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Hermann the German.

Hermann the German

Field review by the editors.

New Ulm, Minnesota

Hermann the German has brandished his Teutonic battle sword over New Ulm since 1897. New Ulm was settled by a large contingent of Germans in the 19th century, and Hermann is modeled after a similar monument near Detmold, Germany. New Ulm extolled Hermann as a freedom-fighter, and built the statue to counter Prohibitionists who claimed that Germans only loved beer.

Hermann was a slave chieftain named Armnius the Cherusci (He was much later re-named "Hermann" by Martin Luther). In the year 9 Hermann turned against his masters and led a ragtag army to victory over three Roman legions, thereby saving Germania from conquest. Rome was out, thanks to Hermann the German.

New Ulm's 32-foot-tall rendition of the warrior is the third largest copper statue in the United States (after the Statue of Liberty, then "Portlandia" in Portland, Oregon). The monument, which features Hermann atop a pedestal above a cupola supported by ten columns, is 102 feet tall. A spiral staircase winds around a 70-foot-tall center iron column up into the cupola.

Hermann the German.

After a century of harsh Minnesota winters, sharpshooting vandals, and a freak windstorm that sheared off one of his helmet wings -- which miraculously landed in the back yard of the mayor -- Hermann was suffering from battle fatigue. In 2003 the statue was taken down and refurbished, at a cost of $600,000. It was back in place by the end of 2004.

In 2013 New Ulm's Chamber of Commerce "discovered" a giant footprint that it said was made by Hermann, and mounted it to its outside wall. The footprint was obviously an exaggerated fake -- a classic roadside photo-op -- but the town promoted it too vigorously, and then had to admit its deception when the story went national.

Visitors to New Ulm should also plan to swing by the giant glockenspiel at N. 4th and Minnesota Streets -- a 45-foot-high tower with clockotronic characters. It bangs out carillon tunes daily at noon, 3 pm, and 5 pm.

Hermann the German

Hermann Monument

14 Monument St., New Ulm, MN
West side of town. On the north side of Hwy 13/Center St., about a half-mile west of Hwy 68/Broadway St., at the top of Center St. hill.
Summer M-F 10-5. May and Sep. Sa-Su only. Gated after hours. Local health policies may affect hours and access.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Prince's Giant Purple GuitarPrince's Giant Purple Guitar, New Ulm, MN - < 1 mi.
Big Footprint of Hermann the GermanBig Footprint of Hermann the German, New Ulm, MN - < 1 mi.
Glockenspiel Clock TowerGlockenspiel Clock Tower, New Ulm, MN - < 1 mi.
In the region:
The Real Linus Statue, Sleepy Eye, MN - 13 mi.

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