Welcome to Somewhere Over the Rhine

A site dedicated to Cincinnati's Over the Rhine neighborhood.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bremen Strasse

The above picture is from a post card in 1900 of the German city of Bremen (Stadtgemeinde Bremen). The city is located in northwest Germany along the river Weser which is situated about 37 miles south of the North Sea (a sea of the Atlantic Ocean). Therefore, Bremen is and always has been a Port City. This is important to Over the Rhine because Bremen was the last city that many of Cincinnati's German emigrants saw before departing for their new home in the United States. To commemorate this fact early residents of Over the Rhine named a street after it and it was know as Bremen Strasse. This reminded residents of their last memories of their homeland.
In 1913, due to the ever increasing Anti-German hysteria sweeping the nation during World War I, Bremen Strasse along with many other streets in Over the Rhine was renamed to a more American sounding name, Republic Street.
This week I learned of an effort currently being made to change Republic Street back to its original name of Bremen Strasse. I think this is a wonderful idea that would help remind people of the historical importance of this neighborhood. In addition, Republic Street and many other streets in Over the Rhine have gained a notorious status for crime and neglect over the years and I think that changing the name would help to alleviate many peoples fears and stereotypes of the neighborhood as it continues to undergo revitalization.
I'm in support of this effort and I hope we can see many more streets returned to their original names in the upcoming years. This is just one way to help preserve the historic character of the neighborhood and insure that future generations of Cincinnati residents will learn about Over the Rhine's importance to their city and its rich history.


Jimmy_James said...

I totally agree. I've always hoped that OTR will revert to the old street names.

CityKin said...

I don't know if I like it. Maybe.

The neighborhood is more than it's German period, and it has been Republic Street for 90 years, and the Germans have been gone from OTR for almost that long.

Mandy said...

how can we find out what all the original street names were?

Jason said...

Mandy, I don't know if I've ever seen any maps showing all the original names. I'll have to see if I can track that info down.
Citykin, though I agree with you that OTR has more than just German in its past and present, I also feel that its German history is its most important.
If it weren't for the early German residents Cincinnati would have never had an Over the Rhine to be proud of. We simply can't ignore what the neighborhood was built on...The breweries, architecture, and overall heritage of the neighborhood is distinctly German and should be respected as such. It would be a shame if our city ignored that past and did nothing to insure its place in the future.
I think that this is one simple way to help people understand what OTR's past is all about.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am the one trying to change Republic Street to Bremen, but I am starting between 12th and 13th Streets only. I've wanted to try this for a few years now, and I would be trying to do the whole street except for the fact that I don't have time to survey every person who lives along the entire stretch (city requirement). If anyone wants to help me survey the rest of the street in order to try to change the entire street name, I'd welcome the support. robert.maly@themodelgroup.net

UncleRando said...

I've been hoping this would happen for years. It would be even cooler if they were to make the streetsigns unique to OTR that have a more German look to them.

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Paul Wilham said...

Sometimes changing a name can be good. OTR is well known in national preservation circles as having some of the most outstanding architecture in the nation. Something most locals arent aware of.Cincinnati could be a tourist destination much like Charleston SC or New Orleans. This would bring millions of tourist dollars into the area and provide jobs. The big problem at the moment is the city is "bulldoze happy",they dont enforce building codes enough and 3cdc owns more property than it can possible EVER restore and will fall apart over the next 5 years. Reclaiming its German Heritage could be one of several "hooks" used to turn OTR into a toursit destination. The city needs to start working on preservation tourism and stop thowing up neo urbanist buildings everywhere and trsetore whats there.

Alexandra said...

Not to mention that a lot of the german architecture has a good deal of italian influences. When you're walking around, make sure to look UP!!! My favorite building is on the corner of Walnut and 12th Street. The stone carving is amazing!

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