For Ann Brown, who has lived in the neighborhood for almost 50 years, the neighborhood is the heart of the city. And though Hamilton is the 10th largest city in Ohio by population, German Village feels like a hamlet where time is kept by the church bells of St. Julie Billiart.
With just more than 500 residents and nine square blocks, it’s the smallest of Hamilton’s 17 neighborhoods.
“It’s just a happy place to live,” said Brown, of Hamilton’s German Village Inc., the neighborhood organization founded in 1973, said they have consistently met monthly for the past 50 years.
On Saturday, German Village will celebrate that milestone with a party from noon to 6 p.m. on North Third Street between Buckey and Linden streets. And there will likely be more than a few wearing traditional lederhosen and German garb.
The 50th-anniversary celebration will feature a lot of activities, from plein air artists creating scenes of the neighborhood to a volksmarch, a German tradition to leisurely walk and enjoy the scenery.
There will be something for all, including traditional German food and beer, and non-German fare, like kettle corn, donuts and ice cream.
Mayor Pat Moeller will mark the occasion with a proclamation to kick off the celebration at noon.
There will be a variety of entertainment, including the Wilson chorus, Third Street Music and the Gerhard Albinus Band. There will also be crafts, a balloon artist and a magician.
There will also be tours of St. Julie Billiart Church, Lane Hooven House (home of the Hamilton Community Foundation), and the Butler County Museum from noon to 2 p.m. And there will be a very large birthday cake.
German Village was named the city’s first historic district in 1973, which prompted the organization of Hamilton’s German Village Inc. While it’s one of the smallest neighborhoods in the city ― the nine square blocks make up less than 1 square mile for its 500-plus residents ― the neighborhood is important in Hamilton’s history.
As Hamilton became an industrial powerhouse in the mid-1800s, many of the original industrialists and entrepreneurs called this neighborhood home. While it wasn’t known as German Village at the time, many of the city’s early business leaders who lived in the area were of German descent.
It’s also one of the visuals many people envision when thinking of the city of Hamilton. “It’s old, and it’s been taken care of,” said Brown.
Soon after it was declared a historic district, the city began installing the iconic brick sidewalks and lamp posts, and Brown said, “I think that encouraged people to appreciate the history.”
HOW TO GO
What: Hamilton’s German Village 50th anniversary
When: noon to 6 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 7
Where: North Third Street between Buckeye and Linden streets