German Village Historic District to Amend National Register Listing

The Advocate’s Blog

July 26, 2017

The German Village Society is applying a grant award of $20,000 received from the Ohio History Connection to prepare and submit an update to the district’s nomination to the National Register of Historic Places, (NRHP). The Society has secured the services of Designing Local, in consultation with Benjamin D. Rickey & Company. The project begins immediately and is scheduled to be completed in September of 2018.

Updating our National Register nomination will allow us to review and update the criteria upon which our original listing was based. The amendment to the NRHP listing will improve neighborhood documentation, community awareness of history and allow the Society to understand the gaps in current preservation initiatives/advocacy. The amendment of the historic district will address the following items:

  • The amendment will redefine the historic district’s period of significance. The period of significance will be modified from 1800’s, to be mid 1800’s to the 1960’s. This time range has been selected to encapsulate the history of the German immigrants and their development patterns, the decline of the neighborhood in the 1900’s due to German discrimination (WW I era), the area being zoned industrial, and the area’s preservation leadership in the 1960’s. German Village has had architectural review since 1960, and has been a designated local district since 1963, placing it as the oldest historic district in Ohio, and research performed to date has German Village in the top 10 locally designated districts in the country. Though additional research is required, we are believed to possibly be the third oldest in the country, predated by Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina.


  • The historic district is currently approximately 233-acres, and there are discrepancies regarding the number of properties within the neighborhood. Properties have evolved from single-family dwellings to multi-unit, and carriage houses have been converted into dwellings. There are 1,700 to 2,000 properties within the historic district boundaries, and a survey for the amendment will provide a narrative of the area’s development patterns and determine an exact number of contributing properties.


  • The amendment of the historic district will improve not only the area’s documentation, but it will assist in its continued preservation. The German Village Commission (district architectural review board) will utilize the survey and contributing structures determinations to assist the review process. For example, if the survey determines concrete block garages contribute to the neighborhood, the Commission may discourage future demolitions. As the neighborhood’s preservation educators, the German Village Society will utilize the NRHP amendment as guiding document for homeowner outreach, development of new content for the visitor center and integration of research into neighborhood tours.


  • On the economic side, to date only one historic preservation tax credit had been utilized in the historic district. The amendment of the districts NRHP listing will make eligible properties more competitive in the tax credit application process, and promote preservation minded development.

Teams of two to three people will be conducting the required survey throughout the district. They will be wearing identification, taking notes and photographing building exteriors from the public right of way.

Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.

-Nancy Kotting

Historic Preservation Advocate

The German Village Society