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.
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.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Settlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the Missouri, The State Historical Society of series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1836.
Location. 38° 42.41′ N, 91° 25.832′ W. Marker is in Hermann, Missouri
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Wohlt House (within shouting distance of this marker); Voyage of Discovery (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Lewis and Clark Expedition Across Missouri (about 500 feet away); The Caboose Museum (about 600 feet away); Pioneer Trails Juncture (about 600 feet away); Monnig Family General Store (about 700 feet away); 232 Wharf St. (about 800 feet away); The Concert Hall and Barrel Bar (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hermann.
Credits. This page was last revised on March 24, 2021. It was originally submitted on June 23, 2011, by Cldisme of Joliet, Illinois. This page has been viewed 723 times since then and 13 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on March 24, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.