Hemman Winery in Brazeau

Hemman Winery 10-26-2014The banquet tables at the Immigration Conference were set with bottles of Hemman Winery cranberry wine.

[My presentation went well, thanks for asking. The audience looked at the videos I had produced of The Last Generation of German speakers, laughed where appropriate and had eyes glistening with moisture where appropriate. It’s always a rush to watch folks enjoying something you produced.]

Mother and Wife Lila accompanied me to the banquet after enjoying some great music in the museum. Lila likes a good wine, unlike me, who has never found a good replacement for the bottles of Ripple we OU Post photographers kept stashed in old photo paper boxes in the fridge. I mean, who is going to open a box marked “Open in darkroom only?”]

She thought the cranberry wine was good enough that she wanted to go to the winery in Brazeau, just up the road from Frohna’s Saxon Lutheran Memorial and not too far from Seventy-Six. Class of ’66 buddy Jane Rudert McMahan was in town, so the four of us headed north, with a stopover at the Altenburg museum.

Bonnie did the pouring

Hemman Winery 10-26-2014Bonnie Hemman had a full array of wines set up for tasting.She did a great job explaining each wine and how it was made.

Before we got out of the place, Lila had picked up a case of mostly fruit wines that may show up as Christmas gifts for some lucky people.

The place also had a spinach – artichoke dip that was excellent. I suspect Bonnie may see us again when Curator Jessica hits town next week. It seems like every other email I get from her has a wine mention in it, so I gather she is fond of the grape (or the cranberry or blackberry or rhubarb).

Lots of eye candy

Hemman Winery 10-26-2014While you are waiting for your turn to taste, you can wander around looking at the antique items displayed on shelves around the room. We didn’t discover the outdoor seating area with music until we were out in the parking lot headed home (almost).

I’ve been having some battery problems lately, and needed a jump. A couple of guys pushed my van out to the middle of the parking lot where my jumper cables could reach a jeep one of them pulled up. When it when it finally cranked, I tried to give them some money, but they refused to take it. I offered to buy them a bottle of wine, but they refused it. I told them to take the money inside and buy somebody ELSE a bottle of wine or a couple of beers, but they refused that, too. Perry County has some nice folks in it, for sure.

Barber chair older than mine

Hemman Winery 10-26-2014The building housing the winery used to have a barber shop attached. The barber chair might be just a few years older than the one we have in our living room, based on the arms and color.

Sweeter than cranberry wine

Hemman Winery 10-26-2014While Mother was checking out the music action on the north side of the winery, I was scoping out the view to the south. That’s sweeter than the cranberry wine.

For more information, including wine varieties, hours and directions, go to the Hemman Winery website. If you stop by, tell ’em we sent you. Say hi to Bonnie for us. And, you won’t find a better place to have a dead battery.

Click on the photos to make them larger.

2014 Saxon Lutheran Memorial Fall Festival

Frohna Saxon Lutheran Memorial 11-13-2010_0057Reader Ruthanna Schuessler Burroughs pointed out that the annual Saxon Lutheran Memorial Fall Festival will start October 11 at 9 a.m. and run through 4 p.m. Go to the Memorial’s website for directions and more information.

Ruthanna came up to Mother and me at the Altenburg Fair and said she was “Dutch” Schuessler’s niece. Dutch was one of my Dad’s most valuable employees. He was the hardest-working, gentlest, most loyal man I’ve ever met and Dad thought the world of him. It’s always fun when you can connect with your past like that.


Frohna Saxon Lutheran Memorial 04-19-2011_5571Here’s what she said you can see throughout the day:

  • Apple butter cooking
  • Homemade bread in the outdoor bake oven
  • Hand quilting
  • Spinning wool into thread
  • Cooking homemade lye soap
  • Blacksmith shoeing horses
  • Cross cut sawing
  • Hand grinding corn
  • There will be a country store and lots of vendors
  • Barns with old farm equipment
  • Old log cabins, houses and a couple of slave cabins
  • Guides will be around to tell you about the buildings

For a taste of the memorial

Frohna Saxon Lutheran Memorial 11-13-2010_0041If you’d like a sample of what you can see at the Saxon Memorial, go to this story I did about the place in 2011.


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.