Henry was born during 1864 in Hamilton County to Bavarian immigrants, Henry and Anna (Beck) Zimmerer, who ran a boarding house on Clifton Avenue. As an adult, Henry worked as a carriage painter. On May 25, 1887 he married Anna Lurker and started to raise a family. By 1895, they were living at 60 Barton Street and had four children.
Henry joined the Cincinnati Police Department and was promoted from Substitute Patrolman to Patrolman May 21, 1895 and was assigned to the Tenth District. Patrolman Zimmerer was completing his tour of duty on August 25, 1895 and, at 2:30 p.m., was headed home. He boarded the Colerain Avenue Electric Car No. 21 in front of the Workhouse.
Two blocks down Colerain Avenue, near Ethan Street, Patrolman Zimmerer saw two men fighting. He stepped out on the running board of the car intent on jumping off at the location of the fight. As he leaned out, he failed to note the Electric Car No. 26 coming in the opposite direction on the next track. Just as he was about to jump, the cars passed each other. The No. 26 struck him, knocking him back into the No. 20, and then he rolled out and fell to the ground.
Citizens carried him unconscious to a nearby house to await the response of Patrol No. 10. Patrolman Zimmerer died in route to City Hospital from a skull fracture at the base of the brain. His remains were removed to the morgue.
Patrolman Zimmerer was survived by his wife, Alice (Lurker) Zimmerer; children, Henry J. Zimmerer (7) and Annie Zimmerer; and his parents. On August 27, 1895, a cortege of many carriages escorted him to his burial in Section 2, Lot 153, at St. Mary’s Cemetery on East Ross, St. Bernard.
Lieutenant Kane and Patrolman Klosterman arrested John Liston, the motorman of the Electric Car No. 26, on a charge of Manslaughter, as was the custom of that era. He was bonded out that evening and later the charge was dropped. The two men who were fighting were never identified.
Mrs. Zimmerman raised her children until they both married. She passed away 41 years after her husband during 1936.
If you have information, artifacts, archives, or images regarding this officer or incident, please contact the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum at Director@Police-Museum.org.
© This narrative was revised August 21, 2016 by Cincinnati Police Lieutenant Stephen R. Kramer (Retired), Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society President. All rights are reserved to him and the Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society.