 1891 after the famous German poet Friedrich von Schiller. Today, the park features a community center, picnic areas, softball diamonds, a fishing pond and delicately landscaped gardens.