Most living in the Ozarks do not realize that the area has had significant ethnic settlements in the area. One can see this in the geographic names of the area---the Irish Wilderness, Bois D'Arc, Freistatt Swiss, MO.
Many different ethnic groups have contributed to helping to develop the culture of the Ozarks. But for almost 2 decades the German-Austrian-Swiss Historical and Heritage Society of the Ozarks has dedicated itself to helping the Ozarks understand the German contributions to making the Ozarks a delightful place in which to live and work. The German community built the city's only ethnic Hall (other than ethnic churches), known as Germania Hall, which stood on Boonville just across from Pipkin Middle School. The German community was large enough that it sponsored a National Meeting of German societies in 1914; a copy of the program is owned by Robert Neumann, the Greene county Archivist. The printed brochure shows German banks in Springfield, and many businesses bearing German names (such as Lohmeyer and Herr).
On Saturday December 1 at 1:30 p.m., the Society will hold its fall meeting at the Seminary, 1435 N. Glenstone (Glenstone at Division St.). The event will begin with a historical talk on the German District that was organized 90 years ago. Following this talk, the Society will hold a traditional German Advent Service in the Seminary Chapel. On the Communion Table will be the 1880 Bible used in the 19th Century in the German Church in Billings (St. Peter's Evangelical Church). German Christmas customs such as the Advent Wreath will be observed. Delivering the short homily in German for the Advent Service will be the Rev'd Mrs. Martha Klaus. Her son Dr. Byron Klaus will "interpret" into English her Christmas Season meditation. The Maranatha Village Orchestra led by Mrs. Miriam Rauch Reynolds will play for the service. The service will have both English and German words for all the carols and Scriptures. Individuals are invited to choose which language to use. Following the traditional German Advent Service, there will be German and American food served in the atrium Great Hall of the Seminary. There will be door prizes from Germany. For further information about the German-Austrian-Swiss Society phone Dr. Robert Bartels at 865-2811. The meeting is free and open to the public.