In your opinion, what does Frankenmuth tell us about the United States as a whole?
I would say it shows us that the United States is really a country of immigrants and that these immigrants have shaped the country and made it what it is today!
Happy "Washington's Birthday!"
"But wait FHA, isn't today President's Day? And isn't our first president's birthday actually tomorrow?"
We're glad you asked! Technically, today is officially "Washington's Birthday," not "President's Day." This day was originally a celebration of our first president's birthday (Feb 22). While Washington’s Birthday was an unofficial observance for most of the 1800s, it was not until the late 1870s that it became a federal holiday. Senator Stephen Wallace Dorsey of Arkansas was the first to propose the measure, and in 1879 President Rutherford B. Hayes signed it into law.
For the grand majority of the Cold War, the United States’ mainland was rarely in direct danger. There was the looming anxiety that nuclear weapons created, but an invasion of the US mainland was never to be something to fear. The problem of nuclear weapons became a very real and present fear at one single moment during the Cold War. For one month and four days during the fall of 1962, the US mainland was in the direct sights of nuclear warheads.
Americans pride themselves on their support for their armed service members. We have an entire holiday dedicated to honoring our veterans along with countless documentaries, films, and even tv shows about soldier’s bravery during conflict. But for all of this honor for our armed services there is one conflict in recent memory that is overlooked: The Korean War.
Following their surrender in World War II, world leaders divided Germany into four pieces to be occupied until the nation could re-enter the world stage. The US, UK, France and USSR all received a segment of the nation to occupy. However, with the nation’s capital, Berlin, firmly in the Soviet section the city was further split four ways to restrict the Soviet influence over the city. Here, in Berlin was where one of the most physical representations of the Cold War would stand. That representation, the Berlin Wall. For many of us, the Berlin Wall’s history is presented as the day it fell on the 9th of November 1989. The wall, however, stood as the constant reminder for German citizens that they were separate. This history of the wall is more than its fall.
The Cold War was a decades long struggle (roughly 1945-1991) between the United States and the Soviet Union. Countless proxy-wars were fought in an effort to spread or contain communism and capitalism, costing hundreds of thousands, if not millions of lives. But what caused the Cold War?
“The soldier does not fight for hate of the enemy or what is in front of him, but for love of his brothers and what's behind him.”
William Cuthbertson, just 28 years old in the Summer of 1942, had a lot behind him to fight for. He had recently married his fiancé, Dorothy Nuechterlein, in April. Little did he know, but Dorothy would have a child 9 months later. He had friends and family in Michigan, not to mention the brothers serving in close proximity on the submarine, the Grunion.
This week marks the unofficial founding of the Frankenmuth Historical Association, the organization that preserves Frankenmuth’s history. In the 1960s, Frankenmuth residents were rediscovering their German heritage. The Bavarian festival increased in popularity, businesses adopted German “alpine” accents, Gunzenhausen was established as Frankenmuth’s Sister City, local residents met German cousins they never knew they had, and a small group of locals began meeting in the old high school, in each others houses, and even in basements to discuss the prospects of forming a historical organization. In 1963, the group formally organized the Frankenmuth Historical Association.
With no physical building to their name, the Association created and displayed artifacts in local businesses and at the school. In 1970, the Association created a campaign to raise funds from the local community. Thanks to the generosity of the town, the Association raised enough to purchase its permanent and current home at 613 S. Main Street, the former home of the Kern Hotel (1905-1942) and the Frankenmuth News (1942-1970).
Preparing to install a new exhibit is a lot of work, and prepping for our newest exhibit, The Great Lakes State Goes to War, was particularly draining for me. Not because of the amount of hours that went into the research and exhibit, but because of the words I read about soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
“Left behind his mother.”
“Left behind his two sisters.”
“Left behind his fiance.”
“Left behind his wife and daughter.”
In the Spring of 1850, a group of settlers set out from Mittelfranken, Bavaria to begin their 4-month journey to their new home. Most of the group lost heart in settling in unknown lands. Several families split off and left for Detroit and Saginaw. When they saw a chance at a new life and economic freedom, they took it. I recently said this to one tourist and she asked, "How important was religion to the early settlers?" This is a complicated question that is best answered by the settlers themselves. So, I dove into these early letters to understand this better myself.
We are proud to present History at Home! History at Home is a virtual learning program that includes fun educational content, including a blog and our podcast. Even if you cannot visit us in person, there is still so much to do!