The Athenæum/Das Deutsche Haus is an excellent example of Germanic architectural influence in the Midwest during the latter part of the 19th century. It is also a monument to the organization of Americans of German descent in the United States who dedicated themselves to cultural and physical development in their new country.

The Indianapolis firm of Vonnegut and Bohn was responsible for both phases of the structure. The entire building is in the German Renaissance Revival style – a popular style in Germany during the Second Reich (1871-1918). It revived the architecture of  Renaissance Germany of the 16th and 17th centuries.

The Atheneaum is listed three times in the National Register of Historic Places, for (1) individually listed for architecture and historical significance; (2) as part of the Massachusetts Avenue Commerical District; and (3) within the Lockerbie Square historic district; specifically for location and historical theme of the Germantown area.

Some of the key architectural points:

  • – 2 Elaborate Gables (the vertical triangular end of a building from cornice or eaves to ridge) that rises above the roof line in two places
  • – 3 storied brick tower with a conical slate roof
  • – Semi-circular limestone arched entrance with two free standing Roman Doric Columns
  • – Dark red brick walls in common bond (the systematic lapping of brick in a wall)
  • – Limestone belt course defines the second floor line
  • – Rock faced stone foundation laid up on an ashlar (hewn or squared stone) coursing
  • – Arched upper windows
  • – Bulls eye gymnasium windows
  • – West Wing facade is in the German Renaissance Revival style – incorporating German architecture with renaissance elements focusing on a highly decorated gable (1897-1898)
  • – Steeply pitched, massive Hipped roof
  • – Decorative stepped gable facade in stone and Terra Cotta rising into a baroque pediment above the cornice
  • – Sculptured panels are found above the middle gable
  • – Arched and stained-glass windows, bulls-eye and transom windows
  • – Alternating horizontal bands of stone
  • – 3 storied brick tower with a gently curving mansard roof and spire
  • – Small hooded-copper domed dormers with dwarf spires
  • – Small eye brow louvers near the ridgeline
  • – Copper covered cupolas with dwarf spires at each end main roof
  • – Semi-circular stone arched doorway
  • – Faces of the alternating stone voussoirs (one of the wedge-shaped pieces forming an arch or vault) are projected
  • – Stone columns with Doric caps flank the arched doorway
  • – Terra Cotta grotesques – figures – Athena in the top arch, figures, shields on west wall
  • – Stone lions and shields with lyres