Hermann, Missouri

Hermann is a picturesque city located in the Missouri River Valley in the Gasconade County in the east-central portion of the US State of Missouri. This small city features clock towers and steeples rising above neat brick houses. Known for its internationally acclaimed wine industry, Hermann has a rich heritage of German settlers utilizing the natural landscape to produce delicious wine, making the city the commercial center of the Hermann American Viticultural Area.

Geography And Climate Of Hermann

A view of Hermann, Missouri
A view of Hermann, Missouri. 

Hermann serves as the county seat of Gasconade County, the 71st largest county in Missouri named after the Gasconade River. The Missouri River bounds the city on the north side and is the longest river in the United States, starting at the Rocky Mountains, running east and south through Hermann, and finally draining into the Mississippi River in St. Louis, a city located close to Hermann. Hermann is about 21.1 km south of the I-70, a major east-west Interstate Highway. Nearby cities include St. Louis, about 96.5 km to the east; Columbia, about 82.2 km to the northwest; and Jefferson City, the state capital, about 64.8 km to the southwest. Hermann itself is a small and humble city, with a relatively small and modest downtown along the Missouri River.

According to the Köppen climate classification system, Hermann experiences a humid subtropical climate. Summers are hot and unpleasant, winters are short, bitter, and damp, and springs and autumns are pleasant in the city. The average annual temperature is 13.2 °C, and the year's hottest month is July, with an average high of 30.8 °C and low of 20.4 °C, and the year's coldest month is January, with a low of -3.9 °C and high of 5.0 °C. Hermann experiences significant seasonal variation in monthly precipitation, although the city still receives consistent rainfall. May is the wettest month in the city, with an average rainfall of 4.3 inches. January is the month with the least rain in Hermann, with an average of 1.3 inches. The average annual rainfall is 35.7 inches over the entire year. The best time of year to visit Hermann for warm-weather activities, according to tourism scores, is from late May to late September.

Brief History Of Hermann

The Gasconade County Courthouse on the banks of the Missouri River in Hermann, Missouri
The Gasconade County Courthouse on the banks of the Missouri River in Hermann, Missouri. 

The city was established in 1837 by the German Settlement Society of Philadelphia. The area was mainly promoted by the well-known German emigrant writer Gottfried Duden through his writings. An early batch of settlers led by a schoolteacher named George Bayer bought land on behalf of the society in November 1837. The area's likeness to the German Rhine Valley is widely assumed to have persuaded members of the society to pick the site for Hermann. In Philadelphia, municipal planners drew up plans for Hermann, and when the first 17 settlers got off the season's final steamboat, they encountered what one journalist described as "a howling wilderness." The settlers made the most of a poor situation by planting vineyards on the steep hillsides where wild grapevines thrived. A decade later, steamboats transported tourists from St. Louis to Hermann's inaugural Weinfest, where they drank Catawba-grape wine and marveled at the grapevine-covered slopes. Hermann's winemakers had grown tremendously successful at the turn of the century. Stone Hill Winery grew to be the country's second-largest winery, collecting gold medals at World's Fair contests. The city's success ended with anti-German sentiment fueled by World War I and the Volstead Act of 1919, and Prohibition sent Hermann into the Great Depression a decade before the rest of the country.

The Population And Economy Of Hermann

Black Shire Distillery at Hermann, Missouri
Black Shire Distillery at Hermann, Missouri. Editorial credit: RellMade / Shutterstock.com

Hermann had a population of 2,348 people according to the 2020 US Census, a slight decline from the city's 2010 population of 2,434. Hermann's population is around 49.7% female, with the remainder being male or unspecified. The city's population is predominantly White, with the key ethnic demographics being 96.4% White, 1.8% Black or African-American, and 1.8% being other races. Hermann's median household income is $72,747, while the percentage of persons living below the federal poverty level is 9.97%. The population density is about 371.0 per sq. km. Hermann has a rich German heritage, and most residents in the city have Germanic descent since German settlers founded the city.

Hermann is the beating heart of the wine industry in Missouri. The vineyards in and around the German city sell approximately 200,000 gallons of wine per year, which accounts for almost one-third of the total statewide. In 1873, Stone Hill Winery earned the first of eight World's Fair gold medals in Vienna, and it was the country's second-largest winery by the turn of the century. The winery's massive network of subterranean cellars is still one of the world's largest. Today, the state has about 130 wineries and a state-funded Grape and Wine program at the University of Missouri. Furthermore, Hermann has a sizable tourism business. Visitors are drawn to Hermann because of its natural beauty and Old-World charm, and various vineyards in and around the city provide sampling and excursions. Much of the city's downtown is a historic area, with restaurants, boutiques, galleries, and museums giving new life to 19th-century structures.

Attractions In Hermann

View of a dry vineyard late in the fall in Hermann, Missouri
View of a dry vineyard late in the fall in Hermann, Missouri. 

Hermann has stunning attractions that show visitors why the tourism industry in the city is so successful. For historic attractions, the Stonehill Winery, Missouri's oldest and most acclaimed winery, stands high on a hilltop with a magnificent view over the town of Hermann. Free daily guided tours take guests into North America's most extensive network of cellars, demonstrating how award-winning wine is created. In addition, visitors to the Deutschheim State Historic Site can experience the everyday lives and traditions of German immigrants to Missouri in the mid-19th century through guided tours of historic dwellings. Tourists may also learn about Hermann's founding, German immigrants as abolitionists, and Hermann's triumphant wine industry. Hermann has a Maifest on the third weekend of May and an Oktoberfest on the first four weeks of October, and the city also bills itself as Missouri's sausage capital.

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