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Colony History

Gnomes in Frankenmuth
This is an image captured by the
Visitor Center security camera.

Cute Gnome
Gerald often spotted in the
Visitor Center Landscaping

You should be aware of how it was discovered that this colony was present here in Frankenmuth. It is believed that these particular gnomes have been living here for quite some time. 

The Artifacts:  When the Marv Herzog Hotel construction began in 2006 they unearthed some artifacts.  Teresa Herzog a friend of the museum asked Matt Bronner, Wm. Bronner & Sons Construction, to take all of the artifacts to the Frankenmuth Historical Association.  He did; and two of the items were small wooden crates.  Jon Webb, Museum Director, found within the crates several documents which he sent out for translation.  His museum counterparts forwarded it until it eventually was translated by the International Society for the Preservation of Gnome Lore (ISPOGL).  That very translation from the journal of Giftpilz Holzschnitzer, Frankenmuth Gnome Colony founder, is included below.

The Adoption:  In addition to finding these artifacts, the tunneling system the gnomes utilized along the Cass River was disturbed.  Teresa Herzog contacted Jennifer Tebedo at the Frankenmuth Chamber of Commerce to organize an adoption program providing suitable housing for these displaced gnomes.  Over sixty businesses have risen to the challenge.  Each time a business agrees to adopt a gnome their name is put on a small paper which is left in the Visitor Center.  Each night we believe the gnomes straighten our brochures and take the note away.  From there it appears they send displaced gnomes to stay at those businesses.  Please make them feel welcome and be aware of these facts shared with us by ISPOGL:
  Gnomes are 7 times as strong as a man
  Males think of marriage at about 200 years old
  A Gnome's life span is typically 400 years
  Pregnancy lasts 12 months and birth is always
     twins -- a boy and girl
  They love to dance & find occasion to celebrate

Gnome Tunnels Discovered

Matt Bronner at the site of tunnels along the Cass riverbank discovered in 2006.

They work at night in the woods and sometimes in human dwellings.  It is not sheer coincidence that the word gnome itself is derived from Kuba-Walda, which means " home administrator" or "home spirit" in the ancient Germanic language. In rural areas these home administrators often live in the rafters of barns, where, if they are treated well, they keep an eye on the livestock as well as crops. Another variant of their name translates as "to put in order" or "do odd jobs"
--with or without an apron.

The difficulty with establishing to a certainty that gnomes do indeed live on the continent has been that no sighting or encounter can be confirmed unless witnessed by two observers - the same criteria used by bird watchers. It can be surmised, however, that American gnomes (whose geographical range corresponds to their fellow--2019 climate and life zones in Europe) do adopt the same dress, life styles, and behavior patterns as their cousins across the sea.



Excerpt from journal kept by Giftpilz Holzschnitzer, considered the founder of the Frankenmuth Gnome Colony.  Unearthed during excavation along the Cass River in late 2006.  Human translation  provided by ISPOGL (the International Society for the Preservation of Gnome Lore).  For ease of understanding some Gnomish dates and forms of measurement have been changed to reflect their modern day equivalents.

The Journey

April 23, 1845
  We left the Olde Country aboard the human ship Caroline on April 20, 1845 bound for a strange new land, said to have soil so fine one can burrow 20 ft or more hitting nary a rock.  As colony leader it was my job to procure the mushrooms, dried meat and ale to last the 50 days required to cross the Great Cold Sea.   I bartered with a shrewd wood sprite and was able to get the necessary provisions by exchanging 26 vats of the finest quality beeswax that I'd been collecting for the past 83 years. 
We found the perfect place to travel in the hold of the ship, in the form of an enormous wooden crate containing two beautiful brass bells.  Though cramped, our accommodations are quite warm and dark, and most of our time is passed sharpening spades, exchanging stories, and playing games of chance.  Unfortunately, two of our fellow passengers have already lost most of their provisions and tools playing dice and will have to rely on the good will of others or pilfering from the ship's galley for their victuals. 

April 29, 1845
  As there are only 13 of us, we have taken to calling ourselves the "The Breadmaker's Dozen".  How strange it is to be surrounded by wood that isn't alive.  I've prohibited pipe smoking because of the fire danger and some of the group is most unhappy.  Fortunately we've discovered some bags of coffee beans and have taken to chewing on these as a substitute.  Somewhat bitter, but all in all a pleasant sensation.

May 10, 1845
  The voyage goes well, but how I miss Mama and Papa.  Being almost 350 years old, they had no desire to leave their burrow for such a perilous undertaking.  Though they should live another 50 years, I fear I shall never see them again.

May 13, 1845
  The constant rolling of the ship makes everyday life difficult (and noisy, as we are living inside a bell).  It seems to have a much greater effect on the humans, as I've seen many hanging over the ship's side with faces green as Irish moss.

May 25, 1845
  Our group now numbers 15 with the addition of twins born to the Gehirnfeders this morning.  They are to be named Blumen and Heftigkeit.  As I am still a youngster at just over 150 years old, I've never witnessed a birth.  Even though I know fully that a mother always has twins, and that one is always a boy and one a girl, the whole thing was still most surprising to me.  Perhaps one day I'll find the right girl and settle down.  Maybe even twins of my own.  But not until I'm at least 200.  I've got to live a bit first!

June 1, 1845
  Though the humans don't sense it, we are nearing our destination.  We can smell the richness of the soil.  Perfect for growing mushrooms!  I would say no more than seven days until we reach shore.

June 8, 1845
  Land Ho!  We have arrived.  Not without some worry on our part.  Apparently some sort of sheepborn illness has ravaged the humans on board, and since they guide this vessel, we feared for own safety as well.   Though none of us became ill, our knowledge of herbal medicine proved most fortunate, as we were able to introduce an elixir into the ship's water barrels which brought the outbreak under control.  Sadly, we were not quick enough to save them all, and we grieve at the passing of a wee human girl, not much larger than one of us.

August 1, 1845
  After much discussion we decided to continue our journey inside the bell crate, wherever it may take us.  With little knowledge of this new world we are putting our future in the hands of a small group of humans who seem intent on moving west.  I can only hope they have some kind of Divine guidance leading them.

August 24, 1845
  After nearly four months, we decided last night to abandon our crate and search for a suitable colony site.  Movement westward had ceased nearly two weeks ago and we feared discovery by the humans, though for the most part they seemed like a kindly lot.  Upon escaping, we immediately noticed a large log structure that we assume will be some sort of human gathering place and left them a thank you offering of some nuts and herbs on the doorstep.  We aren't sure if they got our gift as this place seems absolutely overrun with squirrels and other creatures of the wild.  We must continue to move carefully and at night until we find a home.

October 16, 1845
  We are burrowing in about 3km upstream from the human settlement, along a lovely riverbank overrun with wildflowers and grass.  Though we don't mind humans so much, we find it always best to settle Upstream from them.  The soil is not quite as fine as we were led to believe.  It seems much more suitable for baking into plates and mugs.  We have, however, found some wonderful mushrooms already and are currently harvesting them for the winter.

Additional journal entries are with the ISPOGL for translation...

Colony History
Adopted Gnome Homes
Local Human Links
Gnome Hunt