The Athenaeum (Formerly Das Deutsche Haus)
In response to widespread anti-German sentiment in Indianapolis and throughout the US during World War I, members changed the name from Das Deutsche Haus to The Athenaeum.
The Biergarten at the Rathskeller Restaurant
A photo of the Indianapolis Socialer Turnverein, the organization that founded Das Deutsche Haus as a “house of culture” for the mind and body.
Backstory and Context
The building was designed by the architects Vonnegut & Bohn, who chose a German Renaissance Revival for the building. (Interestingly, the architect Vonnegut was the grandfather of novelist Kurt Vonnegut.) While an ongoing restoration project began in the 1990s, the building contains the original theater as well as the original Rathskeller restaurant.
Anti-German sentiment was widespread during and after the two World Wars, During the First World War, when anti-German sentiment was particularly pervasive, the Das Deutsche Has was renamed the Athenaeum. More recently, however, efforts have been made to preserve the site's German heritage.