German Cultural Garden





German Cultural Garden



The German Cultural Garden, third in historical order in the chain, extends from the upper to the lower levels of East Boulevard. With its fountain and stone walks and double lateral sections of linden alleys, it centers about an impressive bronze two-figure statue of Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749-1832) and Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805), Germany's greatest two poet-philosophers. It is a replica of the famous Weimar statue, modeled in 1856 by Ernest Reitschal, the Dresden sculptor. Here tower the two mighty figures, joined in friendship as they were in life, and grandly dominate the spacious and imposing German Garden. The garden is entered at the upper Boulevard level through a triple-arched ornamental iron gate.

At the far end of the left lateral section is a bronze bust, a replica of the bust in Leipzig, modeled by Seffner, of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781), German critic and dramatist. At the far end of the right lateral section is a bronze bust of Heinrich Heine (1797-1856), world-famous poet and journalist of German birth. It is the work of K. Harald Isenstein of Berlin. The lower Boulevard section of the German Garden features a bust of Friedrich Jahn, founder of the first German turnverein program and originator of calisthenics.

The rare Unterburg marble fountain, dedicated in 1932, is a memorial to Friedrich Froebel, founder of the kindergarten system it once stood in the garden of the Archbishop of Salzburg, in Austria. More than one hundred varieties of shrubs, hedges, and trees imported from Germany decorate the German Garden, which was designed by Architect Herman Dercum. The linden trees were the gift of Mrs. John Spenzer, in memory of her husband, Dr. John Spenzer.

The German Cultural Garden Association was formed on July 26, 1929, at a meeting at the Socialer Turn Hall. On September 9, 1929, permanent officers were elected as follows: Miss Elsie Weitz, president Charles Wolfram, secretary and Albert Eisele, treasurer. Presidents of the Association serving through the years have been, in addition to Miss Weitz, Mrs. L. Schlather, Dr. Hugo Polt (professor at Western Reserve University), and Reverend Walter Klein, Minister of the Evangelical Reformed Church. Moving spirits and loyal members in the German Garden movement have been Mr. Charles Wolfram, founder and for many years president of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation Mrs. Rose Raeder, at the present writing financial secretary William H. Engelmann, recording secretary Mrs. Gertrude Benson, vice-president Mr. and Mrs. Engelmann, founders, charter members, and trustees




Miss Hedwig Wagner, Mr. Eisele, Mr. Dercum, Dr. Spenzer, Mr. Krueck, and Mr. and Mrs. Brenne served as early trustees. Maps and models for the projected garden were made and donated by Fred Mattmueller. The development of the German Garden was promoted in cooperation with the Park Department of the City of Cleveland. Funds were raised by a series of card parties, poetry readings, song recitals, and "coffee and cake" benefits. The Jahn bust was donated by the Socialer Turn Verein and Germania Vorwaerts Turn Verein. Since 1932 a group of women members of the German Cultural Garden Association has been active in the garden management.

The German Cultural Garden was dedicated on June 2, 1929, as part of a week-long celebration commemorating the Lessing-Mendelssohn Bi-centennial. The Lessing bust was unveiled at this time, and the Goethe-Schiller statue, which formerly had stood in Wade Park, was rededicated in its new place of honor in the German Garden.

Musical selections were rendered by the Glenville and East High School Bands and the Vereinigte Mannerchor of Cleveland. The opening address was by William R. Hopkins, City Manager of Cleveland. The Lessing bust was presented to the city by Mrs. L. Schlather, chairman, and Miss Elsie Weitz, associate chairman of the Permanent Memorials Committee. The bust was accepted on behalf of the city by Mayor John Marshall. Professor R. W. Deering of Western Reserve University delivered the address on Lessing. Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver delivered the address on Moses Mendelssohn. The Star Spangled Banner was then played by the Consolidated Bands, while the American flag was unfurled, and a wreath was placed on the Lessing bust by Mr. David Jankau. The assemblage then marched to the Hebrew Garden, where a wreath was placed on the Moses Mendelssohn tablet by Mr. Ernest Mueller.

It was fitting that the bi-centennial tribute to these two great men who inspired and befriended each other in life, should have been jointly celebrated. Moses Mendelssohn, scholar and philosopher, was the prototype for Lessing's stirring drama, "Nathan the Wise."

The Lessing-Mendelssohn Bi-centennial Commission consisted of William R. Hopkins, honorary chairman Carl D. Friebolin, general chairman Leo Weidenthal and Charles J. Wolfram, vice chairmen

Miss Elsie Weitz and Mrs. Leonard Scholather at Dedication of Heine Bust





Carl Raid, treasurer. Charles Wolfram served as chairman of the executive committee Mrs. L. Schlather and Miss Elsie Weitz as chairman and associate chairman, respectively, of the Committee on Permanent Memorials. Samuel Newman was chairman of the Park Celebration Committee Lewis Drucker, director of publicity Edward J. Schweid, general secretary Dr. E. B. De Sauze and A. H. Friedland, chairman and associate chairman respectively of the School Committee Mrs. Jennie K. Zwick, chairman of the Speakers' Committee Linda A. Eastman, chairman of the Library Committee and Conrad Krueck and Charles De Harrack, chairman and associate chairman respectively of the Music Committee. Carl D. Friebolin was chairman of the German Garden dedication program.

A long list of enthusiastic members and sponsors also contributed to the inspiring success of the Cleveland Lessing-Mendelssohn Bi-centennial, which was dedicated in the spirit of the men it honored to good will and tolerance. Because of the significance of its German Cultural Garden undertaking, the Lessing-Mendelssohn Bi-centennial Commission was chosen by the Charles Eisenman Award Committee to receive the Eisenman Award for 1929. The award of $500 was contributed for the further development of the German Garden.

The Father Jahn bust was dedicated on May 1, 1931.

The Heine bust was unveiled and presented to the City of Cleveland by William R. Hopkins and accepted by Mayor John D. Marshall, on June 14th, 1931, on the 75th anniversary of the death of the poet. Musical setting of Heine's poems were rendered by the Cleveland Vereinigte Saenger. Principal addresses were by Professor Ernst Feise, of Johns Hopkins University, and Rabbi Barnett R. Brickner of the Euclid Avenue Temple. The ceremony concluded with the singing of America by all present. The sponsoring executive committee of the Heine Memorial Commission consisted of William R. Hopkins, chairman Dr. Robert E. Vinson, Miss Linda A. Eastman and R. G. Jones, vice chairmen Carl Raid, treasurer Jennie K. Zwick, secretary and Carl D. Friebolin, Alfred A. Benesch, Miss Elsie Weitz, Leo Weidenthal, Charles J. Wolfram, Charles De Harrack, C. R. Brenne, Albert Eisele, Professor E. B. De Sauze, Max E. Meisel, Fred G. Folberth, Miss Mildred Chadsey, and Clarence S. Metcalf.

Guests of honor who have planted trees in the German Garden have included Graf Von Luckner, on April 21, 1931, and Madame Schumann-Heink, on September 7, 1933.

The purpose of the German Cultural Garden Association as set forth in Article II of its constitution, was to 'awaken by honest and broad study, investigation and promulgation of the underlying principles of German Literature, Art, Science, and Culture, past and present, and thereby exemplify and emphasize their cultural value as contributions to mankind."

The aims of the Association, thus stated, have been generously fulfilled.

Mme. Schumann-Heink


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