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Should it be German Heritage Days again?
Congratulations to the McCook Area Chamber of Commerce and the dozens of other enthusiastic organizations and individuals who helped "The Good Times Roll" for this year's Heritage Days celebration.
The parade seeemed to be one of the longest in memory, but it was over all too quickly as we enjoyed a day of pleasant weather outdoors.
We've heard suggestions over the years that the "German" should be returned to the "Heritage Days" name of the celebration. While we knew many early German-heritage settlers came here from Russia, but didn't realize how many there really were.
The Center for Volga German Studies at Concordia University sheds some light on McCook's link to this group of Germans.
While our town was named after a Scotsman, Alexander McDowell McCook, a Union general during the Civil War, platted in 1882, German colonists originally from the German Lutheran community of Frank came here from the Volga region to work on the railroad in 1892. Others arrived from Kutter and Hussenbach and there were soon about 100 German families from Russia living in McCook.
You probably recognized many of the family names of German families who came from the Volga:
Amen, Bauer, Bernhardt, Brattigan, Brehm from Norka, Brenning, Brungardt, Fahrenbruch, Foos, Frank, Fries, Geist, Gettmann, Hein, Herrmann, Hofferber, Kauffman, Kern, Kilburn, Kissler, Klaus, Krieger from Norka, Lebsack, Leonhardt, Mohr, Propp, Rommel, Rutz, Sauerbrie, Scheidemann, Scheidt, Schillereff, Schlager from Merkel, Schlecht, Schmerr, Schneider, Traudt, Trupp, Völker, Wagner, Walker (from Norka), Walter, Waschenfelder, Weber, Wiedemann, Yost (from Norka).
McCook is home to many other heritages, of course, and they all deserve celebration.
But returning "German" to the Heritage Days would lend a distinctive flavor to a celebration that is already successful -- think liederhosen, accordian music and beer gardens serving locally-produced brews and sausage.
Check out the Center for Volga German Studies at Concordia University website at http://bit.ly/1MU6fjq