Hermann Missouri History ::

Hermann Missouri Visitor Information Center ::  Located next to The Chocolate Shop and Battocletti's Bakery on Market St/Hwy19
Market Street
Hermann, MO 65041-1033 :: 573.486.2744 or Toll Free at 800.932.8687
Fax: 573.486.5363

Email: tourism@hermannmo.com 
:: Websites:  www.hermannmo.com :: www.hermannmo.info


Hermann, The Missouri River town in Gasconade County, is cupped against the background of 300 foot hills. The early houses are set against the sidewalk with neat lawns and flower gardens which give the city an old world charm.

The German Settlement Society of Philadelphia was organized on August 27, 1836 after having first met at the Penn Hotel, Laetetia Court, Market Street, Philadelphia on May 7th of that same year. The German people were anxious to preserve their language, customs and way of life in this new land. Three deputies were sent out to find this land in the Far West while the Society started selling share in the project.

When the deputies returned they strongly recommended the area along the Gasconade River, no doubt because it reminded them of their homeland along the Rhine and Weser. George Bayer, a school teacher, was sent to buy the land. While he was doing this the Society planned the city of Hermann, named the streets and laid out parks etc. Bayer purchased 11,012.5 acres in Gasconade County for $13,765.68. Most of the land he bought was along the mouth and valley of Frene Creek and at Oldenberg (Stolpe).

With an eagerness that almost seems unnatural the first immigrants, seventeen people, arrived December 6, 1837. George Bayer, who had been appointed general agent, became ill at Pittsburg and could not continue the journey. This delay caused great inconvenience for the people who arrived here and had to spend the first winter in shelters on the banks of the Missouri.

When Bayer arrived in the spring of 1838 he found the people sound of body but not content in mind.

By May of 1839 there were 450 people in Hermann, ninety houses, five stores, two hotels and a post office established in 1838.

Hermann's Namesake ::

The City of Hermann, Missouri takes its name from Hermann the Cherusker. Hermann the Cherusker (the Romans called him Arminius) is a German folk hero of the first century who annihilated three Roman Legions in the Battle of Teutoburger in 9 A.D. at the ripe old age of 27 years old. Historians say his victory was the beginning of the end of domination by the empire of the Ceasars over Germany as well as the British Isles. To many Germans, he is understandably a symbol for strength. 
In his honor, the Germans erected a tall monument of him near Detmold, Germany in 1875, and a similar monument in New Ulm, Minnesota, was erected in 1897. Pictured at right is statue of Hermann that guards the entrance of Spassberg, a German village at Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio.

Hermann, son of Sigimer, was one of the Germanic princes of the Cherusci (also known as the Cherusker tribe). He and his brother, Flavus, were educated by the Romans, and Flavus ultimately would take up arms against his own people. Hermann became an officer in the Roman military forces, but when he returned to his native land of Germany, he soon objected to the imposition of Roman law upon his people. Hermann was determined to prevent his country from being delivered up to Rome. Hermann knew that the Romans were superior in their equipment, organization, and numbers, but he was convinced that if the Romans came and fought in his home country, his knowledge of the land would be enough of an advantage to overpower the Romans. His attacks were successful, and he swiftly defeated the Roman Army, causing people far and wide to rebel against the Romans. 

Hermann's heroics for his people were not without extreme cost to him. In vengeance, the Romans captured his pregnant wife and took her off to slavery in Rome. A son was born to his wife in Rome and had to remain a slave for the rest of his life. Hermann never saw his wife again or his son. Hermann died 12 years after his great military victory.
German, Roman, and British historians recognize Hermann as one of the most ingenious personalities who precipitated the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of a Germanic Europe.


Additional Hermann History ::

Hermann was founded in 1836 by the German Settlement Society of Philadelphia. Concerned because of the English influence on their children and the loss of their German traditions and customs, the society had a grand vision of founding a city where German culture could flourish in the New World. In early spring of 1837, the settlement society sent a scouting committee to visit locations in the Midwest for their new city, which was the first planned community west of the Mississippi River.

They deputized George Bayer, a teacher, to lay claim to the land that is now Hermann because the geography reminded them of the Rhineland in Germany. Bayer purchased over 11,300 acres at a cost of about $15,600. The town was bordered by hills on three sides and the Missouri River to the north. Bayer was later appointed as General Agent for the new city at a salary of $600 per year.

The first group of settlers, nine adults and eight children, arrived in Hermann in December of 1837 on the last steamboat of the season from St. Charles, Missouri. Bayer started with the 17 settlers, but he became ill and was delayed many weeks in Pittsburgh. His delay in arriving caused problems because he was the only person with the authority to lay out and assign lots to people. Another group of colony members planned better. Instead of showing up in the wilderness in the middle of winter, they came as far as St. Louis, looked for temporary work, and waited for Bayer. They moved to Hermann in the spring of 1838, along with Bayer.

Developing their town was more difficult than the organizers had expected, in part because they asked too much from Bayer. He was to survey all the land, assign property to the colonists, furnish food for all the settlers, arrange for sawmills and gristmills to be built, and deal with complaints. And the settlers had many complaints. In fact, they complained so much that the Society lost confidence in Bayer and released him from his duties. His health had suffered under the demands placed on him, and Bayer died (some say of a broken heart) in March 1839 at the age of 39. He was buried in the remotest part of the Hermann Cemetery on East Hill, and it was declared that no one could be buried within 75 feet of his grave.

During Hermann's sesquicentennial celebration in 1986, a court of inquiry was formed to hear Bayer's case. It was determined that all the tasks that were assigned to him were impossible to carry out, and, therefore, he was exonerated.

Today, Hermann is a thriving community, although the Germans had hoped to build a city that could rival Philadelphia. We do have one claim to fame, however, and that is our Market Street is 10 feet wider than Market Street in Philadelphia.

Hermann has two official historic districts, which were designated in 1969; the area surrounding Stone Hill Winery and the part of town near the Missouri River. We have more than 110 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. Hermann's population is approximately 2,750. Its main industries are tourism and agriculture.

 

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Hermann, Missouri 65041
1.573.486.2222 or Toll Free at 1.888.942.7529 
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