Crafting Your Experience

Washtenaw County Historic District Commission

German Agricultural Heritage Tour

One of Michigan's first and largest German settlements was established in western Washtenaw County during the 19th century. German immigrants from Wurttemberg, Westphalia, and other areas of Germany favored Washtenaw County for its rural environment which enabled the formation of an independent rural farming society. This society's social structure was defined by a common language, heritage, and economic standing. Their settlements thrived form the 1830's to WWII, when technological advances and animosity of the German language led to the process of assimilation. Initial settlers arrived in Washtenaw County looking for economic opportunity. They convinced kin and others to join them and eventually called for a German Pastor. Much of the land occupied by German immigrants was purchased second hand from pioneering Yankee settlers; therefore many roads and cemeteries were already established. By the mid 19th century the German community was thriving. Many lived on self-sufficient farms which usually consisted of a brick or wood frame farmhouse, large barns, multiple outbuildings, cleared rectangular fields, and wood lots. The children attended one-room schools and multiple churches were established in the area.

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