Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Deutsch-Amerikansche Schützen Gesellschaft

This building on St. Mark's Place is a remnant of Kleindeutschland, or "Little Germany." In the late 19th century, the Lower East Side was home to a huge German immigrant community. At its height, it was the third largest German population center in the world, after Berlin and Vienna.

This building, built in 1888, was one of architect William C. Frohne's first major commissions, and housed the Deutsch-Amerikansche Schützen Gesellschaft, or German-American Shooting Society, an umbrella group for two dozen shooting clubs. There was a shooting range on site, though most of the actual shooting happened in Queens, including the annual shooting contest called Schuetzenfest. It also housed a bowling alley, a saloon, and lodging, and a meeting hall, which was frequently used by unions and labor groups. The slogan at the top - "Einigkeit Macht Stark" - means "Unity Makes Strong." I find it interesting that this facade remained intact through two world wars with Germany, considering how many Americans currently regard immigrant communities.

The German-American Shooting Society owned the building until 1920, by which time Little Germany had largely dissipated. It was subsequently used as a homeless shelter, a Polish community center and then a Ukrainian one, and the original site of St. Mark's Bookshop. Today it houses a vegan Latin restaurant on the ground floor, and a yoga studio above.

For more history of the shooting society and Little Germany, see:


  1. Thank you. I enjoy your sketches and the research/info you provide about your sketches. You make it interesting. Thank you

  2. Thanks for your comment, Rafaella! It's always nice when I can find out some interesting history or fun facts about the sites I draw. Hope you keep checking in with my work.