Under historical protection

Future of the American Club remains unknown

Beste Lage nahe am Rhein: eine alte Aufnahme des ehemaligen Amerikanischen Clubs.

Great location on the Rhine: An old photo of the former American Club.

Plittersdorf. The American Club in Bad Godesberg-Plittersdorf is still sitting empty, without purpose or use. This has drawn the attention of the citizen group Bürger Bund Bonn.

The former American Club in Plittersdorf remains vacant and without a “meaningful use.” Citizen group Bürger Bund Bonn (BBB) has called attention to the matter, putting it on the agenda for the next committee meeting of historical preservation authorities set for September 18. Bernhard Wimmer of the BBB wants to know the current state of efforts to restore the club building so it can be put to permanent use. The building is considered a major architectural mark “whose construction and function are inextricably linked with the former federal capital of Bonn.” 

Citizens' initiative "Save the American settlement Plittersdorf" (RASP) has always had an eye on the club, including the American Don Jordan. He came to Germany from New York in 1952 with his parents and brother, without being able to speak the language. He was eleven-years old at the time.  The American settlement made it easier for him to get settled. After leaving Bonn in 1959, he returned as a journalist in 1966 and then spent a lot of time at the club, "because society and politics came together there," he once said in a lecture at RASP. As a journalist, he conducted background talks there, and sometimes found out some unexpected things about high-level politicians.

“The preservation of the settlement and the club are very important, not only because of my personal memories, but also as a symbol of the postwar presence and activity of the Americans and as a historical and cultural site," said Jordan. He was at the Dinner in White at the American settlement last weekend and fired up again about the issue. "He can tell stories for hours," said RASP chairman Rolf Fischer.

The American Club was built in the early 1950’s. It is located in the HICOG (High Commissioner of Germany) settlement on Martin Luther King Street. During the period when Bonn was capital of Germany, it was a sports and leisure club for the staff of the American Embassy and other embassies. Until the late 1990’s, the tennis courts, swimming pool and restaurant were used by club members. Back in the day, heads of state such as former US President John F. Kennedy and former Chancellor Konrad Adenauer came to the club. When the American Embassy moved to Berlin in the summer of 1999, the club was closed. Since then it has been under historical preservation orders.

Bonn International School has been interested in the building for a long time. The school would like to turn it into a performing arts center. So far, however, the financial resources have not been available and there are no concrete plans. 

(Orig. text: Richard Bongartz, Translation: Carol Kloeppel)