The great city of Parma, Ohio was first settled by German settlers. Hence, it seemed totally logical that the founding fathers and mothers of German Central would settle on a location in beautiful Parma to establish their home away from home.
Die Deutsche Zentrale was founded on October 16, 1924 by a committee of 15 men headed by Felix Schmit, and editor of the Waechter Und Anzeiger. Thirty acres of beautifully wooded land was purchased on York Road for the recreation of its members. On January 12, 1925, German Central was incorporated (GCO) to serve all German-Americans, regardless of their interests or backgrounds or where they came from. It quickly became the central meeting place for immigrants following both World Wars, not only for German immigrants, but for many other ethnic groups, especially those who came here by way of Germany. The organization was designed to help its members with matters of American citizenship, to provide them with a social center, and to provide material help to its needy members.
The German Central Farm grew quickly after it was incorporated, and by 1929 it had more than six thousand members. With a number of social clubs such as a choir, sports clubs, a chess club, a young people's club, a women's club, and regular dances where all the members could meet and socialize, it was one of the most popular meeting places in Parma. The Zentrale's women's auxiliary became the largest women's group of any German organization.
Within ten years, the Zentrale Farm had a modern hall, soccer field, tennis courts, rifle range, swimming pool, and additional accommodations for members and the many friends who visited the Farm every Sunday and holiday year round.
During the difficult Depression years, the German Central Farm distributed money to needy German-Americans and helped thousands to find jobs by providing free employment services. The history of the German Central Farm is a tribute to the courageous men and women of this great organization. The history of German Central is a history of good old American determination and survival of men and women with great courage.
After many years, the grounds and buildings of German Central were in a desperate need to be reinvigorated. A new group of officers and determined members decided to step up to the plate. Major changes were made to the grounds, Vienna Cafe, the Main Hall, the bar, the kitchen, and the building of the Pavilion.
Today the German Central Foundation, which was founded in 2000, relies upon rents, membership fees, and donations. Everyone is welcome to share in the camaraderie regardless of ethnicity. The spacious grounds accompany the Main Hall, the Vienna Cafe, the Pavilion, a Gazebo, and many picnic tables throughout the open grounds. All buildings are available for rental, which can accommodate weddings, showers, family reunions, company picnics, graduation parties, or any other special occasion.
The German Central Calendar of Events lists dances, the Oktoberfest in September, the fish fries during Lent, Zumba classes are held on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 7 to 8 PM, Tuesday's chess club, Wednesday's fun nights, and Thursday's line dancing. All of these events are open to the public.
The dances are held two Saturdays every month with well-known bands.
For those interested in becoming members, the annual membership donation is $20.00 per year per person. A membership form is available on this web page.