Moniteau County is part of a 16-county initiative to promote German Missouri's German heritage.
At the Moniteau County Historical Society's annual meeting Nov. 14, Caitlin Yager, heritage resources coordinator for the Missouri Humanities Council, discussed the German Heritage Corridor of Missouri.
Missouri experienced the second largest German immigration in American history, behind only Pennsylvania.
German is the top ethnicity in Missouri. Even if a Missourian does not have German ancestors, he has been affected by the culture's effect on daily life, Yager said.
"Some towns have done well to preserve their German heritage, but others need help," Yager said. This project will "bring long overdue awareness to Missouri's German heritage."
Missouri House Bill 1851, passed last legislative session, designated the corridor in counties west along the Missouri River from St. Louis to Lafayette and Ray counties.
The Missouri Humanities Council is in the planning stages for a multi-layer approach to promoting heritage tourism and at the same time helping Missourians preserve their history, Yager said.
The council has been developing partnerships and soon will hold a series of public meetings in all of the designated counties. This initial public meeting will be to exchange ideas of how the council can promote and preserve German heritage.
The next step will be for the council to apply for a major grant of up to $400,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to implement interpretive projects.
"These are your stories we want to tell," Yager concluded.
After the guest speaker, the local historical society presented the 2017 Spirit of the Manitou Award to outgoing-president Paul Jungmeyer. During his two years in the position, Jungmeyer said the society has seen several improvements and additions, including the organization's 50th anniversary, the Heck Horse Homecoming in May, a repaired roof, and upgraded security and lighting.
Past award winners, Morris and Dolores Burger presented the award to Jungmeyer. Burger called Jungmeyer "nice, cordial and patient" and one who has been "involved in many project for a long time."
"I'm overwhelmed," Jungmeyer said. "I can't tell you how thrilled I am."