The first German immigrants began coming to St. Louis in the mid to late 1830's. They came to Missouri with the promise that it was the "American Rhineland". Some of these early German immigrants moved west up the Missouri River and founded what is now Hermann Missouri in 1837. They brought with them their knowledge of wine making and began planting vineyards. Some of the wineries those immigrants established in Hermann are still producing wine today, such as Hermannhof Winery, founded in 1852; Oak Glenn Winery, founded in 1847; Stone Hill Winery, founded in 1847.
The town of Bremen, located north of the city of St. Louis in what is now the Hyde Park area, was a German community that was incorportated in 1850. It was called "Bremen" because of the many Germans who came from Bremen, Germany in the 1840's and settled there. Bremen was annexed into the city of St. Louis in 1854. Many Germans came from Bremen to New Orleans on the ocean liner "Bark Mississippi" and then came up the Mississippi River to St. Louis in 1856. The Baden Neighborhood, which at first was called "Germantown", also experienced a large influx of German immigrants in the 1840's and 1850's.
German immigrants arriving after 1850 were usually abolitionist and were very instrumental in keeping Missouri in the Union, even though Missouri was a slave state. Using German Volunteers, Captain Nathaniel Lyons prevented Missouri Governor Claiborne Jackson, a Southern sympathizer, from using the Missouri Militia to seize control of the US Arsenal located in St. Louis.
Several Catholic churches were specifically built for the German Catholics in St. Louis. One of them was St. Liborius Catholic Church built in North St. Louis in 1856. Another was Holy Trinity Catholic Church. It was founded in 1848 in the German community of Bremen. Holy Trinity Catholic School was also founded at the same time. The present Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church was built in 1875 in Soulard to also serve a congregation of German Catholics. The original church building on this site was built in 1849. Another built to serve a congregation of German immigrants was the Shrine of St. Joseph, founded by Jesuits in 1843, and located in Downtown St. Louis. The church is the site of the only authenticated miracle in the Midwest.
German Lutherans also came to St. Louis. Trinity German Evangelical Lutheran Church in Soulard, St. Louis and Concordia Seminary in Clayton Missouri were founded in 1839 by Lutheran emigrants from Germany under the leadership of the first Lutheran ministers to come to St. Louis, Reverands Carl F.W. Walther and his brother Otto. The Lutherans also founded the Trinity Lutheran School. The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod was founded by Carl F.W. Walther in 1847 which in turn founded the Concordia Publishing House in 1869.
Many will recognize the significance of these two German names, "Anheuser" and "Busch"! Anheuser-Busch, the brewer of the famous Budweiser beer, was founded in 1852, originally as the Bavarian Brewery by German immigrants who brought with them their trade of beer brewing. Eberhard Anheuser, another German immigrant, acquired the company in 1860 and his son-in-law, Adolphus Busch, joined him in the business in 1864. These men made Anheuser-Busch one of the leading beer brewers in the nation during the Twentieth Century, even surviving Prohibition, when others did not.
The German community was a very tightly knit community. By 1880 some 46 percent of public school children in St Louis were German and, a year later, 20,000 of the young scholars in St. Louis still received their lessons in their native tongue, German, every day.