Free on Fox 23: Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum

ALTENBURG, Mo. (KBSI) – Carla Grebing, Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum Director, often gets asked why she retired in Altenburg. For her, the answer is quite simple.  

“It’s home,” she said. “And we are dedicated to sharing the story of the Saxon Lutheran immigration and the importance of this community in the southeast Missouri area.” 

Grebing summarized the Saxon Lutheran immigration to southeast Missouri in the late 1830s. 

“About 700 Saxons from Germany gathered and loaded onto five ships, and then came to New Orleans, came up the Mississippi to St. Louis, decided that they wanted to have some land of their own, and came downriver here to Perry County and settled here,” she said.

The museum houses a number of artifacts with ties to the Saxon Lutherans who settled seven colonies in the area. 

A “Pieces of the Prairie” exhibit, a collection of 25 antique quilts, will be featured in the South Gallery through July 25. Also in the South Gallery, visitors can find memorabilia highlighting Ray Littge, a Perry County native who became Missouri’s most decorated World War II fighter pilot. 

In the center of all this is the research library, where people can find the German Family Tree, an A-to-Z index of church and census records in the Perry County area. 

Grebing’s brother Gerard Fiehler contributes a great deal of research to the project. 

“If you made a Lutheran church record in Perry County, north Cape County, or Jacob, Ill., or the census because some of these pastors didn’t write everything down, you’re in this German Family Tree,” he said

The research is a lot of work. 

“It’s very labor intensive,” Fiehler said.

But showing people around the museum makes it all worth it.

The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

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