The History of the Germans in Buffalo and Erie County, N.Y. - Part I, pages 177 - 181


also commemorated in worthy manner in all the large and many of the smaller cities on this side of the ocean.

In Buffalo the "Schiller Lodge" gave the first impulse to the celebration of Schiller's birthday by an invitation issued to all German Societies to send delegates to a meeting held in Gillig's Hall, on May 24, 1859. A festival committee, with Dr. Hauenstein as president, Carl Huetter as secretary, and Carl Sauer as treasurer, was formed to make the necessary arrangements. The memory of the great poet was fittingly honored by this organization, represented by the foregoing committee, with a large street parade, speeches held in St. James Hall, combined with instrumental and vocal selections, and in the evening by a grand banquet in Gillig's Hall. The following societies took part in the parade: the German Young Men's Association, Saengerbund, Social Maenner Turn Verein, Robert Blum Lodge, Schiller Lodge, Stephan Beneficiary Society, William Tell Beneficiary Society, Odin Lodge, Liberty Hain, Copernicus Lodge, Kossuth Lodge, St. Peter's Society, Turn Verein "Vorwärts", and the Butcher's Association.[1] Thirteen cannon salutes signalized the departure of the parade from Gillig's Hall. The route of march was through several of the principal streets of the East side, and ended at St. James Hall. In the theatre of the Turn Verein "Vorwärts" a performance of "Karlschueler" was given in honor of the day. The "Liedertafel" performed Andr. Romberg's beautiful composition of Schiller's "Glocke", in American Hall.

It had been decided to devote the surplus expected to be obtained from subscriptions and other sources in connection with the celebration to the praiseworthy purpose of founding an "Independent German Public School". But this good intention unfortunately remained unfulfilled, for the celebration resulted in no surplus. After all expenses had been covered there was left in the treasury the sum of $14.08, which amount was divided among the German papers for advertising.

During the same year the German press of the country suggested the starting of a fund for the erection of a monument to the memory of Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, the general inspector of the army of General George Washington. In many cities entertainments for this purpose were arranged, the receipts of which were turned over to the monument fund. Upon the invitation of the "Saengerbund" a monument committee was formed. The members of the "Saengerbund" in conjunction with the Turn Verein and the officers of the 65th Regiment, at that time consisting mainly of Germans, arranged two musical gymnastic military entertainments. But the receipts of these festivities were never devoted to the purpose which they were designed to serve. They were at first turned over to a committee of officers of the 65th Regiment. A part of the money, $70,

[1] The German text also mentions the Valhall Lodge and the Jefferson Support League as participants. Return to text


which several years later was given to the officers of the "Turn Verein" and "Saengerbund", was deposited in the Erie County Savings Bank by one of the officers of the "Turn Verein" on his own name, and was afterwards drawn out by him.

In the celebration of the 100th birthday anniversary of Alexander von Humboldt, arranged by the German Young Men's Association, on September 14, 1869, many Americans participated. The celebration took place in the "Rink", a large one story building on Pearl Street, near Niagara Street, and consisted of speech making, interspersed with music by an orchestra. The former President of the United States, Millard Fillmore, made the English address, Dr. Brunck the German speech. Dr. Brunck had scarcely begun his speech, when many Americans left the hall in such a conspicuous manner that the chairman of the committee, Dr. Hauenstein, was forced to rap for order. The German press sharply criticised the unseemly behavior of the Americans on this occasion.

The great Peace Celebration, arranged by the Germans of Buffalo, on May 9, 1871, in honor of the glorious victory of the Fatherland in the Franco-German war, is deserving of more detailed mention, as it was unique, and undoubtedly the grandest festivity ever undertaken by the Germans of the "Queen City of the Lakes". A special section, devoted to a description of this celebration, will be added to this chapter.

At the celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the War of Independence of the United States, on July 4, 1876, a large picnic was arranged to take place in the building known at that time as the "Parade House", and a popular pleasure resort, standing in the present Humboldt Park. The arrangements had been made by the

Caption under picture at center reads Corner Main and Erie Streets, 1836 to 1899 - Formerly used as City Hall and Council Chamber.


Turners, the German Young Men's Association, the German singing societies, and several beneficiary associations and lodges. The societies marched from Turn Hall, through Genesee Street, which was gaily decorated, to the picnic grounds. Dr. Edw. H. Makk, editor of the "Buffalo Freie Presse", delivered the festival speech; the singing societies gave a concert, and the Turners gymnastic exercises. In the evening an exhibition of fireworks was given.

The 400th anniversary of the discovery of America, on October 21, 1892, was also celebrated by the Germans in a brilliant manner, by a grand parade, with many living pictures, represented on platform wagons, moved through a gigantic, artistically built triumphal arch at the intersection of Main and Genesee Streets, and marched through several of the principal streets, which were all elaborately decorated with flags, to the "Parade", a large, open space in Humboldt Park, which has since been changed into a basin.[1] The "Turn Verein," which had been the promoter of this celebration, formed the head of the parade, presenting as a living picture: "Columbus explaining his plans to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella."

The singing societies, the "Orpheus", "Saengerbund", and "Liedertafel", formed the second division of the pageant. "The mutiny of the crew of the Santa Maria," was the living picture presented by the "Teutonia Maennerchor". The uniformed Catholic Knights formed a separate division, and elicited much applause from the spectators along the entire route of march on account of their erect, military bearing. The Swiss societies presented "Helvetia" and "Columbia" as living pictures on a wagon in their ranks.

In a carriage drawn by six white horses sat Mayor Chas. F. Bishop, the festival president Paul Werner (president of the Turn Verein), and both festival speakers, Wilhelm Keilmann and Herbert P. Bissell. The Harugari lodges presented a splendid, richly costumed tableau: "Reception of Columbus at the Court of Spain after his return from his first voyage." The "Caskaskia Tribe of Redmen" had turned out in full costume, and presented as a living picture an Indian encampment with squaws and papooses. The "Sprudel Club" turned out 200 men strong; all were dressed alike in black, with high silk hats, white ties, light yellow kid gloves, buttonhole bouquets, and wearing badges. The members of the Beerpeddler's Union and the Butcher's Union were on horseback.

During the grouping of the societies at the festival grounds around the platform, erected for the festival speakers, the honorary guests, officials, and singers, and which was surrounded by a mass of flags, the

[1] The German text uses the term "Wasserbecken", which may be better translated as water reservoir or wading pond. Return to text


65th Regiment Band played patriotic airs. After a speech by the mayor, the combined choruses sang a selection, followed by the German festival speech, the choruses then sang a second time, after which the English festival speech was held. Mr. F.C.M. Lautz sang the "Star Spangled Banner", with orchestra accompaniment, the combined choruses singing the refrain. The celebration closed with an address by the festival president.

The "Orpheus" had arranged as an after celebration on the evening of Columbus Day a commers, to which the mayor, the festival speakers, and the festival officials were invited.

The Grand Peace Jubilee

After the Germans of Buffalo had decided, like the Germans of other cities of this country, to celebrate the treaty of peace between Germany and France at the close of the bloody struggles of 1870 - 71, which ended so gloriously for the Old Fatherland, young and old vied with one another in activity and sacrifices to make this celebration a success. The different societies and trade unions considered it a point of honor to do their very best.

On the day before the jubilee, Ascension Day, the city was brilliant with festive decorations wherever Germans resided. From roofs and windows the German flag fluttered gaily beside the American banners, and the streets were alive with brightly garbed, happy crowds. The dawn of the jubilee day was announced on Monday, May 29th, by thundering cannon salutes. From all parts of the city and its suburbs crowds of people surged and thronged the streets through which the jubilee procession was to pass. The principal streets had been transformed into a bower of festival decorations. Fields, woods, and gardens had sacrificed their green and their flowers in profusion to adorn the houses, together with the stars and stripes and the German flag. On Main Street almost all business concerns were closed. Many places of business were very tastefully decorated, Germans as well as Americans striving to do their very best. On other streets where many Germans resided, the houses were lavishly decorated. Everybody to the best of their ability, without

Caption under picture at right center reads House of Anna Atkins, 1817.


regard to rank, and added their efforts to heighten the embellishment of the streets.

In great numbers the people streamed to Main Street, where a jubilee procession was to be seen first in its entirety. Other crowds gathered at Niagara Square, the starting point of the parade. Society after society, one trades union after another marched by with flying flags and led by music. At the appointed hour all were in the places assigned to them and the jubilee celebration began. The ceremonies were opened by the festival president, Dr. Edward Storck, who in the name of the Germans of Buffalo, welcomed the guests of the festival, who were assembled in the Common Council Chamber in City Hall, and comprised the mayor, the members of the Common Council, the city, county, and other officials as well as the honorary guests. Alderman Evans reponded in the name of the mayor and the members of the Common Council, thanking for the invitation. In front of City Hall the guests of the festival entered carriages, and were driven through the densely crowded streets to the Court House Park, the present Lafayette Square, where a platform had been erected, from which they reviewed the procession. On all faces was depicted great expectation. At last the sounds of music were heard in the distance and the grand parade came sweeping majestically along. Through the crowds of people thronging wide Main Street the procession approached, preceded by a detachment of mounted police. Next came Col. Richard Flach, the chief marshall and his adjutant, riding at the head of the 65th Regiment, N.Y.S.N.G., followed by the "Lancaster Independent Guard", and the German soldiers of the garrison at Fort Porter. In the same division the Turners were in rank. Robust and erect, the members in their linen suits marched along, having in their ranks on a decorated wagon Turn Father John, surrounded by his associates.

The singing societies of Buffalo and the neighboring cities formed the second division under the leadership of J. Adam Lautz as marshal. First in line was the "Liedertafel" as the oldest singing society of the city, followed by a splendid, richly decorated wagon, upon which encircled by the weapon trophies and coat of arms of the German States rested an immense globe, and upon it stood leaning on a gigantic sword Arminius, the Cherusker, conqueror of the Roman legions in the Teutoberg Forest. The "Liedertafel" symbolized the warlike spirit of the Germans. The "Saengerbund" also presented very successfully a tableau of the Kyfhaueser, the old yearning dream of the German people for a united empire.

Next in line were the "Buffalo Maennerchor", singing societies from Niagara Falls, Suspension Bridge, Dunkirk and Erie, the "Harugari

Return to Introduction

Return to Indexes

Go on to Pages 182 - 186

Revised April 16, 2005
Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks