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Swabian Legacy in Ann Arbor Today

Traces of the immigrants from Schwabenland can still be seen in and around Ann Arbor if one looks carefully. The concentration of Swabian retail businesses downtown has been replaced by high-class restaurants and art galleries, but they are often housed in the old buildings originally erected by the Swabians.

Blue Nile Restaurant in an old German building

The 1867-1892 Weinmann Block houses the Blue Nile, an Ethiopian restaurant. The prior occupant was a Swabian hardware store.

 

Schlanderer and Sons storefront on Main Street>

One Swabian business has persisted in the today's upscale downtown Ann Arbor. Schlanderer and Sons has a great selection of Rolex watches.

 

Vogel locksmith storefront on Washington Street

Another longtime Swabian retail business in downtown Ann Arbor is still prospering.

 

The sturdy homes built by Swabian craftsmen still remain in the Old West Side.

Allmendinger home in Cabbage Town

This home 719 West Washington on the Old West Side once held the Allmendinger family, including thirteen children.

 

Modest Murray Street homes on the Old West Side

The Cabbage Town homes on Murray Street are more modest.

 

Rentschler Farm Museum in Saline

The Rentschler farm, located at 1265 E. Michigan Ave., Saline, is one of five museums in the area showcasing Swabian history.

 

Allmendinger organ and piano factory

The former Allmendinger organ and piano factory building at 100 S. First Street, Ann Arbor, contains a small museum collection of the products produced there.

 

Organ in the Allmendinger Museum

An example of Swabian craftsmanship, an organ in the Allmendinger factory museum.

 

Naturally, eating, drinking, and dancing continue to remain popular among Ann Arbor's Germans.

 

The facade of the Heidelberg Bar and Restaurant

The Heidelberg Bar and Restaurant at 215 N. Main Street, Ann Arbor, is still going strong.

 

Craft beer at the Old German

Serving beer at the Old German, underneath the Grizzly Peak brewpub.

 

Oktoberfest dancers>

Oktoberfest in downtown Ann Arbor, one of the German events that take place in town. Here: Elizabeth and Ernest Bevins.

 

band at German Park

German bands play for dancers at German Park.

 

dance performers at German Park

Dance performers at German Park.

 

A festival at the Waterloo Area Farm Museum

The Waterloo Area Farm Museum holds periodic celebrations, including pioneer day; a blacksmiths, soldiers, and log cabin day; an antique farm equipment day; and Christmas on the farm. There are also guided tours on summer weekends.

 

Christmas tree at Kempf House Museum

A Christmas tree at the Kempf House Museum. Note the widely spaced branches so that candles can be safely used.

 

Christmas cookies

Christmas cookies at the Kempf House Museum. One cookie is missing because I couldn't resist.

 

Another dance performance at German Park

A dance exhibition at German Park.

 

knoepfle or spaetzle served at German Park

Knoepfle (or Spaetzle dumplings) are a popular part of the Swabian menu at German Park.

 

Words and Pictures for the Schnitzelbank song at German Park

For those who want to sing the Schnitzelbank song at German Park, there is a large display giving the German words with accompanying pictures.

 

Two men dressed in German costumes at German Park

At German Park.

 

Iconic Ann Arbor Mural with Hermann Hesse

One former inhabitant of Schwabenland is still honored in Ann Arbor. This iconic mural on Liberty Street has Hermann Hesse (center) nestled between Woody Allen, Edgar Allen Poe, Franz Kafka, and Anaïs Nin.

 

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