New Ulm, Minnesota

New Ulm, Minnesota
New Ulm, Minnesota
—  City  —
Panoramic view of New Ulm
Location of New Ulm, Minnesota
Coordinates: 44°18′43″N 94°27′47″W / 44.31194°N 94.46306°W / 44.31194; -94.46306
Country United States
State Minnesota
County Brown
 - Type Mayor – Council
 - Mayor Robert J. Beussman
 - Total 9.0 sq mi (23.3 km2)
 - Land 8.8 sq mi (22.7 km2)
 - Water 0.2 sq mi (0.5 km2)
Elevation 899 ft (274 m)
Population (2010)[1]
 - Total 13,522
 - Density 1,548.3/sq mi (597.8/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 56073
Area code(s) 507
FIPS code 27-46042[2]
GNIS feature ID 0648523[3]

New Ulm is a city in Brown County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 13,522 at the 2010 census.[1] It is the county seat of Brown County.[4]

Located in the triangle of land formed by the confluence of the Minnesota River and the Cottonwood River, the city is home to the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame, the Hermann Heights Monument, Martin Luther College, Flandrau State Park, and the August Schell Brewing Company. New Ulm is the episcopal see of the Roman Catholic Diocese of New Ulm.[5]

U.S. Route 14 and Minnesota State Highways 15 and 68 are three of the main arterial routes in the city.



The first white settlers of New Ulm, 1854.

The city was founded in 1854[6] by German immigrants Christian Ludwig Meyer, Alois Palmer, Athanasius Henle, and Franz Massopoust. The city was named after the city of Ulm in southern Germany. Today, Ulm and Neu-Ulm are New Ulm's sister cities. In part due to the city's German heritage, it is a center for brewing in the Upper Midwest, home to the August Schell Brewing Company.

The Kiesling House was one of three downtown buildings to survive the Dakota War and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In the Dakota War of 1862, the city was attacked and burned by Taoyateduta (Little Crow) and his Dakota Sioux warriors.[7]

On July 15, 1881, New Ulm was struck by a large tornado that killed 6 and injured 53.

During World War II, German POWs were housed in a camp to the immediate southeast of New Ulm, in what is now Flandrau State Park. In 1944 a New Ulm family was fined $300 for removing a prisoner from the camp, housing him and taking him to church.[8]

The Brown County Historical Society

The Historical Museum is housed in the old post office building, listed on the NRHP.

The Brown County Historical Society, located at 2 North Broadway houses 3 floors of exhibits and one of the largest archives in the state. It contains over 5,500 family files, microfilm of census, naturalization, church, cemetery and birth and death records as well as business and history files. [1]

Defender's Monument

Located at Center and State Streets, Defender's Monument was erected in 1891 by the State of Minnesota to honor the memory of the defenders who aided New Ulm during the Dakota War of 1862. The artwork at the base was created by New Ulm artist Anton Gag. The monument has not been changed since its completion (except for being moved to the middle of the block).

Hermann Monument

The Hermann Monument in New Ulm dominates the Minnesota River valley from a hill overlooking the city. Inspired by a similar monument called Hermannsdenkmal near Detmold, Germany, this figure served as a symbol for members of the Sons of Hermann, a fraternal organization of German Americans. In 1885 the 362 Sons of Hermann lodges across the country committed themselves to the construction of a monument representing their cultural heritage. Through the efforts of Minnesota’s 53 Sons of Hermann lodges, the monument was built in New Ulm, home to many German immigrants. The sculptor chosen for this project was a German sculptor from Ohio, Alfons Pelzer.

A 2000 years anniversary took place in New Ulm in September 2009, commemorating the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in which Hermann successfully led a union of Germanic tribes against the Roman Legions under Varus in the year 9 AD.

German Bohemian monument

A monument to German-Bohemian immigration to America is located in New Ulm. It was erected in 1991 by the German-Bohemian Heritage Society to honor the German-Bohemian immigrants who arrived in this area of the US, most by way of a boat landing on the Minnesota River some 150 yards to the east. The immigrants came mostly from small villages, with the largest number from the village centers of Hostau, Muttersdorf, and Ronsperg. Most of the immigrants were Catholic farmers who spoke a Bohemian dialect of German.

Inscribed in granite slabs around the base of the monument are the surnames of over 350 immigrant families. Many of these names are still prominent in the region. As more and more immigrants arrived, not all of whom could farm, they settled in the city of New Ulm and some of the small communities to the west and north.

The bronze statue that rests on top of the granite base was designed and sculpted by Leopold Hafner, a German-Bohemian sculptor who now lives near Passau, Germany.

The monument is located at 200 North German Street and is open year-round.


New Ulm has been referred to as the City of Charm and Tradition.

Glockenspiel in Schonlau Park

The Glockenspiel bell tower

New Ulm's glockenspiel is one of the world's few free-standing carillon clock towers. It stands 45 feet high, and its largest Bourdon (bell) weighs 595 pounds while the total weight of the bells is two tons. The bells chime the time of day in Westminster style.

Minnesota Music Hall of Fame

In 1962 it was first suggested by the governor that Minnesota develop a museum or Hall of Fame to honor the rich music heritage Minnesota has to offer.

In 1990 New Ulm offered its old library building for the hall of fame site. Owing to the area's ethnic music heritage, the New Ulm was chosen. The Minnesota Music Hall of Fame, Inc. was established with categories reflecting the wide variety of Minnesota's musical heritage.

The museum has displays of music memorabilia for musicians and groups from around the state, including Prince, Judy Garland, Bob Dylan, and local artists Whoopee John Wilfahrt and The Six Fat Dutchmen. The Hall of Fame and museum is located at First North Street and Broadway. In summer the museum is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day each Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

Each year in October the museum holds a gala to induct new members into the Hall of Fame, known locally as Minnesota's Grammies.

Polka capital of the nation

Music was always a part of life in New Ulm, especially with the arrival of the musically-inclined German-Bohemians in the 1870s. However, New Ulm took a major leap to national prominence in the 1920s.[citation needed]

Whoopee John Wilfahrt’s successful career opened the door to what became known as “Old-Time” music. After him, other local bands such as those led by Harold Loeffelmacher, Babe Wagner, Elmer Scheid and Fezz Fritsche kept New Ulm well-known around the state and region. They even produced nationally popular recordings.[citation needed]

With the opening of George’s Ballroom and the New Ulm Ballroom and the start of KNUJ radio station in the 1940s, New Ulm billed itself as the "Polka Capital of the Nation". [2] For years New Ulm's famous Polka Days were known worldwide by polka lovers.[citation needed] The festival was held each year in July. Polka Bands played on Minnesota Street and people danced and drank beer until well past midnight.

Parking meter checker stands by his police vehicle which is imprinted with the German word for police (Polizei). It is part of the town's highlighting its German ethnic origins. New Ulm, Minnesota, July 1974.


Local events held annually in New Ulm have celebrated the German culture through food, music, and beer. New Ulm's Oktoberfest has been celebrated the first two weekends in October since 1981.[9] Bock Fest, often scheduled concurrently[10] with the local festivities for Fasching, has been celebrated since 1987 at the August Schell Brewing Company.[11] The current summer festival, Bavarian Blast, was created as a recent re-interpretation of New Ulm's longstanding festival, Heritagefest.

Film location

New Ulm was the setting and filming location of the 1995 independent film The Toilers and the Wayfarers, directed by Keith Froelich. The city was a filming location for the 2004 documentary American Beer. It is also the setting of the 2009 movie New in Town, starring Renee Zellweger and Harry Connick Jr., although no part of the movie was actually filmed there.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.0 square miles (23 km2), of which, 8.8 square miles (23 km2) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) of it (2.34%) is water. The Minnesota River and the Cottonwood River run past the city on their way to the Mississippi River.


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1860 635
1870 1,310 106.3%
1880 2,471 88.6%
1890 3,741 51.4%
1900 5,403 44.4%
1910 5,648 4.5%
1920 6,745 19.4%
1930 7,308 8.3%
1940 8,743 19.6%
1950 9,348 6.9%
1960 11,114 18.9%
1970 13,051 17.4%
1980 13,755 5.4%
1990 13,132 −4.5%
2000 13,594 3.5%
2010 13,523 −0.5%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 13,594 people, 5,494 households, and 3,554 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,548.3 people per square mile (597.8/km²). There were 5,736 housing units at an average density of 653.3 per square mile (252.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.10% White, 0.11% African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.46% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.50% from other races, and 0.65% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.26% of the population.

There were 5,494 households out of which 29.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.9% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.3% were non-families. 31.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.89.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.1% under the age of 18, 12.6% from 18 to 24, 25.5% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 16.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 95.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $40,044, and the median income for a family was $51,309. Males had a median income of $34,196 versus $24,970 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,308. About 4.6% of families and 6.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.1% of those under age 18 and 10.0% of those age 65 or over.

In 2002 the U.S. Census Bureau released a report showing New Ulm has 65.85% of population with German ancestry, more per capita than any other city in the U.S.

Notable residents

Anton Gag home

See also


External links

Coordinates: 44°18′45″N 94°27′38″W / 44.3125°N 94.46056°W / 44.3125; -94.46056

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