made significant financial progress and gained the respect of outsiders. At the Founders' Day Festival of 1907 he suggested the building of a new hall. In November 1908 the proposal was accepted in the General Assembly and $5,185.00 was immediately designated. A 160 x 160 square foot piece of land was acquired on Broad St., the main thoroughfare of the city, and Columbia Ave. Construction of an association house was begun at the cost of $320,000. The new hall of the Gymnastics Community will become the largest German association house in the United States and a memorial to the German community in the City of Brotherly Love.
Henry Schwemmer was born in 1849 in Mainz. He learned the locksmith and hardware trade, emigrated to American at the end of his apprenticeship in 1867 and established his own hardware business in 1875 at 522 West Girard Ave. in Philadelphia. He still runs that business today. His marriage in 1871 to Miss Mathilde Hack produced one daughter, who in 1897 married Louis G. Groh.
Henry Schwemmer regularly takes part in all German pursuits and undertakings. At the Gymnastics Festival in Nuremberg in 1903 he was one of the representatives of the North American Gymnastics Alliance. On the occasion of the visit of Prince Heinrich of Prussia to Philadelphia in 1902 he was a member of the reception committee for the German associations. He has won the recognition of more than a few critics as a speaker at the larger festival events held by the German community as well as at the celebration of the groundbreaking and laying of the cornerstone of the German Theater, which was under his supervision.
He was chairman of the festival speakers committee at the celebration of 225-year Jubilee of German Immigration, which took place in a wonderous manner on October 6, 1908 in Germantown and Philadelphia under the auspices of the National German-American Alliance.
Mr. Schwemmer performed an act of respect, which will certainly remain in the memories of the Germans of this country, when he preserved the first flag of the Philadelphia Gymnastics Community, which had been with the Turner Regiment during the Civil War, from the ravages of time. He saw to it that the flag was hermetically sealed in a glass case.
Carl P. Berger,
Among the sons of German parents, who first saw the light of the world in Philadelphia and who, thanks to the education their parents allowed them to have, are called upon to do honor to their German names, we find Carl P. Berger, the young and capable architect of the Penn Square Building, 1416 and 1418 South Penn Square, Rooms 603 and 604. He is well known and respected by the Germans of this city.
Carl P. Berger was born on June 15, 1973 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as the son of decoration, fresco and theater painter Carl Berger of Breslau. After graduating from school he apprenticed in the goldsmithing and jeweler's trade but he was urged on by his wish to become an architect. A year later he found employment in the office of an architect. He studied for 10 years and worked in the office of
prominent architects of the city. The young man also furthered his education during his spare time. He was first draftsman and assistent in the building of the Hotel Walton in Philadelphia and the St. Charles Hotel in Atlantic City. In 1899 he designed the plans for the seven-story apartment and store complex at 13th and Walnut St. In December of the same year he became self employed. From his drawings and under his supervision the seven-story hotel and apartment house, "The Edwards," was built, along with the twelve-story Penn Square Building, the building of the North Philadelphia Trust Co., the Northwestern Trust Co., the buildings for the German Hospital and the Mary J. Drexel Home for the Lutheran Orphanage, a number of churches, as well as a multitude of other buildings including hotels, apartment houses, factories, businesses, residences, halls, schools, etc.
Mr. Berger gained special prominence by drafting the plans for the new German Theater and becoming the architect for the German Theater Realty Co., which built a permanent home in Philadelphia for German dramatic productions. He also designed the plans and built the William Penn
Caption under picture at center reads Carl P. Berger
Theater in West Philadelphia, which cost one million dollars.
Mr. Berger has a preference for socializing in German circles and he is a member of the board of directors of the German Association, the Men's Choir, the Young Men's Choir, the Cannstatter Folk Festival Society, and the Liederkranz. He is also a member of the National German-American Alliance.
It may scarcely be claimed too often that Police Court Judge Albert H. Ladner is the best known German-American in Philadelphia. He has certainly made his worth known to the less fortunate Germans of the city over the many years he has held the office of magistrate, imparting legal pronouncements to the best of his knowledge and his conscience and serving as reconciler and mediator. Albert H. Ladner was born on January 8, 1849 in Plieningen near Stuttgart in Swabia, where his father operated a brewery. When Albert was seven years old, the family emigrated and settled in Philadelphia. The boy attended the German-Lutheran school until his 14th year of life and then he apprenticed in the plumber's trade. In the year that followed, the new fatherland called the patriotic youth to the flag in order to preserve tha honor of the Union. At age 15 Albert H. Ladner responded to that call and became a soldier of the 98th Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment, formed and commanded by General John F. Ballier. He served for two years with distinction. In 1863 after being mustered out of his regiment, Albert H. Ladner rejoined the plumbing trade and soon after became self-employed.
He was by conviction a member of the Democratic Party and he played a prominent political role in the 12th Ward, which at the time was comprised completely of Germans. In 1870 he was elected to the City Council, holding that position for 3 terms. In 1880 he was nominated by the Democratic Party for the post of Police Court Judge. He received the most votes of fourteen candidates. In 1885, 1890, 1895, 1900 (with 45,000 votes) and 1905 he ran as an independent candidate and was reelected each time by a majority of votes. It is worth mentioning that Mr. Ladner was nominated by the Democrats in 1891 to be its mayoral candidate.
Mr. Ladner, who has been the president of the Commercial Mutual Accident Co. for a number of years, is a member of the Free Masons, the Knights Templar, the Order of Sparta and other lodges. He is a member of the German Association, the Gymnastics Community, the Cannstatter Folk Festival Society, the Shooting Club, the Young Men's Choir, in which he holds the office of vice-president, and other organizations.
Henry Lierz of Philadelphia is an ardent champion of the endeavors of the National Alliance and a gifted orator when agitation is needed in the causes of personal freedom and anti-prohibition movements.
Henry Lierz was born on March 31, 1871 in the Rheinbach region within the governmental district of Cologne. He attended the public school until his 14th year and then attended a trade school for three years, where he studied mechanical engineering. After gaining practical experience in the workplace at the Rhine Railroad Lines in Cologne,
he passed his exams to become a locomotive engineer. He then moved about the world and landed in America in 1880. He was first employed in Newport near Cincinnati. He developed his social talents and as a co-founder of the Arion Men's Choir Association he gained a large circle of friends. In 1885 he resettled in Philadelphia, where he managed an expansive printing and publishing business. He became a member of the Men's Choir. After the City Union of Philadelphia won the Schubert Bust in Newark, he was especially involved with the supervision of arrangements for the unveiling ceremony in Fairmount Park. In February 1892 he became president of the United Singers.
This group played a significant role in the Independence Day Celebration held on July 4th of the same year. Under his presidency there was a concert for the benefit of the Police Pension Fund, which netted $10,000. A support fund set up for the needy in Russia collected $4000. Through his efforts the licensing of Washington Park was accomplished, thus creating for the German societies of Philadelphia a place to hold their festivities within the city.
Text provided by the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, Buffalo NY
Imaging and translation by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks