Hermann, Missouri: Heart of German-America

Why would anyone care about Hermann, Missouri? Who from Germany would care about a place in the middle of the United States? You should, that's who.

Hermann's population is 98.8% German. It was established by German immigrants during the mid-19th century by a German settlement from Pennsylvania in order to "establish the almost utopian goals true to the heart of German-America where it could perpetuate traditional German culture and establish a self-supporting colony built around farming, commerce and industry." The population is only 2,674, but thousands of tourists flock there every year for the city's Oktoberfest, where they serve more beer than anyone even bothers to count anymore.

However, the people of Hermann do not make their money off beer or tourism. They make it off wine. It is one the largest wine producers per capita in America. I can testify; the city makes some good wine. Furthermore, the proud city of Hermann is home to Adam Puchta Winery - the oldest family-owned winery in the United States. That is something both you and I can be proud of. The seven wineries produce one-third of the wine in Missouri...and people in Missouri drink A LOT. After all, it is in the middle of America, and full of "a host of down-home folks," according to the tourist website.

One other thing I think we can all be proud of is the simple fact that Hermann is home to the largest sausage/wurst factory in the United States. That is an impressive fact for a small town founded on modest simplicity. It is also regarded as Missouri's "most beautiful town" or "Missouri's Dream City."

There are many debates as to when Hermann was actually settled, but I trust you to do a little Googling if you are concerned with dates outside of mid-19th century. What is for certain is that it was settled by Gottfried Duden. Great name, right? 

One mystery is of the Hermann Bridge. The problem is that it used to bridge the gap over the Missouri River (think-over the Rhine). Then it disappeared (closed July 23, 2007). You built that bridge and now it's gone. What's left over? Not some empty space but a new bridge. Did you or the "down-home folks" of Hermann, Missouri build it? No, a wealthy "out of towner" muscled his way in and built a new one. That is why you should care about Hermann, Missouri. Come and visit - not just for Oktoberfest, but also for the wine and the people - just don't cross that bridge on your way in.

 


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