Let me ask you a question: What is the first association that comes to mind when you think about the city of Frankenmuth? Right, the fact that it’s "Michigan’s Little Bavaria," or "Michigan’s most German town" of course!
Frankenmuth is a city where German heritage and culture live on, even over 175 years after the first 15 German settlers arrived. The buildings look German with their timber-framed architecture, you can enjoy German cuisine and stores, and German festival traditions like the annual Oktoberfest ensure that there is something fun going on all year round.
But how does all this look to a young modern-day German?
YouTube has millions of videos for someone to choose and watch. Topics range from cooking to gaming, pets to gardening, and everything in between. Even in the historical field, there are thousands of videos on a variety of different topics, so much so that you could never watch all the videos that YouTube holds in a lifetime!
“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.
“Hey Heidi, I need to know more about a building on Main Street.”
“Talk to Mary,” Heidi says.
I look over at Mary. “Mary, what can you tell me about the old brick building up for sale on Main Street?”
“You mean the one that used to be next to the Gugel Bros. store?” she replies.
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).
Welcome to “History at Home,” the Frankenmuth Historical Association’s (FHA) blog. This weekly blog is part of the FHA’s effort to fulfill its mission: “To preserve, communicate, and celebrate the heritage of the Franconian communities and to promote a greater appreciation for local, regional, national, and world history among the residents of and visitors to Frankenmuth.”
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!