Tag Archives: Missouri

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

German Heritage Program

The German Heritage of St Charles County  – This will be a concurrent event with the O’Fallon Historic Preservation Commission and the O’Fallon Historical Society. Dorris Keeven-Franke will give an informative speech about the German Heritage of St. Charles County. Dorris is the Executive Director of the Missouri Germans Consortium, an open German-American organization devoted to the preservation of the heritage, culture and history of the German emigrants that settled in Missouri. They partner with other like-minded organizations to bring programs, books, and events to those across the U.S. with the same interests and goals. Registration is not required and there is plenty of room at the handicapped accessible City Hall Council chambers. The meeting will be in the O’Fallon City Hall, 100 N Main Street, Tuesday, June 6, 2017 at 6 pm. Please share this event with your friends or anyone interested in the German heritage of St. Charles County.

Ludwigsburg Philharmonic Choir

Here it is nearly August and students are heading back to school. In many communities students may be studying foreign languages, but recent surveys may show that in some, German is on the decline. While this may simply be because of government mandates on sister Cities Int.what students cover, many colleges do insist on high school students having four years of study. One way many communities contribute to the interest generated in the German language in Missouri is through Sister Cities International, where cities large and small are paired with friendship pacts. These may range from St. Louis which is friends with Stuttgart for over 50 years, to Saint Charles who has been friends with Ludwigsburg, which is also a  suburb of Stuttgart just like Saint Charles is with St. Louis. The Saint Charles-Ludwigsburg partnership is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year. In Washington Missouri their partnership quite often goes so far to host guests in the same occupation, with the Mayor, newspaper editor, and fire department volunteers. This enables quite often a very meaningful exchange between the host and the guest whether it is in Germany or in the U.S..

These friendships quite often form lasting relationships, sometimes marriages! Besides businesses exchanging ideas and concepts, students in various high schools join in the exchanges as well. Most students come home changed after experiencing travel to a

Saint Charles High Student sharing her recent visit to Ludwigsburg Germany

foreign country, and not just by how much their study of German “may” have improved. U.S students often learn that in some ways while they may be very much alike, there are many  aspects that they differ on. Most would state that the education systems, are number one on their “different” lists. However music, cell phones or their “handy” and sports often top the same lists. And then there is always the subject of food, and while it may differ, the favorites seem to be the same. Whatever the comparisons are about the experience are, one thing that almost all students tend to remark on is “how much it has changed them and their view of the world.” If your community is fortunate enough to have a “Sister City” if you and your family get involved, one thing is for certain, the experiences will be memorable.

In Saint Charles Missouri, on August 25, 2016, over 45 choir members of the Ludwigsburg Philharmonic Choir will arrive in Saint Charles. Hope Lutheran Church (1975 South Old

Exchange with Joe
Saint Charles-Ludwigsburg Exchange students from Saint Charles High and other area schools visited with President Joe Daus and the St Charles Chapter, sharing their recent experiences on their trip to Germany.

Highway 94) in Saint Charles is hosting the Choir with the assistance of the Saint Charles Sister Cities Inc – the German Chapter – and the City of Saint Charles. The German Chapter in Saint Charles is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year. The Sister Cities International network unites tens of thousands of citizen diplomats and volunteers in 570 Member communities with over 2,300 partnerships in 150 countries on six continents every year.

While visiting the Choir will perform in several concerts which are free and open to the public. On Sunday, August 28th at 4:00 pm they will perform with the choir of the First United Methodist Church at 801 First Capital Drive in Saint Charles. On Saturday, September 3, 2016 they will perform a public Concert,  at 7:00 PM at Saint Charles High, 725 N. Kingshighway (1975 South Old Highway 94).  They will have a Sangerfest – a song fest with the Hope Lutheran Choir on Thursday evening at 7 pm. to which the public is invited to meet and visit with our German guests. They have also been invited to sing “Take me out to the Ballgame” for the River City Rascals ballgame on Saturday, August 27th.