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Editor's Note: Frankenmuth native Wally Kern submitted this column to the News, as German-American Day approaches this Thursday, October 6. Following is his thoughts on the holiday.

 October 6 is the day that the United States celebrates German-American Day. This has been done annually by a presidential proclamation since 1983 when President Reagan made the first proclamation. This was done to honor the 300 th anniversary of the first German settlement in the United States in 1683 when 13 German families came and founded Germantown, Pennsylvania. Individual Germans did come earlier such as to Jamestown and were a part of other settlements. The German-American Day is to recognize the contributions of progress and prosperity to this country made by people of German ancestry.

  Therefore it is fitting that the day be remembered in Frankenmuth since the founding of our community was by people of German heritage. The founding fathers came from Franconia from the state of Bavaria. Later German people from other regions of Germany came to settle in Frankenmuth. Thus Frankenmuth has become a melting pot of people with a German heritage.

  A distinction is made with highlighting our Franconian heritage. In culture and ancestry Franconians are distinctly different from the Bavarians with which our heritage is often associated. The Franconian administrative districts were incorporated into the Bavarian State in the early 1800s by Napoleon. Franconian people speak the Franconian dialects and are mostly Lutherans. Bavarians speak the Bavarian dialect and are mostly Catholic. Bavarians have their own culture and are somewhat an extension of the Austrian region. The Franconians come from the Frank tribe which at one time ruled most of France and Germany. The Franconian identity still exits in Germany today.

  Frankenmuth was settled in 1845 by 13 settlers from Middle Franconia. Additional settlers came quickly to enlarge the Frankenmuth settlement and form additional settlements in the area. The immigration groups were formed by a Pastor Löhe from Neuendettelsau for the German people to seek a better life and do mission work among the Indians.

  Frankenmuth prospered as an agricultural community supported by services in the town such as stores, fl our mills, and a lumber mill. The land in the area is mostly fl at and fertile which makes it suitable for farming. Culturally, Frankenmuth prospered with it strong religious practices and work ethic.

  The city has been known for its chicken dinners, Christmas store, and breweries. It now is known as one of the most prominent tourist attractions in the State of Michigan with events almost every week. In addition, it has attracted people to live in the community that work in other neighboring cities. The German heritage manifests itself in the clean community with buildings using German architectural designs and prolific flowers throughout the city.




German-American Day October 6
"A Reflection on Our Franconian Heritage"
From the Frankenmuth News on October 5, 2011.  By: Wallace Kern


From the Frankenmuth News on April 7, 2010


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