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German-Americans Celebrated in October

Updated: Mar 10

The crisp air. The turning of leaves. Fall lagers paired with pretzels and mustard. It must be October.

The whole month of October is German American month. But wait! October 6 in particular is German-American Day. On this day in 1683, aboard the Concord, 13 German families landed in Philadelphia and subsequently founded Germantown (now a part of Philadelphia).

From those small numbers in the 1600s, ethnic Germans making their home in the New World grew throughout the 1700s and then swelled dramatically throughout the 19th century and the early 20th century. Today more Americans claim German heritage than any other background - 44.2 million of us! (according to a U.S. Census Bureau 2018 survey).

Here’s a small sampling of the contributions from German Americans:

  • Education: – the first American kindergarten started in 1857 Wisconsin by German-born Margaretha Meyer Schurz.

  • Beer: Germans brought their brewing know-how. Breweries popped up most places you found German enclaves with Anheuser-Busch and Coors becoming into national names.

  • Clothing: Levi Strauss made jeans that became quite popular with the gold rush folks

  • Engineering: John Roebling designed New York’s 1883 Brooklyn Bridge.

  • Food: H.J. Heinz introduced his now-famous ketchup and vinegar.

  • Music: John Phillip Sousa’s famous marches have roused many a kid (and adult).

  • Sports: “Iron Horse” Lou Gherig, one of the New York Yankee’s great players from the 1920s and 1930s was born Heinrich Ludwig Gherig.