Historic District Walking Tour

Category: History

Article Index

compass The Walking Tour begins at Wilhelm Tellplatz on South Maple Street.  A scanned image of a hand drawn map of the Historic District is available for download, in pdf format, for your convenience.

1. Explore The Past 2 Wilhelm Tellplatz

The city park honors the memory of the early town settlers.  The street was originally named Tell Street for Wilhelm Tell, a hero of Switzerland.  The park property was site to the home of R.H. Lacher, who owned a canning factory in town.  The yard was known for its ornate gardens.  The Bandstand, modeled from the 1888 Bellville, Ohio, bandstand, was built in 1993 to commemorate the Sesquicentennial of Lewis County.  One of Hohenwald's first city appropriations was to purchase band uniforms for its "The Echo of Switzerland" band.

compass  Exit the park on 1st Street and turn right toward Park Avenue.

2. Kistler Haus, 17 E. 1st St. 

The original portion of the house was built by C.A. Daniel and was located on the corner.  Town blacksmith Casper Kistler lived in the house and built his blacksmith shop to the rear of this lot.  In the 1920's, the house was moved to its present location and additions were made.  The house has continuously remained home for the Kistler family, one of the founding members of the New Switzerland colony.

3.  Schwendimann House, 1905.  20 E. 1st.

Town merchant Nicholas Wenger built this house as a wedding gift for his daughter Lena who married John Schwendimann, Jr.  Her father-in-law John Schwendimann, Sr., also lived in the house.  John Schwendimann Sr. was bandleader of The Echo of Switzerland.  He also opened an entertainment hall for the Swiss settlers called Liberty Hall, where he promoted regular waltzes, performances of Wilhelm Tel, and masked balls.  He even bottled his own soft drink.

4.  Old Hohenwald City Hall, 1931.  29 S. Park.

Built at the beginning of the Great Depression, this building was the first permanent building constructed to house city functions.  The small group of city staff worked on the north side of the building and the first fire engine was housed on the south.  The fire whistle tower is still visible.  After the whistle failed during a fire alarm, the city began blowing a fire siren as a test noon everyday except Sunday, a tradition that continued to the present.

Park Avenue was originally named Helvetia Street.  Across the street where Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative is located, banker Felix Goodman's house stood on the corner.  To the right was a silent movie theater.  Some parents would not allow their children to attend the theater because they did not think it proper for boys and girls to be alone in the dark.  To the right of the theater was the home and barber shop of Louis Lemason, who immigrated from Paris.

5.  Wenger House, 1899.  101 S. Park.

This house was home to town merchant Nicolas Wenger.  The house was originally a two story clapboard house.  In the early 1920's, Dr. Springer removed the second story and added stucco to give the house a "modern" bungalow appearance.

"On this block, the Swiss Pioneer Union originally built a long wooden building as a temporary shelter to be used for newly arriving settlers.  "We arrived about 4P.M. at the Propst Hotel.  We ate our supper and were told that we had two rooms in a long shed which consisted of eighteen rooms.  That was to be our home until we could build a house." ~ Maggie Grimes

Across the street on Helvetia, from right to left, were the houses of town pharmacist Dr. Beasley, merchant Home Rasbury, and Swiss settler Emil Whipf.


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