German immigrants who came to the United States to start a new life and face the challenges of the unknown, did so for various reasons. For those from the provinces of Schleswig and Holstein who chose this section of the Midwest as their destination in 1848, it was the issue of political freedom and general unrest in their native land.
King Christian VIII of Denmark had decreed to form a "greater Denmark", which was perceived as a threat to absorb Schleswig- Holstein. Despite formation of a revolutionary government to throw off Danish control, the inevitable happened in 1850 when the rebels were crushed, and Schleswig-Holstein was made a part of Denmark.
Their decision to immigrate to America was also greatly influenced by an American Charles White and a German William Ostenfeld, who came to Germany from the territory of Wisconsin in 1847, the latter who planned to visit his mother. Their stories of pristine clear lakes and untouched forests were an inspiration to many immigrants looking for a new life. Among those were a group of educated and successful men, some with families, who boarded the ship Brarens to leave for America. The journey took 40 days and the sight of land was welcome.
A steamship from New York to Sheboygan, Wisconsin and a wagon journey to Plymouth and then to the village of Calumet was an introduction to the new world they would call home.
After three days rest at Charles White's hotel in Calumetville, Charles Gruning, Ernest Veers, Nicolaus Witt, Wilhelm B. Griem, Johann Pfeffer, and Heinrich Volquarts, accompanied by William Ostenfeld, walked due east from Calumetville to claim land the agent had available. The culmination of their journey would be the beginnings of the city of New Holstein.
Those early years of settlement were long and arduous. But the community eventually grew from log cabins to wood framed homes and businesses. The enterprising and social citizens of the community lost no time in forming a poetry reading group, a singing society, and a Turnverein (gymnastics) group.
By 1851 a school was established, the first church was founded in 1865, and New Holstein was recognized as a village in 1902, and a fourth-class city in 1926. With steady growth and an influx of business and industry, the city flourished.
New Holstein celebrated its 100th birthday in 1948 and its 150th sesquicentennial anniversary in 1998.
Comfortably nestled in the rolling farmlands of east central Wisconsin, this community of rich German heritage is the perfect setting to relax, recreate, or raise a family.
New Holstein is conveniently located 1.5 hours north of Milwaukee, 50 minutes south of Green Bay, and 2.5 hours north of Chicago.
New Holstein Area Chamber of Commerce Events
New Holstein Area Chamber of Commerce hosts many events throughout the year, so check back often to see whats coming up.