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  • Ohio Historical CenterOhio Historical Center Columbus, Ohio
    The Ohio Historical Society is a nonprofit that started back in 1885 to advocate a better understanding of history and archaeology, particularly in the state of Ohio and was started by Brig. General Roeliff Brinkerhoff. The society exists to understand, save, collect and make accessible the evidence of the past eras and to give some ideas about improving understanding, knowledge and appreciation of the history and prehistory of the state and the bigger natural and cultural environments of what the state is part of. The society manages dozens of state historic sites throughout the state and their headquarters is a huge 250,000 square foot building known as the Ohio Historical Center in Columbus, Ohio and is a Brutalist concrete building. There are many marvelous displays that span the state's history from the Ice Age to the current day. It also houses a gift shop, library, state archives, educational and administrative offices. In the 1989 Smithsonian Guide to Historic America, they said the center could be the best museum in the country that is dedicated to pre-European history. On the grounds of the center, the Ohio Village, a reconstructed Civil War-era village is a living museum sits ready to help you understand and learn about that terrible period in our history. It has been closed due to economic conditions, but is available for school and tour groups, as well as special events. This village is home to the Ohio Village Muffins, a vintage baseball club that plays baseball the way it used to be played back in 1860. A special exhibit opening in May is To Have and To Hold: Treasures of the Christopher Collection, that highlights a wonderful selection of ordinary and extraordinary relics from the Agnes and Tom Christopher Collection. This magnificent collection is mainly 19th century American furniture, woodenware, ceramics, decorative arts and metalware; with each piece created to hold something else. It is a marvelous showcase of material culture during the 1800s in this country. Permanent Collections include; Windows to Our Collections: Ohio's Ancient Past, that contains over 15,000 years of the state's Native American heritage; Ohio: Centuries of Change that concludes the state's history is very similar to the country's, and exhibits the state's history from the frontier days to the 1970s; The Nature of Ohio containing five different themes of Ohio's natural history that focuses on animals, plants, geography, geology and climate; Ohio's Garden Path: the Flowering of Our Landscape is a temporary display that takes the visitor on a 200 year journey through their gardens; and Architecture, where the center itself is a fantastic example of Brutalism, and other types of architecture. Besides the Ohio Village, other venues include the archives library, education programs, the Ohio History Store, group tours and private events.

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  • German VillageGerman Village Columbus, Ohio
    The German Village in Columbus, Ohio has become a historic neighborhood just south of downtown, and was settled by German immigrants in the 1850s; and who, at one time, made up one third of the city populace. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 and in 1980, the borders were enlarged. In 1796, Congress appropriated the Refugee Lands for people that supported the colonial side in the Revolutionary War. A veteran of that war, John McGowan claimed 328 acres of land that would someday become the German village of Columbus. Over the years, German immigrants came here and McGowan sold them tracts of land or lots, and by 1814, the German village was born, at first called "die alte sud ende" (the old south end) and the German immigrants would help build the first statehouse. In 1830, a huge immigration of Germans to the city had happened and the most influential German newspaper in 1843 was "Der Westbote". Many of these immigrants would fight in the Civil War and gained the admiration and trust of their fellow citizens. One third of the city was German by 1865, and the German neighborhood was thriving. These hard-working people built up the neighborhood, with numerous businesses, churches and schools; that were so much better than the other schools of the city, that soon many English-speaking residents would go there for an education. George Karb, German-American, became the mayor of the city, twice, in the end of the 19th century and again at the start of the 20th century. Because of the anti-German sentiment that happened in the first part of the 20th century, the area suffered a sharp decline, due mainly to the sinking of the Lusitania, which killed many innocent women and children. The news media used this event to demonize Germany and German-Americans; while the Germans claimed that the ship was transporting weapons in a war zone, with both the Americans and English claiming that no such thing occurred. Unfortunately for them, a check of the wreckage happened in 2008 and millions of rounds of ammunition were found among the ship's wreckage.  In the aftermath of this terrible event, German was banned in the schools, and German textbooks burned, German street names changed and Schiller Park renamed Washington Park. Even with this hatred, the German-American community produced the city's best war hero and one of the country's, Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, which the southern Columbus airport is named after. The neighborhood deteriorated even more during prohibition as the area's breweries were closed down and after the war, the south end became zoned for manufacturing, which caused many to leave the area. During WWII, the street car tracks and wrought iron fences were taken for the war effort and by the 1950s, it had fallen into a slum ruin. It was then that the city destroyed one third of the neighborhood.

January 11, 2011