Not far from anywhere in Ohio, there is a small town in Michigan called Frankenmuth. Frankenmuth’s history dates back to 1840, through Frederick Wyneken, a German Lutheran missionary, whose work covered Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. Frederick Wyneken, noted that the German settlers of the Saginaw Valley lacked pastors, churches and schools. Frederick reqested help from Lutherans in Germany. It wasn’t long before he got an answer. Wilhelm Loehe, a pastor in Neuendettelsau, Mittelfranekn, Kingdom, sent a congregation of 13, mainly farmers, to the Saginaw Valley. Their purpose was to offer spiritual aid to the German emigrants and to bring Christianity to the Chippewa tribes.
The settlement consisted of many farms, and eventually various trades and businesses which included mills such as flour, saw and woolens, and the manufacturing of beer, sausages and cheeses.
In the 1950’s, the people of Frankenmuth saw an opportunity to increase the tourist trade when Interstate 75 was built right next to them. Many of the buildings used German inspired architecture and in 1958 William Zehnder Jr. held the first Bavariam Festival to announce his newly remodeled Bavarian Inn.
Today, Frankenmuth still boasts 53% of it’s population is of German decent. It has become a favorite tourist attraction for over three million people each year. They offer a multitude of entertainment, planned events, tours of sausage and cheese companies, and wonderful shopping areas. For a fun time for the whole family visit Frankenmuth year round.