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> History

Frankenmuth, Michigan: A History   

C  In-Person Class:  This class will be taught in person, in the classroom at the Red Cross building.
     Enrollment:  The American Red Cross pandemic protocols may limit the enrollment for this class.
     Registrants will be informed in advance, and a waitlist will be available. 

Although the town of Frankenmuth was founded in 1845 as a German mission colony, it remained a quiet farming community for about 100 years. During that era, Frankenmuth was chiefly known for its all-you-can-eat chicken dinners. This changed when William "Tiny" Zehnder remodeled the existing Fischer's Hotel with classic Bavarian architecture in the late 1950s. The family also established the Bavarian Festival in 1959, an annual celebration that continues to this day. These added to the famous Christmas store, Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, that Wallace Bronner had established in 1945, making Frankenmuth one of the top tourist attractions in Michigan today. The once small and sleepy farming community now boasts a population of 5,000, and receives more than three million visitors each year.

Gladys Knoll is a native of Frankenmuth, and still has many relatives living there. She was raised speaking English, "high" German, and the local dialect. Gladys is a retired nurse educator who taught at Washtenaw Community College, and served as department chair of its nursing program for many years. She loves traveling and has been able to at least set foot on all seven of the world’s continents.