Thursday, June 24, 1999

Walk celebrates Germans

Green Twp. museum uses 1,000 engraved bricks in entrance

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        GREEN TOWNSHIP — First, a layer of crushed limestone, then a layer of sand and finally the bricks are set and tapped into place, almost half of them engraved with names.

        The walk is an invitation to come in and learn about the history of German-American culture in Cincinnati. The Heritage Walk is “like a biographical directory of the German community from Cincinnati,” said Don Tolzmann, president of the German-American Citizens League.

        The league is responsible for raising the money to make the German Heritage Museum a reality in West Fork Park. The museum is a historic log house that dates to the mid-1800s and is being reconstructed at the park.

        This week, volunteers and workers with Lewin Brick Lettering in Fort Mitchell constructed the Heritage Walk in front of the museum.

        More than 2,800 bricks make up the walk, with about 1,000 engraved. The bricks were contributed by more than 400 families, businesses and organizations.

        “This is the kind of project that brings the community together,” said Mike Pelzel, museum curator .

        The response, he said, was overwhelming, with orders coming from across the country and from Germany. The bricks bear the names of German- American families and ancestors, German-American societies and businesses and even West Fork Park neighbors.

        “This is my heritage,” said Mike Brakers, whose family came to Cincinnati from Germany in 1868. “I thought it well of us to show a visible sign of support.”

        Nancy Pelzel, Mr. Pelzel's wife and secretary of the league, supervised the placement of the bricks this week. “It's been very rewarding,” she said. “It's really brought all the German organizations in Cincinnati together. Our centerpiece here accentuates this.”

        Anyone wanting to buy a brick — $35 for a 4-by-4-inch brick; $50 for an 8-by-8 — can call Mike Pelzel at 385-3120.


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- Walk celebrates Germans