Thursday, November 4, 2010

Past vs Present - Part II

When I see pictures of unpaved roads and what 21st Century Germans and Americans would consider to be rather primitive housing conditions, I have to remind myself that many of the same conditions existed here 150 years ago. It wasn't all that long ago, that transportation was by horse and carriage (if you were among the lucky) and indoor plumbing was uncommon -- especially in rural areas. Coming to America could, in some cases, mean exchanging one set of undesirable conditions for another. Add into the mix a new language, hostility toward new immigrant groups, a country recovering from deep divides between north and south and I find myself in awe of my ancestors.

When Bill and I went to Germany, we were fortunate to be introduced by Werner Honkomp to the Mayor of Holdorf, Bernard Echtermann. He gave us a copy of a book, written in German of course, that chronicled the history of the region. These pictures give you a better feel for the area in the early 1900s.

This is a picture of Holdorf's Main Street. Note the church steeple on the right. This is the steeple of St. Peter and Paul's Church. The street is now much wider, the trees are no longer there, and the street is paved. The first picture below on the left shows the buildings that replaced the two on the left side of the street that burned down. The picture on the right shows the current street scape leading up to St. Peter and Paul Church.

Very close to Holdorf is a farming community called Fladderlohausen. Pictured in the book was a Heuerhaus from that community.

Another picture from the book shows a shoemaker making and wearing wooden shoes. Unfortunately, the picture is a little overexposed, but if you look carefully you can see the shoes. Holdorf is not far from the Netherlands and wooden shoes were part of the common attire. We were told that on Sunday mornings it could get quite noisy in the Church as parishioner after parishioner "clopped" their way to their pew.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Join the conversation. Comments are appreciated and keep me motivated.