Tag Archives: St. Charles

Fachwerk

The Main Street of Saint Charles, Missouri is lined with over one hundred and fifty beautiful and unique time capsules of the city’s history, which are more commonly referred to today as “buildings.” Each one is filled with interesting stories, fascinating people, heroic events and shares precious moments in the city’s history. When IMG_3850researching a building there are so many ways to discover its stories!  One begins with the deeds, the chain of titles, usually a list of names and dates of who owned the property when. This creates the basic framework, the skeleton, on which the story builds. Occasionally a deed will give one a glimpse at the story, yet to come to life. Either by sharing a famous name, or describing  the property use, such as a mill or maybe the business such as “Farmer’s Home”, or if really lucky a description of the building itself.

In order for the story to come to life, one has to “flesh out” the skeleton.  Combine those deeds with names and dates, with the people whose lives played out, and the events that happened, such as cyclones, earthquakes and wars. One can begin to see IMG_2257the story “take shape”. And if we then add the newspapers ads, insurance maps, photographs, and more, we can the really understand the property and its’ story begins to build. Add some interesting events like a fire, or a murder and you really put some “guts” in your story. But there is nothing quite like the skin and taking a look up close up and under, to really know a building. Only then can you see why they bought an extra ten feet from their neighbor, or how the addition was done that makes it really look like one building. To see a building with all of its bumps and bruises, and its many attempts at looking young again, can you really begin to know a building.

Recently, when researching some of the buildings on Main Street, some rather startling discoveries were made while using what are called the Sanborn maps.* These maps were made in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century for use by local insurance agents to register with Insurance Brokerage firms, and show the construction of a building. They are color coded to explain whether a building is wood (yellow), brick (pink) or stone (grey). But what about a building that is concealed, or more than one method? Such as the German building technique known as “fachwerk”  sometimes referred to as timber framing. As esteemed historian Charles van Ravenswaay says in The Arts and Architecture of German Settlements in Missouri: A Survey of a Vanishing CultureFachwerk (framework) construction was never absorbed into the American building tradition. It was used only by German immigrants throughout the area…beginning in the 1830s. …The interstices of the half-timer construction are nogged with sun-dried brick.”

Germans began immigrating to Missouri in the 1830s after Gottfried Duden’s Report on a Journey to the Western States of North America was published in 1829 in Germany. Duden would describe a “land of opportunity” with its expanse of available cheap land and the freedoms one had from an oppressive ruler, coupled with the freedoms of speech and religion. They flocked to St. Louis, St. Charles, andIMG_2259 all of the wide open land beyond, establishing settlements called Hamburg, St. Paul and Dutzow. They brought with them traditions, and customs. Building techniques were carried in their memory, unpacked and often used to add to the feeling of being “at home.” Recently there has bee at least three buildings discovered on St. Charles’ Main Street built in part or in whole, in this German method that look like traditional frame buildings on the exterior and marked as such on the Sanborn Maps.

One would suspect more to be found if one knows what one is looking for. As these buildings quite often are covered over with siding, one doesn’t see the “fachwerk” unless in the attic, or a room that has had it exposed for its’ aesthetic beauty. Since St. IMG_2260Charles history dates back to the 1760s when the French Canadian from Quebec Louis Blanchette first “founded and sited” the settlement he called “Les Petite Cotes” or Little Hills, its “time capsules” range for nearly two hundred and fifty years. The Germans  didn’t enter the story until around the 1790s. By the 1850s, St. Charles was like so many other cities in Missouri, both large and small, over fifty percent German born or of German ancestry. It comes as no surprise to discover the building style, but a little sad to acknowledge that like so much of our German heritage, it has faded over time. Our German heritage spans the entire state, not only along the Missouri River valley or the German Heritage Corridor but from the Saxon Lutherans in Perry County to the Westfalians in Cole Camp it fills our state.

Do you know of a building built in the “fachwerk” style?

*The St. Charles Sanborn Maps are available today in digital format thanks to the Digital Library of the University of Missouri at http://dl.mospace.umsystem.edu/mu/islandora/object/mu%3A138975 for the years 1886, 1893, 1900 1909 and 1917.

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Zeitung for May 2017

Missouri Germans Consortium Newsletter for May, 2017

Happy May Day! The happy tradition of the Maibaum or Maypole is an annual rite of springtime.  So is… The St. Charles County German Heritage Society ‘s ANNUAL MAIFEST DINNER on Sunday, May 7, 2017 at 4:00 PM at  PIO’s  401 First Capitol Dr. 63301 There will be a program about the German Heritage of St. Charles by Dorris Keeven-Franke followed by a delicious dinner. You do not have to be a member to join us!  For tickets or more information call 636-221-1524 and purchase your tickets NOW. Credit Cards Accepted. Reservations need to be made no later than May 5! 

News From the 

German School Assoc

SUMMER CAMP

What

  • Summer Immersion Camp for children, ages 5-12 years old
  • No previous language experience required
  • Learn German through fun activities, games, and crafts

When

  • July 10 – July 14, 2017
  • Monday – Friday 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Where

  • St. Paul’s Lutheran School,1300 N. Ballas Rd. at Manchester Rd.

Tuition

  • Tuition is $200.00 per week (which includes a $25.00 nonrefundable administration fee)
  • Register online at https://www.germanschoolstl.org/ (for tuition payment with debit or credit cards)

For more information

Visit our website: https://www.germanschoolstl.org/

Email us: info@germanschoolstl.org

2017_SUMMER_REGISTRATION_FORM.pdf

2017 Fall Registration Now Open!
Save $65 per student by registering by May 31 st.

Registration by May 31: $430.00 Tuition + $75.00 Administration Fee = $505.00

Family Registering 3 or more members (adults or children) by May 31: $400.00 Tuition + $75.00 Administration Fee = $475.00

Registration after May 31): $495.00 Tuition + $75.00 Administration Fee = $570.00
Family Registering 3 or more members (adults or children) after May 31: $465.00 Tuition + $75.00 Administration Fee =
$540.00

Register online or find a paper registration at: https://www.germanschoolstl.org/enrollment

We’re moving!
The German School Association is moving. Starting in August 2017, GSA classes will be at 505 S. Kirkwood Rd. across from the Magic House.

 

WATCH FOR A SECOND NEWSLETTER IN MAY AS MISSOURI GERMANS HAS MORE FORTHCOMING ANNOUNCEMENTS. 

 

Germans and Emancipation

Arnold Krekel, was born in Germany in 1815, served as President of Missouri’s Constitutional Convention when slavery was abolished on January 11, 1865. He emigrated with his family to Dutzow, Missouri in November of 1832. The young man moved to searchSt. Charles and attended the  St. Charles College where he studied law. He worked as a surveyor and became a Justice of the Peace as well. In 1844 he graduated the bar and opened his law office. Krekel became the St. Charles County and city attorney from 1846 to 1850. He was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 1852. Krekel was editor of the St. Charles German newspaper, Der Demokrat from 1850 until 1864, and when the Civil War began, Krekel served in the Union Army, as Colonel of a regiment of Missouri volunteers.

Old St. Charles College - 1886
Old St. Charles College 3rd & Jefferson ca 1886 In 1860, Arnold Krekel, took St. Charles College to be used as a hospital. The basement was a prison with military guards.

When the Civil War began, Missouri’s plans for gradual emancipation infuriated the Radical Republicans, who wanted slavery abolished immediately. They took their grievances to Lincoln, who refused to take sides in Missouri’s politics, which infuriated them even more. Provisional Governor Gamble offered to resign, but the First Constitutional Convention would not accept it. Gamble died in office on 31 January 1864. Missouri’s radicals arranged for elections and for a new Constitutional Convention in November 1864, where they elected Thomas C. Fletcher Missouri governor.

Constitutional Convention of 1865

Arnold Krekel, a Democrat, was elected President of the new Constitutional Convention that met in the Mercantile Library in St. Louis on January 6, 1865. On January 11, 1865 the convention, by a 60 to 4 vote, abolished slavery in the state with no compensation for slave owners. A month later the convention also adopted the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution to abolish slavery throughout the U.S..

On March 6, 1865, Krekel was nominated by President Lincoln to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, and confirmed on March 9, 1865. Krekel later taught law at the University of Missouri Law School in Columbia from 1872 to 1875, and continued to as a Judge for the Court until his retirement on June 9, 1888.

Opening next month – German Immigrant Abolitionists: Fighting for a Free Missouri 

abolutionist

From February 12 to May 15, 2016 at Saint Louis University, Center for Global Citizenship, in Seminar Room 124, an exhibit “German Immigrant Abolitionists: Fighting for a Free Missouri” will be open. On February 12, 2016 there will be an opening reception with  Dr. Sydney Norton who will give a Curator’s talk at  4 pm. Public viewing at other times is by appointment only.  Call 314-977-9326 or email: michaelk@slu.edu  for more information. You may also visit  http://www.slu.edu/department-of-languages-literatures-and-cultures/news-and-events/german-abolitionist-exhibition where more information can be found.

 

EmancipationProc