Original German Names Returning Soon To Some Cincinnati Streets

Sep 14, 2017

Some Cincinnati city streets could be returning to their original German names.

In 1918, council voted to change the names of 12 city streets because of significant anti-German sentiment in the city and the country during World War I.  The 12 streets were given more American names.

"Now after 100 years, it is high time to right the wrong of the past and return the original names to some streets, and honorific names to others," said Don Heinrich Tolzmann of the German-American Citizens League. "The war is over."

Council Member Chris Seelbach has proposed those names restored because of the city's long German influence.  He apparently has the support of a council majority.

Three city streets would be officially renamed and seven others would receive honorary, or secondary names.

The city planning commission will vote Friday on the three streets being renamed.  Council's Neighborhoods Committee will consider all ten street names Monday, and the full council could vote on the items Wednesday.

Those to be renamed are:

  • Woodrow Street in Lower Price Hill will become Berlin Street
  • Stonewall Street in Over-the-Rhine will become Hamburg Street
  • Yukon Street in Over-the-Rhine will become Hanover Street

The seven streets getting honorary names are:

  • Republic Street in Over-the-Rhine or Bremen Street
  • Edgecliff Point in Walnut Hill or Brunswick Place
  • Connecticut Avenue in College Hill or Frankfort Avenue
  • Merrimac Street in Evanston or Hapsburg Street
  • Beredith Place in Pleasant Ridge or Schumann Street
  • Panama Street in California or Vienna Street
  • Orion Avenue in Pleasant Ridge or Wilhelm Street

"Changing back the street signs is one more story to add to the history of German immigration in Cincinnati," said Bob Stevie, past president of the Cincinnati Sister City Association. "It also adds to our international attractiveness."

Those with honorary names would have blue signs under the official street names.  Street signs in Germany are blue.

While 12 street names were changed in 1918, today only 10 of those still exist.  The two others have been absorbed into other routes because of widening projects.

City administrators are working on new signage which could be in place soon if council gives final approval to the changes.