Saxon Lutheran Memorial Fall Festival

October 8 is the 31st Annual Saxon Lutheran Memorial Fall Festival on the outskirts of Frohna.

To give you an idea what you might see, I’ll post a collection of photos I’ve taken from the mid-1960s up to the last couple of years. They’ve been taken at different seasons and at different times of day, so even photos of the same building will look different.

Ferry story brought me to Memorial

The Wittenberg Ferry Dedication was coming up, so The Missourian sent me up to Wittenberg and Frohna to shoot things that people might see. I remember thinking that the log cabins (thought to be slave quarters) were interesting, but looked liked they’d fall down if the termites quit holding hands. (By the way, all of the black and white photos date back to 1966.)

Much restoration done in 40-plus years

This photo, taken Nov. 13, 2010, from about the same angle, shows the restoration that has been done to the buildings.

Germans didn’t waste anything

My eye was drawn to the window in this upstairs bedroom when I was there in 1966 – the window panes were glass negatives. Someone thought they might have come from Lueders Studio in Frohna.

Three were in good shape

Three of the six panes had negatives that appeared to be in pretty good shape.

Century-old portrait

Thanks to the miracles of Photoshop, I was able to make positive images of the negatives. Considering that this was taken from a handheld photo of a window frame, filed away for over 40 years, then digitally inverted, it’s pretty darned good. Based on the clothes, I’m going to guess we’re looking at a family portrait that’s nearly 100 years old.

Alas, glass has been replaced

When I met Curator Lynda Lorenz in 2010, the window was one of the first things I asked about. She hadn’t heard the story of the glass negatives and didn’t have any idea what had happened to them.

Don’t look for the Frohna Mill

By the way, if you’ve been to the Memorial before and had used the Frohna Mill as a landmark to know where to turn, you’ll be disappointed. Demolition started in the fall of 2010 and was finished before the end of the year.

Lynda said her husband and other volunteers salvaged as much of the mill as they could before it was hauled off.

Cats and chickens abound

There are cats and chickens everywhere. Lynda said the cat population averages about three to 17 cats, depending on the season, how many sneak into tourists’ cars and how hungry the hawks are.

Check out Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum

While you’re in the neighborhood, you should swing over to Altenburg to check out  the Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum. I don’t know if they have their Christmas Tree exhibit up yet this year, but it’s worth seeing.

Saxon Lutheran Memorial photo gallery

Here’s a gallery of photos taken in 1966 (black and white) and recently. Click on any image to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to move through the gallery.

6 Replies to “Saxon Lutheran Memorial Fall Festival”

  1. Nice photos. In Image 24 and 28, my eye was drawn to the “utilitarian” coverlet on the floor beside the bed. Being a quilter, I find that interesting. I have never seen one on the floor before but it does make sense that it could be used as a rug to keep the feet warm in the winter. Do you know if this is historically accurate? Did they use the coverlets as floor coverings? Maybe I should direct this question to the site linked to in this article. I belong to a quilt guild here in Central Illinois and I think this would be interesting to the other members. Some may have even had personal experience using them as rugs but I have never heard that fact mentioned.

    1. Darla,

      I can’t help you with this one. My guess is that “utilitarian” is the right word. You’ll notice that they have plastic sheeting covering the quilt on the bed, but the one on the floor isn’t protected at all.

      Curator Lynda Lorenz has her email address on the link in the story. Another good source would be Carla Jordan at the museum in Altenburg.

      This area would make a great day trip for your guild.

  2. Again you scoop the world…I have driven past the sign to Frohna many times and the ad for East Perry Lumber Company. Always confused me…We used to some how drive into Wittenburg the back way and missed the Saxon area. Amazing stuff you shot in 1966, probably when they redid the cabins they did not even know the windows were negatives and tossed them.
    Great work Dude!

  3. Glass negatives? That takes me back to my college days. No, I’m not THAT old. I had a part time on campus job at a place called Western Historical Manuscript Collection. It housed mainly document collections, but it had other things occasionally. One collection was glass plate negatives. I remember being fascinated by them. I found a lot things in that place fascinating. I still have a wooden crate that had originally held a typewriter owned by Eva Johnston (the first woman graduate of the J-school at Mizzou if I remember correctly. It had held documents that came to the collection, and when they processed the collection, the crate was going in the trash. It was considered of no more worth than beat up old cardboard boxes. Being a thrifty student, I claimed it. As a journalism student who lived in Johnston Hall, I kinda liked having something with that background. What were we talking about? Glass negatives? Oh yeah, they’re cool. 🙂

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