Hockemeyer Hall / German-American Heritage Museum
German Roots in Washington
The former Hockemeyer Hall, now the German-American Heritage Museum, August 2010.
Hockemeyer Hall entryway. Now open as the German-American Heritage Museum, the staircase features the names of famous Americans with German-American ancestry. 2010.
The interior of Hockemeyer Hall has been renovated to accommodate the German-American Heritage Museum. Displays retell significant contributions made by German-Americans to our society. 2010.
The building was constructed as a townhouse in 1888 for merchant John Hockemeyer, a German immigrant who came to Washington as a 15-year-old in 1858. Hockemeyer, like many German-Americans, served in the Civil War. He later was successful as a grocer.
After its time as a residence, the building was used as a clubhouse and dancing studio. The building's more recent history is typical of many in the old downtown: In March 2004, the DC Preservation League filed an application to declare the building a landmark after a raze permit application was filed. The resulting negotiations led to the building's being rescued in conjunction with development of offices nearby. The German-American Heritage Foundation acquired the building in 2008 and has restored it for renewed public use. Visitors are welcome to see a permanent exhibition, tour the building, or participate in public events.
Below is a short video introducing the German-American Heritage Museum with its director, Rüdiger Lentz.