|City of Frankenmuth, Michigan|
The Bavarian Inn in downtown Frankenmuth
|Nickname(s): Little Bavaria, Muth, The Muth|
Location of Frankenmuth, Michigan.
|January 14, 1904|
|Incorporated (city)||October 1, 1959|
|o Mayor||Gary C. Rupprecht|
|o City Manager||Bridget Smith|
|o Total||3.04 sq mi (7.87 km2)|
|o Land||2.99 sq mi (7.74 km2)|
|o Water||0.05 sq mi (0.13 km2)|
|Elevation||633 ft (193 m)|
|o Estimate (2016)||5,131|
|o Density||1,600/sq mi (630/km2)|
|Time zone||EST (UTC-5)|
|o Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
Frankenmuth is a city in Saginaw County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 4,944 at the 2010 census. The city is located within Frankenmuth Township survey area. Bronner's Christmas Wonderland, which bills itself as "the World's Largest Christmas Store", is located in Frankenmuth.
The city's name is a combination of two words. "Franken" represents the Province of Franconia in the Kingdom of Bavaria, home of the Franks, where the original settlers were from. The German word "Mut" means courage; thus, the name Frankenmuth means "courage of the Franconians." The most popular nickname is "Little Bavaria", but the city is also nicknamed "Muth".
The area was settled and named in 1845 by conservative Lutheran immigrants from Roßtal area of Franconia in Germany. The group of settlers left Germany aboard the CAROLINE on April 20, 1845, and arrived at Castle Garden seven weeks later. They traveled via canals and the Great Lakes from New York to Detroit and arrived in August 1845. Sailing then on the Nelson Smith, the settlers made their way to Saginaw and traveled over land to the present location the city of Frankenmuth.
The settlers selected a slightly hilly area which reminded them of their native Mittelfranken and began building rough shelters there. Frankenmuth was to be an exclusively German Lutheran community; the colonists pledged to remain loyal to Germany, specifically the Kingdom of Bavaria (German: Königreich Bayern), and to be faithful to the German language.
Originally part of Bridgeport Township and later Frankenmuth Township, Frankenmuth became a village in 1904. In 1938, the village hired its first village manager, Herbert L. Keinath. The village was incorporated as a city on October 1, 1959, with Keinath becoming city manager.
The nearby villages of Frankenlust, Frankentrost, and Frankenhilf (now known as Richville) further illustrate that the area remained a magnet for other Germans emigrating from the same region. German, and in particular, the Bavarian culture of the town has been preserved and passed down through the generations. The German language is still prevalent in signage and speech. Even today, there are German-speakers residing in the town. The church of St. Lorenz offers monthly services in the German language. 
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.04 square miles (7.87 km2), of which 2.99 square miles (7.74 km2) is land and 0.05 square miles (0.13 km2) is water. The Cass River passes through the town.
As of the 2010 Census, there were 4,944 people, 2,200 households, and 1,313 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,653.5 inhabitants per square mile (638.4/km2). There were 2,396 housing units at an average density of 801.3 per square mile (309.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.4% White, 0.5% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 0.4% from other races, and 0.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.9% of the population.
There were 2,200 households of which 23.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.5% were married couples living together, 7.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 2.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 40.3% were non-families. 37.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 22.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.14 and the average family size was 2.82.
The median age in the city was 50.1 years. 19.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 17.9% were from 25 to 44; 28% were from 45 to 64; and 28.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 44.9% male and 55.1% female.
At the 2000 Census, there were 4,838 people, 2,123 households, and 1,322 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,773.6 per square mile (684.2/km²). There were 2,240 housing units at an average density of 821.2 per square mile (316.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.80% White, 0.27% African American, 0.21% Native American, 0.29% Asian, 0.06% from other races, and 0.37% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.95% of the population.
24.8% households have children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.8% were married couples living together, 5.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.7% were non-families. 35.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 20.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.16 and the average family size was 2.82.
In the city, the population was spread out with 20.4% under the age of 18, 4.7% from 18 to 24, 21.3% from 25 to 44, 25.3% from 45 to 64, and 28.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 48 years. For every 100 females there were 80.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 75.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $51,153, and the median income for a family was $71,667. Males had a median income of $51,004 versus $29,959 for females. The per capita income for the city was $30,479. About 2.4% of families and 4.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.2% of those under age 18 and 7.7% of those age 65 or over.
Tourism and farming drive the local economy. Frankenmuth draws over three million tourists annually to its Bavarian-themed shops and restaurants such as the Bavarian Inn, Frankenmuth Brewery, Zehnder's, and Bronner's Christmas Wonderland. Frankenmuth also attracts tourists with festivals and other events throughout the year.
In addition to tourism, a significant number of residents in and around the community work in agriculture.
The strong influence of Franconian-style architecture can be found in most areas of the city. Most buildings in the commercial district, as well as many homes, feature stylistic interpretations of the timber-framed buildings found in the Franconia region of Germany. This style is marked by the use of timbers in "square" and "X" patterns on the outside of buildings, as well as the use of "X" patterns on windows, doors, and other building features.
When Lord Mayor Christian Ude and the German Parliament from Munich gave the official proclamation in 1996, Frankenmuth's Oktoberfest was declared the first Oktoberfest to operate with the blessing of the original Oktoberfest in Munich. With this proclamation, the event was moved into September to coincide with the opening of the Munich event. Also, for the first time in history, the world-famous Hofbräuhaus brewery of Munich exported their beer to the United States. Local businessman, Fred Schumacher and later President of Hofbräuhaus of America took care of the formalities to get the beer to Frankenmuth in time for the Oktoberfest.
Zehnder's Holz Brucke (German for wooden bridge) is a wooden covered bridge, built in a style similar to that of the Black Forest or a river valley in Switzerland, located over the Cass River in the middle of town. Though completed in 1979, the structure is constructed using traditional covered-bridge timber framing techniques. The floor joists and three-span Town lattice truss system of the 239' bridge are made of 15,960 board feet of four inch planks. The portion receiving the greatest wear is of oak while the remaining portion is spruce. 20,000 board feet of Douglas Fir make up the rafters and the roof is shingled with cedar. An additional 4,340 board feet of pine was required for the bridge side boards. In addition to two lanes for automobile traffic, the bridge also has two pedestrian walkways.
Heritage Park is Frankenmuth's most well-known park. It is located at 601 Weiss Street and is home to many community activities, festivals and large events. The Harvey E. Kern Community Pavilion is the newest addition and has become a focal point of the park. The park also features 4 picnic pavilions, 3 ball diamonds, playgrounds, sand volleyball courts, basketball court, riverwalk pathway (0.9 miles) and several facilities for festivals.
The Frankenmuth News has been Frankenmuth's primary newspaper since 1906. It is released on a weekly basis (Wednesday for news stands and Thursday for residential) and focuses on issues of local concern.