Tag Archives: Missouri

Emmaus Home listed on Places in Peril

The Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation (Missouri Preservation) announced its 2017 list of historic Places in Peril on Friday evening, August 25, 2017 at a special “Unhappy Hour” event at the National Building Arts Center, NBCenterwhich is located in Sauget Illinois just across the Mississippi River from downtown St. Louis. Seven new endangered historic places were named to the list for 2017 and six were carried over from the previous year, including the Emmaus Homes located in Marthasville, Missouri. Missouri Preservation is a statewide non-profit organization that has at its core a mission to advocate for, educate about and assist in the preservation of architectural and historic landmarks that embody Missouri’s unique heritage and sense of place. Its chief advocacy program is its “Places in Peril”. Begun as a media campaign in 2000 as “Missouri’s Most Endangered Historic Places,” the program calls attention to endangered historic resources statewide that are threatened by deterioration, lack of Pennymaintenance, insufficient funds, imminent demolition and/or inappropriate development. The program was renamed “Places in Peril” in 2015. Once a historic resource is gone, it’s gone forever. By publicizing these places the organization hopes to build support toward the eventual preservation of each property named.
While it is acknowledged that not every historic resource named here can be rescued, the efficacy of the Places in Peril Program will be proven in the many instances where by advocating publicly for its preservation, and planning for its continued contribution to Missouri’s built environment, many an imperiled property will indeed find rehabilitation and ongoing preservation, contributing to the education and enjoyment of future generations of Missourians.

The Emmaus Home Complex in Marthasville

EmmausThe Emmaus Home Complex in Marthasville began as a seminary for the German Evangelical Church in Missouri. A campus of five buildings was completed here by 1859. Four of these remain in various states of repair, those being the Farm House, Bake Oven, Friedensbote (Messenger of Peace) Publishing House, and the Dormitory. The College Building itself was lost to a fire in 1930. The seminary was in operation at this site until 1883, when it moved to St. Louis and eventually became Eden Seminary.

"In 1893 the campus in Marthasville became known the Emmaus Asylum for Epileptics
 and Feeble Minded. The campus grew to a total of eight substantial buildings including
 a chapel, by 1928. In more recent years the religious denomination became the United
 Church of Christ and the two campuses the church body owned – this one in Warren
 County for men, and the other in St. Charles County for women – became known simply
 as the Emmaus Homes. This is an important historic site, having been constructed by
 some of the tens of thousands of Germans who emigrated here beginning in the 1830s.
 In the area the first Evangelical church west of the Mississippi was constructed, and this
 marked the beginning of the Synod of the west, known as Der Deutsche Evangelisch
 Kirchenverein des Westens. The buildings in the complex are unique in that they are of
 sturdy limestone construction in varying German styles by German immigrants. They
 are representative of the tenacity of some of Missouri’s earliest Germans, and are
 unique in that most are original with very few modifications over the years. Through the
 years the approach toward caring for the handicapped and developmentally disabled
 has also changed, and care for the residents at Emmaus has shifted from large
 institutional settings to smaller group homes. Emmaus has indicated that they wish to
 transition all clients away from Marthasville by 2020. It is hoped that by listing this
 campus on the list of Missouri’s Places in Peril that when it comes time to dispose of the
 campus, that Emmaus Homes will seek to find a reuse for this campus that will preserve
 the historic buildings located here." Missouri Preservation
  • For More Information:  Missouri Preservation, 319 N. 4th Street, Suite 850, St. Louis, Missouri 63102, Executive Director, Bill Hart, (314)691-1941, Administrator, Riley Price (660)882-5946 Photo and article from Missouri Preservation.




Missouri’s German Heritage

Missouri is the state where “the Sun of Freedom shines” according to Friedrich Muench, co-founder of the Giessen Emigration Society in 1834. This land was uncharted, fertile, inexpensive and  wide open. young attorney named Gottfried Duden from Remscheid Germany had taken notice of this newly formed State called Missouri just five years earlier.  When he published a small book on the subject in 1829, A Report on a Journey to the Western States of North America he described what some referred to as a veritable Garden of Eden, with rolling hills, wide fertile river valleys and acre upon acre of inexpensive land. Even better, was the land came with all of those American freedoms called Democracy, where one had the right to vote and the ability to pursue the American dream. This book was an instant best-seller! Just the right words at just the right time.  And a new floodgate for German emigrants was opened. Within the decade of the 1830s over 120,000 Germans would emigrate to the United States with over a third of those settling in the State of Missouri, and many coming because of Duden’s book.
“In 2015, Missouri Humanities Council Executive Director Dr. Steve Belko recognized the amount of German heritage that filled the State and began the German Heritage Corridor of Missouri inventory. With Missouri’s General Assembly also recognizing the importance of its’ German heritage, the sixteen counties of Boone, Chariton, Saline, Lafayette, Cooper, Howard, Moniteau, Cole, Callaway, Osage, Gasconade, Warren, Montgomery, Franklin, St. Charles, St. Louis and the City of St. Louis were officially signed into being by Governor Nixon on July 1, 2016 as the German Heritage Corridor. In MO_GHC_logothe Fall/Winter issue of the Missouri Humanities magazine, Belko states “Although the particulars of this story center on Missouri, the Missouri Humanities Council expects national and even transatlantic interest in this project, due to both its scale and the vast percentage of Americans who trace their ancestry to Germany”.

The Corridor’s inventory explores the State’s heritage in five phases: Early Settlement 1819-1848, Revolutionary 1848-1875, Growth and Prosperity 1875-1914, Gilded Age from 1914-1945and Modern which is post 1945. To better understand and interpret these phases in Missouri’s history the project uses five themes to guide it: Environment (which includes the parks and trails), Demographics, Work and Technology, Institutions and Values. According to Belko, all of this combined gives us a much greater picture of the state’s German heritage. From the little village of Dutzow, where they first settled alongside Duden’s Missouri farm, to the huge City of St. Louis, this heritage can still be found today. It is heard at the St. Charles Oktoberfest in the fall and or Hermann’s Maifest in the spring. It is tasted in the wineries near Augusta, which lies in the first such designated American Viticultural Area in the U.S., or inthe breweries in St. Louis. It is also heard in the voices of the Dammenchor as they practice in the German Cultural Society’s hall, or the young children’s voices as they practice their German at the St. Louis German School. Sometimes, we come upon it by surprise when we discover the German settlement of Munichburg inside Jefferson City, our State Capitol. Perhaps we will find it in the St. Paul High school in the City of Concordia … which is on one end of the Corridor, as its history ties it with the Concordia Seminary in St. Louis at the other end.

From one end of our State to another, Missouri’s German heritage encompasses more than just the Corridor, its inventory gathers the stories, the history, the festivals and the places that help us to identify with our German ancestry. Collecting the organizations that still exist, some of which are nearly 200 years old such as the St. Louis Liederkranz, help us to better understand our ancestor’s lives. This German American identity is what sets us apart and makes us proud. We take pride in this heritage and celebrate its history. We want to continue to share and impart these stories so that the next generation and many more after that, can also share in this story and take pride in this heritage. When our ancestors left Germany’s shores, they came packed with all of this. Today, we must take responsibility and see that it is not lost. We must first gather this information and slowly unpack it and share it, then celebrate it, in order that all future generations may then know and appreciate our German American heritage.” 

The German American Heritage Foundation’s Ambassador Magazine