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In 1922 a two-story storefront was added to The Zion Lutheran Church Campus. It was built to house the sexton and serve as a small business rental space. For forty years it housed a barber shop and like many of the small businesses in the neighborhood, it was run by and addressed the needs of the large German population of the area. With flight from the city and the development of the Jones Falls Expressway, the small store fronts were demolished.
The building, known as the Sexton House and located in the B-3935 historic district, is the last remaining original store . Now surrounded by large concrete office buildings, the Sexton House has sat empty for years and has deteriorated with time. The leadership of the Zion Lutheran Church Campus have debated how best The Sexton House could be utilized and bemoaned the cost of restoring or raising the historic building.
The Zion Lutheran Church Campus, listed on the National Register for Historic Places, has remained the cultural home for German Americans in the area. Restoration of the Sexton House became the focal point for a group of citizens of German American ancestry to house a center to promote, collect, and preserve the thoughts and ideas of German Americans, both past and present. The rehabilitation of the building will allow the ‘Cultural Center’ to become the starting point for discussions about what it means to be a German American through lectures, exhibits, discussions, and events.
The GACC was formed, understanding the historic value of the Sexton House, but also in its value in serving contemporary, 21st century audiences to bridge the heritage of the German American community with the German Americans of today. Respect for culture, differences, and contributions of multiple perspectives and experiences is paramount.
The GACC will foster the commonalities between people. We seek to do this by providing German Culture exhibitions, programs, and activities which interpret the German American experience for diverse audiences, encouraging a cross-cultural understanding and galvanizing civil public discourse.
As a Cultural Center, we seek to connect people to a broader world through the preservation of the history and culture of German Americans by providing experiences in language, culture, and traditions with a particular emphasis on their impact in Baltimore and greater Maryland.