||Site 59:Flandrau State Park|
1300 Summit Ave., New Ulm.
The gentle flowing Big Cottonwood River meanders through this southern park. The sand-bottom swimming pond, picnic area, campgrounds and group center attract many visitors every summer to this very popular state park. The terrain is diverse, offering views of wooded river bottoms, oxbow marshes and open grasslands. Hikers and cross-country skiers enjoy the flat trails on the bottom of the valley or more challenging routes on the oak-shaded bluffs. Visit historic stone buildings crafted by Works Progress Administration(WPA)crews. Vegetative features include goat prairies, small white lady's slippers, and the floodplain forest.
Originally named Cottonwood River State Park, after the river that runs through it, Flandrau was the site of a Work Projects Administration (WPA) camp during the late 1930s and early 1940s. Several buildings in the park are beautiful examples of the architectural work done by the WPA. During part of the 1940s, the camp was used as a World War II German prisoner-of-war camp. Today, the old WPA camp is used as the park's modern group center, complete with eight cabins, a dining hall, restroom buildings and a separate swimming pond. During this same era, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built a dam in the park, impounding a reservoir of approximately 200 acres on the Big Cottonwood River. After the dam was damaged by high water in 1947, 1965 and 1969, the remaining parts of the dam, including a spillway, were removed in 1995. The river now flows free through the park. The park was renamed Flandrau by the state legislature on March 15, 1945, to honor Charles E. Flandrau. He helped draft the first Minnesota constitution and was a member of the first Minnesota Supreme Court. He also played a prominent role in New Ulm during the U.S.-Dakota Conflict of 1862.
Flandrau is on the eastern edge of the Minnesota River Country region. The Dakota inhabitants thrived in the tallgrass prairie of the area with its interspersed marshes, lakes and streams. Today, extensive farming has replaced the prairie. At Flandrau, visitors may enjoy a diverse landscape that includes heavily wooded riverine areas, segments of oak forest and grassland areas along the bluffs. The main landscape type is floodplain forest. Large cottonwoods and other deciduous trees provide scenic beauty and habitat for both birds and wildlife.
The best way to learn more about Flandrau State Park is to stop at the park office for a map and information about the park. Although the park does not have a naturalist on staff, activities are offered occasionally.
Recreational facilities located in the park include a sand-bottomed, filtered swimming pool, trails, playground equipment, horseshoe courts, volleyball courts, and campgrounds.
507-354-3519 or 800-766-6000
|Site 60:Monuments in New Ulm |
There are many monuments that grace New Ulm. The first one is the Defender Monument, which is located at Center and State Streets. This monument was erected in 1891 by the State of Minnesota to honor the memory of the defenders who aided New Ulm during the Dakota Conflict in 1862. The artwork at the base was created by New Ulm artist Anton Gag.
The next one is the Waraju Distillery Chimney (Center & Linden) monument. One of the first pioneering industries of New Ulm was the Waraju steam distillery, built by Henry A. Subilia in 1860 for the production of whiskey ("waraju" is a Dakota word meaning "cottonwood"). It was built of nearly 200,000 hand-made bricks, measured 72 x 46 feet (21.9 x 14.0 m) in area, was 33 feet (10.1 m) high at the roof cornice, and cost about $10,000. Its most distinctive feature, all that remains above the surface today, is its tall red-brick chimney. New Ulm was attacked twice during the Dakota conflict of 1862 (on August 19 and 23), and the distillery was not defended. While the principal action occurred near the town center, the Dakota occupied the distillery and burned it. Its walls were still intact after the conflict, however, so with nearly 20 buildings destroyed, including the flour mill, the distillery was employed for that purpose until a new mill was built in 1864. The Waraju distillery then went out of business and was sold at a mortgage sale in 1866 for $800. The ruins were left open and fell into greater decay until the 1970s when the standing chimney was fenced and it was further leveled and landscaped.
Another monument is the Melges Bakery Building (213 S. Minnesota Street). Melges, New Ulm' first baker, was born in Horesta, Germany, in 1830; he came to America when he was 20 years old. He lived in the eastern states, becoming an American citizen in 1858. In 1865, he returned to Germany to marry the sweetheart of his youth. The same year, they came to New Ulm.
The Melges family added the north portion of the building in 1871; the only section of the original building to be replaced later was some bricks on the upper wall facing Minnesota Street, which suffered damage in an 1881 cyclone.
The Melgeses had seven children; their descendants spread out to parts of Minnesota, Illinois and California, in professions as different as medicine and the poultry business, each with their personal story, serious, funny or in-between, as evidenced in family histories.
Frederick's son, Julius, began operating the bakery in 1891. He was replaced by William Eibner, and Isadore and Heinen, in 1894. F.G. Heinze bought the bakery in 1903.
From 1917 to 1970, the building was home of the August Puhfahl family. In 1973, to ward off its demolition, the Brown County Historical Society bought it, using gifts from two major donors, Dr. Frederick J. Melges and Hellen Melges Doehring, grandchildren of the first Mr. and Mrs. Melges.
The last monument listed is the Hermann Monument (Center & Monument Streets). Hermann (Arminius), a Cheruscan chieftain, spearheaded the struggle to defend German tribes against a Roman imperial army. In time the Hermann story became a legend and Hermann a symbol of strength and unity in preserving freedom.
The story of the Roman legions' first major defeat unfolds in the forests of north-central Europe at the time of Christ. In autumn of A.D. 9 a coalition of German tribes under Hermann ambushed three Roman legions commanded by Qunctilius Varus. The defeat caused Caesar Augustus and his successors to forego conquering Central Europe. A new imperial policy changed European history. The people of Central Europe developed independent of Roman Rule.
Today, on Grotenberg Mountain, a high hill near the German city of Detmold, a colossal statue of Hermann memorializes the event. A similar but unique monument in New Ulm, Minnesota, has come to represent the contributions of Americans of German heritage, the largest ethnic group to emigrate from Europe to the United States.
There are also many monuments located in the city cemetery.
Tours of the New Ulm City Cemetery that weave together the history of New Ulm, its early settlers, the Dakota conflict and gravestone symbolism are available through the Brown County Historical Society. Tours are given from April – October. To book your tour - call the Brown County Historical Society at 507.233.2616.
507-233-4300 or 888-463-9856
4th & Minnesota Street, New Ulm.
New Ulm's Glockenspiel is a unique free-standing clock tower. It stands 45 feet tall with a bourdon bell weighing 595 pounds. The tower has animated figures that depict the city's history.
New Ulm's Glockenspiel plays at noon, 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. every day all year round. During the holiday season, the small moving characters in the clock are changed to a nativity scene. The Glockenspiel is located at the intersection of 4th North and Minnesota Streets.
507-233-4300 or 888-463-9856
|Site 62:Wanda Gag House |
226 N. Washington Street, New Ulm.
Wanda Hazel Gag, author of the classic children's book, Millions of Cats, lived in this house until the age of 29. The home, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, features skylights, an artist's studio, and open turrets.
Millions of Cats has its roots in the compelling childhood of Wanda Gag (1893-1946). She was born the oldest of seven children to German immigrant parents in New Ulm, Minnesota, a town still enriched in German heritage. Both her parents were artists; her father a journeyman painter whose portraits of seven cherubs still frame the high altar of the New Ulm Cathedral. Frustrated by the need of providing for seven children, he whispered to his then 15-yr-old daughter on his deathbed, "What your Papa could not do, Wanda will have to finish," enflaming her passion for art. She went on to become an artist and printmaker, winning two Newbery honors for Millions of Cats and ABC Bunny, and two Caldecott Medals, for Snow White and Nothing at All. Gag represents the beginning of children's book publishing in the
Wanda Gag's childhood home is a Victorian "painted lady" that has been restored to reveal seven areas of original stenciling by her father Anton. There are displays of family photographs of the Gag children (look for the flamboyant names!) as well as examples of Anton's professional photography. There are sketches that Wanda did, a blouse that she wore, and a children's game that she invented. During the restoration of the attic where the children played, 506 items were retrieved from under the floorboards—paintbrushes, watercolors, doll heads, doll clothes, marbles, and beads.
Tours of the house are seasonal, but special arrangements can be made ahead anytime by calling the number listed. A birthday celebration weekend with activities is planned for the weekend closest to Wanda's March 11th birthday (2004 will be the second weekend in March). The New Ulm website offers dates of many area activities including an infamous Octoberfest, so you may want to combine your visit with an area event. Include a visit to the Cathedral to see Anton's cherubs.
||Site 63:John Lind House|
622 Center Street, New Ulm.
John Lind, a Swedish-born immigrant, was elected as Minnesota's 14th governor in 1899. The Lind house was built on the corner of Center and State streets in 1887 by John and Alice Lind at a cost of $5,000. During his lifetime John Lind was a school teacher, superintendent of Brown County schools, a New Ulm Lawyer, and land agent. John Lind was also the first Swedish-born American to be elected to the United States Congress, president of the University Board of Regents, diplomatic representative to Mexico, and Minnesota Governor. In 1975, the home's elegant Queen Anne architecture and history allowed it to be placed on the National Register of Historic Homes as well as for its architectural and political significance. Grants from the State of Minnesota, the Minnesota Historical Society, the City of New Ulm and the Aid Association for Lutherans have been received. Many local corporations, financial institutions, businesses, service clubs and individuals have responded generously with finances and materials. The Lind house has been restored in the style in which it was originally built and is now available for private parties, receptions, and meetings. This stately home was often the center of the community's cultural activities.
During the Christmas season, the Lind house is decorated in Victorian style. Christmas season hours are from 1:00 to 4:00 Thursdays through Sundays from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
|Site 64:August Schell Brewery Museum and Gardens |
South on Broadway, then west on 18th St., New Ulm.
New Ulm's oldest industry, the August Schell Brewing Company, was founded in 1860 and is still a family business. Schell's brews have won several honors in national brewing competitions.
It includes really nice grounds and brewing site. They added a new brewhouse and built it back into the hill as to not destroy the original buildings. The site grounds include a house and a beautiful garden. The flowers beautify the grounds and leave you feel like your floating through the Cottonwood Valley. The grounds also have deer running wild in a wide fenced in area and the peacocks run wild. A visit of the museum takes you through the history as well as with wood barrels and their name stamping/burning of the name and the many labels.
||Site 65:Brown County Historical Museum|
2 North Broadway, New Ulm.
Unique in design and appearance, the Brown County Historical Society building was constructed in 1910 as a post office. In 1986, it was renovated to house the museum. Exhibits depict the history of American Indians and early settlers in the area. Temporary exhibits change annually. Also housed in the building is a historical library and a gift shop.
The Brown County Historical Society is located in a rich agricultural region along the Minnesota River about 95 miles from Minneapolis and St Paul. The grassland and forested river bottom was home to many prehistoric and historic Indian groups. These Native Americans practiced hunting and gathering, as well as horticultural subsistence for thousands of years. As European immigration and technology changed the world, conflict was inevitable. Within a few years open warfare erupted. Many people lost their lives or were severely affected in Minnesota and Northern Iowa during the Dakota Conflict of 1862.
This war affected cultural relationships between the immigrants and the Dakota for many years. Native people were driven to less productive land far away from their homes. German, Norwegian, and a scattering of other nationalities settled in the river valley to farm and to build, homes and businesses. The settlers brought specific skills in wood working, milling and brewing to the area. Their work, education, music and architecture were unique to the regions they left in Europe.
Today, Brown County's population numbers about 28,000. There are 78 National Register of Historic Places in the county, including a 100 ft. tall monument to Hermann the Cheruscan and the Wanda Gag family home. The Hermann statue honors the German hero, Aminius who defeated an invading Roman legion in 9 AD. It now signifies the contribution of German-Americans to Brown County, Minnesota and the Nation. Wanda Gag (1893-1946) illustrated and wrote many heart warming children's books including Millions of Cats and ABC Bunny.
The unique museum building was constructed in 1910 as the Federal Post Office. For many years, it was the focus point of downtown business. Today, the museum's German Renaissance style attracts photographers, sightseers, and residents alike. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. During renovation of the building for its use as a museum, its original slate roof and most of its attractive architectural elements were retained. Modern lighting, restrooms, and elevators make visitors' experiences informative and pleasant.
The museum is located on three handicapped accessible levels. The museum features major exhibit themes including the Dakota Conflict of 1862 and the history of Brown County from 1856 to the present. Yearly, the museum schedules special exhibits that add extra interest for summertime and holiday visitors.
The Historical Society, in existence since 1930, is primarily funded by the people of Brown County. In addition to this support, we rely on personal donations and assistance from the city of New Ulm for special projects and exhibits. Our founding father, and the Museum's first curator was Fred Johnson (1870-1948). Mr. Johnson had the foresight to begin collecting artifacts of pioneer life. These artifacts include photographs, diaries, and other items of significance. It was his contribution that provided the foundation for today's Historical Society.
Monday-Friday, also Saturday-Sunday afternoons; closed holidays
|Site 66:City of New Ulm |
New Ulm was founded in 1854 by a German Land Company from Chicago and another group from Cincinnati. The city reflects its rich German heritage.
||Site 67:Swan Lake Wildlife Management Area|
North of State Hwy. 68 on Cty. 23 to Nicollet. West 2.4 miles on U.S. 14 to the Public Landing.
Public water access with ramp, site of water control structure that controls water level of lake, high promontory overlooking lake, and wheelchair accessible walkway into marsh. Swan Lake encompasses 10,000 acres and is one of the largest pothole lakes in North America. The wildlife management area contains 108,000 acres and an additional 8,000 acres are planned for additional habitat.