While the great majority of the structures erected by foreign governments and States of the Union on the Centennial grounds are of wood, Germany decided to distinguish itself by a solid structure, analogous, as an architectural idea, to the clear and practical character of the people of the German nation.
This building is of brick, moulded and plastered, situated on Lansdowne Drive, near the east side of Belmont Avenue, 82 feet long by 42 wide, and is finished in the style of the Italian Renaissance, being chiefly conspicuous by reason of its spacious and beautiful portico.
The approach to this great feature of the building is by wide steps which lead, with balustrade, to the main entrance. The main passage leads to a hall, which is finished in stucco, the walls and ceilings frescoed.
The officers of the commission occupy the rooms on one side of the hall, and on the other side are reception rooms for ladies and gentlemen. The roof of the main building is quadrangular in shape, rising gently to a small central space, from which the flagpole rises. The main hall is 32 feet square; the ceiling is 34 feet above the floor. The imperial arms of the German Empire are frescoed in the centre. The black eagle is shown with outstretched wings, in which the feathers are separated with bizarre taste, and the tail is enhanced with the collar and cross of a noble order. The claws, red and strong, suggest a power of attack or defence. On the chest is the shield of the Hoftenzollern, charged with a double eagle grasping the globe and sceptre and bearing the white and black quarters of the imperial house. The four corners of the ceiling are decorated with emblematic motifs, interspersed with garlands and floral decorations, cupids and figures in a high style of elaborate painting.
A building adjoining the main structure is occupied by German exhibitors to show the quality of their wines.
©Centennial portfolio: a souvenir of the international exhibition at Philadelphia - 1876