Paths to the Present: Windsor’s German-Russians
May 30, 2017
The history of Windsor cannot be explained without the mention of Windsor's Germans from Russia.
The role of Windsor's German-Russian population shaped not only the agricultural prospect of Windsor, but was also influential in the establishment of local businesses, churches and cultural traditions in Windsor.
The German-Russian immigrants were from Germany originally. They spoke German and practiced German tradition, but a small segment of the German population immigrated to Russia during the reign of Catherine the Great around 1765. As living and working conditions began to erode after her death, many of the Germans sought new lives in the United States. The Germans from Russia began arriving in Windsor around 1901 because of the increasing popularity of sugar beet farming.
Windsor's German-Russians established their own neighborhoods primarily along Elm, Locust, and Oak streets. St. John's Lutheran Church, built in 1903, was the third church constructed in Windsor and had the first German congregation. Services were delivered entirely in German. Businesses were owned and operated by German-Russian families with a strong patronage from the local German-Russian population.
So much of Windsor's history was created by the German-Russian population. Farms became successful due to their expertise, commerce grew through entrepreneurial spirit, and German traditions were continued and shared within the community making it stronger.