Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Little Germany & The German Community

When my Grandparents came to America they settle in German neighborhoods. My Grandfather Gottlieb Frederick Ohnmacht immigrated to the United States in 1893. He met and married my Grandmother by 1899. Before they were married my Grandfather lived at 332 West 40th Street and my Grandmother lived at 345 7th Avenue according to their marriage certificate. So how did they meet.

 They lived approximately a 16 minute walk away from one another. Why did they settle in the neighborhoods that they had chosen to live in before they got married. Perhaps they moved to the area because they knew someone who lived in the area or maybe it was close to where they worked. They weren't close to  St Mark's Evangel Lutheran, 339 East 84 St., New York, it was necessary to take a subway to get to the lower East side and Little Germany. A trip that would take today 28 minutes to make via subway. "In 1845, Little Germany was already the largest German-American neighborhood in New York; by 1855, its German population had more than quadrupled, displacing the American-born workers who had first moved into the neighborhood's new housing, and at the beginning of the 20th century, it was home to almost 50,000 people. From a core in the riverside 11th Ward, it expanded to encompass most of the 10th, 13th, and 17th Wards, the same area that later became known as the Jewish Lower East Side."

They were  married by a minister by the name of  J. Ressber who was the Minister of the Gospel who lived at 126 West 35th Street, New York. The marriage probably took place at City Hall. By 1910 her friend, Ottillie Jaeger was living at 464 Amsterdam Avenue all the way up on the Upper West Side of New York. The picture to the left was taken on their wedding day.

My Grandmother was Catholic and my Grandfather was Lutheran. They decided that the sex of the first child born would determine what religion they would adopt for the family. My Uncle John was the first child born to the family and therefore they decide to raise the children according to the Lutheran religion. German Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Paul was located near where they lived in 1900. They rented an apartment at 339 West 40th Street and the church was located at 315 West 22nd Street. "In 1897, a tract was purchased on West 22nd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues. The German architect, Francis A. Minuth, was commissioned to design the third and present building. On July 4, 1897, the cornerstone was laid, and only seven months later, on February 13, 1898, the church was officially opened – debt free!" It is a today a 10 minute subway ride  from their address to the church. By 1910 they were living at 2222 8th Avenue which was about 16 min ride on today's subway.

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