Often called "Little Germany," Hermann was founded by the German Settlement Society of Philadelphia, 1836, as a colony where German customs and language could be preserved amid the benefits of America. Named for the national Germanic hero, the town was laid out on a part of the 11,300 acres bought by the society agent George F. Bayer for $15,612.
Though the society disbanded, 1839, the town had a steady German immigration. A German newspaper "Licht Freund" (Friend of Light) was founded, 1843, by Edward Muehl, soon known for his anti-slavery views, and a German school was chartered, 1849.
Hermann developed as a river shipping point and grape culture and wine making flourished. Here, before Prohibition, was one of the largest wineries in the U.S. George Husmann (1827-1902), famed viticulturist, had a vineyard near Hermann. Today several large industries have plants here.
Near the Hermann Bridge, completed, 1930, many German Immigrants perished when the steamboat Big Hatchie exploded, 1843.
Hermann is reminiscent of Rhine Valley towns with its distinctive architecture here amid the splendor of the Ozark foothills. In 1843 it became the fourth town to serve as seat of Gasconade County. The present courthouse was built in 1898 with $50,000 donated by C. D. Eitzen.
The County, organized, 1820, is named for the Gasconade (French = brag) River. One of the first county officials was Daniel Morgan Boone, son of the pioneer. Niter found in caves, game, and timber brought settlement in the early 1800's. The returning Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1806, joyfully hailed the sight of cows along the riverbank here.
When the Missouri Pacific R.R. reached Jefferson City, 1855, its first bridge over the Gasconade, some 7 miles west, collapsed with its first train killing 28 passengers.
Hermann celebrates its heritage in the traditional Maifest (May Festival). Then featured are German costume, music, and cookery. An old homes tour includes Stone Hill Farm Wine cellars now used in raising mushrooms. There is a town museum.
Erected 1955 by State Historical Society of Missouri and State Highway Commission.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Missouri, State Historical Society of marker series.
Location. 38° 42.408′ N, 91° 26.279′ W. Marker is in Hermann, Missouri, in Gasconade County. Marker is at the intersection of Missouri Route 19 and Missouri Route 100, on the right when traveling south on State Route 19. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Hermann MO 65041, United States of America.
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Categories. • Settlements & Settlers •
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