Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Rich German Mennonite Heritage

A painting of a Mennonite Village in Russia
I and my husband made a visit to our local Museum, before it closes for the winter..
What a wonderful surprise this was...It took us almost 4 hours to tour this replica of a Mennonite Village...
Some of the buildings are on there original site,  while some were reconstructed according to how they would have looked back in the 1800's, like the  Dutch Windmill...
 Others were dismantled and transferred here.
This is my heritage,  these were and are my people, I am very proud to have been born with the Low German name of... Reimer
Interestingly the mane Reimer has its beginning's in the Netherlands as far back as the 1500's.,
and the name is pronounced and spells....
~ Ra-Mar.
 Coincidentally this name is through out this Village.
 All my Great Grandparents came here to Canada in the 1920's.
On my dads side their home town was in Prussia, before that the Netherlands.
Coincidentally there is a village that bears my maiden name... it's called Reimerswalde.
(Click any picture to get a close up...its worth it!!!)

The Steinbach Heritage Village Museum, Main street.

This the first house we came across, note the barn at the back of the house...
It is actually attached to the house its self, very common to the way homes were built back then...
The "Summer Kitchen" is off to the side in the smaller building.
This is way the Low German people build their homes, as did my own grandfather when he came to Canada.

Many bed's for many children,
 My grandparents (moms side) had 14 children. (Two siblings passed away at young ages.)
Dads side 10 children...but Grandpa R. died when my dad was just a small boy.
Many of the children in his family were given up to other family members, including my father.,very hard times.
To my fathers honor, he carries my grandpas full name, even though he was one of the children given up.

High back chairs in the main kitchen, wide plank board floors.

This is a "Summer Kitchen" it is detached from the main house.
On hot days the mother of the house,  could cook hot meals with out heating up the  main house.
I shed a tear or two when passing through reminded me so much of my Grandma and Grandpa Z's house.

The barn that is attached to the house.

Hand turned clothing press.

My grandfather Z also had a big barn like this one.
Famous for their peek roofs
 I remember many a "hay loft" square dance there...
 With uncles playing guitars and my mom and her sisters singing...Good childhood memory!!!
Farm animals on the grounds of this living museum...
Mr.B made a friend.

As we turned to go, this little guy jumped the fence and followed us.

These Oxen were huge!!!
(click the picture for a closer view)

Horse drawn buggy...
My mother told me of how my grandma had thick fur blankets,  to wrap the her children in when ridding in one of these buggies on a  chilly Canadian winters day.
(Of course theirs had wooden skies, not rubber wheels:)

This is the oldest building on site...grass roof.

Sitting atop a huge black stove was this old waffle iron.
I remember as a child my grandma's black wood burning stove...
she used it to cook my "porridge"oatmeal, and home made buns.

I always said Mr.B missed his calling!!!

Mrs.G, the teacher!!!

For the most part this museum is hands on.

This tin can, held the lunch of a child as he attended school.
My mom said she had one too!!! 

This private school had a cozy room for the teacher, out fitted with a desk and bed.
I love the way the museum has flowers on every window sill!!!

There was a public school in the Village too.

Mr.B is the teacher this time.

The Village street...We are going to the Printery next.

Mrs.G at the desk.

Stopping at the restaurant for a bit of old fashioned German food.

A small mid day meal is called "Faspa"..
.My family still uses the phrase.
As you can see mine is a little more than small....

Cabbage borscht and home made bread, cheese and strawberry/rhubarb jam,
Plumi Moos, and rhubarb cake.
See Mrs.G's kitchen for the recipe for :Plumi Moos a German fruit pudding is a  favorite!!!
I hated it as a kid but love it now!!!
...See Mrs.G's Kitchen for the recipe...
"In My Wee Kitchen", the link below...

The local store held many goods.
 My mother told me the only thing her mother, my grandmother would buy at the store, would be sugar and
 material to make cloths for all 9 girls, and 3 boys.

One can buy goods at the modern store on the facilities...
I bought some
Local honey, and plum jam, along with home baked bread,
 items made right here on at the
Village Museum.

I also purchased this book, so I could learn more about were my family comes from.

This house belonged to the store keeper, Mr. Reimer.
(Pictures of his store can be viewed above)
He had this cool "phoning" contraption set up...
A steel pipe that ran from store to his house across the street,  it ran under the ground, held a rope
attached to a bell at the house.
 The bell would sound off,  to let the family know when he needed their help in the store.

This was my favorite house.
(and my favorite photo)

The front room...for guest, no children allowed!!!
Children were expected to spend their time out doors.

Hand made quilts were every were...including my grandmother's home.
I have tried my hand at this quilt making...not so easy!!!

My grandma had high back chairs just like these, but hers were painted bright red!!!

One of two kitchens...the other was at the back of the house.
Wood stove, oil lamp on the wood table.
and a commode against the back wall...
My grandparents had an out house.

Wool for spinning.
Add caption

Back kitchen and pantry.

Back on the Main Street

Mr.B will pump your gas for you.
                                                                  Below-In side the store

You could buy things in this store...look at all the candy!!!

Our famous Dutch Windmill.
My daughters husband J. and his brother D. and their father, Mr.U.
All had a part in rebuilding this gigantic exact replica
wood beam windmill found in the Netherlands.

The view on the windmills balcony.

The Grounds

Farming is how most made their way.

Steam engine tractor.

This eagle emblem was on the tractor...Case brand, is still made today.

Mr.B in the drivers seat of Mr.Penners truck...

Mr. Penner is a very friendly man.
He is the 84 year old owner operator of his trucking co.(above)
We met him as he was driving in one of his antique trucks into the yard of the museum.

This truck bares my maiden name...
No, I don't own it :)


Beautiful sight through the "door"
The Lord said..  “Ask  and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you"

Not Mr.B but Pastor B???

                                                       About the Mud House
This below ground mud house is called a Semlin.
 It's one of the most important buildings on site,  besides the churches.
Before all those fine homes (shown above) came to be built,  the very first Low German Mennonites that settled
 here fled to this country usually in duress, to escape persecution for their beliefs in their home land...

 They came to cold Canada, and most had to build in a hurry before the Snow falls,  with very little to build with  families had to settle for mud houses. 

A two room sod/grass roof house.

Sad story....
In the 1800's a Mr. Barkman lead 17 people out of Russia, to this land of freedom. He would travel from one sod home (Semlin) to another, to encouraging the disheartened folks... That God was still with them!
This land was unforgiving in its winters.
Mr. Brakman new this only too well,  for he lost two of his own daughters to it.
 He  had to keep their little bodies in the rafters all winter long, for the ground was too solid to bury them.
This brave man passed away helping other families take the long trip by horse and buggy to the"big" city 60 kilometers away to buy lumber for building proper houses...When the ice broke beneath his heavy load,  he drowned because of  the weight of his large beaver fur coat.

God did keep his promise to these people....
Mr. Barkman was right, about God being with them!!!
The Village that they set up, earlier in the 1800's beginning with those Semlins...
Is today a  beautiful thriving Godly community!!!

                                                                    About the Garb
I remember seeing my grandmother Reimer wearing one of these black dresses in a photo.

Fancy head covering.
Wedding gown below
Inside the main museum there was much to see...

                                                               The Kroeger Clock

very intresting.

This one was very old.

About Mennonites....
Menno Simens the founder of the Anabaptist...Mennonites.

Terrible persecution broke out in many parts of Europe for these gentle people because of their faith.
See link below for more info....

Sitting with a statue of a Mennonite Grandma.
 In honor for all the hard ships the women folk endured while trying their best to not only keep the family,
but keep the faith...
They did!!!

Foot note
I was not raised as a Mennonite, but both my parents had be raised in this faith...  they chose to leave their childhood faith and much of their heritage for a religion that many would consider to be a cult...I was raise in this cult and chose to leave it as an adult.
 I knocked at the door of Jesus Christ in 1994, and have excepted Him as my one and only Savior...
I have happily not looked back...
Even at the cost of my family...(see my story at the side bar.)
I for my self am reclaiming this beautiful and rich heritage/faith that my family could have claimed to be theirs...and have passed it down to my children...We do not claim to be of any Mennonite church, but have the true foundations and beliefs of
"the church"as we attend our non-denominational church.



  1. that looks like such a nice day. i want to take the kids there the next nice day, which might be tomorrow. that pic with brentt kinda hugging the goat, it looks like its sucking his nipple. lol. its so funny. maybe next summer, we can invet grandma and grandpa to come see it too. i bet they would love it.
    love you mom. hugs and kisses.

  2. I have inharited the same old waffle iron I've found on my grand mother's old house attic, here in siberian Russia. She was one of those descendent mennonites who immigrated from germany to russia in 1776. That heart-shaped waffle also has a recepie embossed in german on front half of it. Those waffles were realy good, along with others german-style dishes they used to cook.

    1. Nice inheritance! I will have to look more closely next time I go to the museum to see if I can see the recipe on the iron...Thank you for your comment.

  3. Hi! Thanks for posting me. And here how it looks like

    1. Hi Andrey
      Love your grandmas waffle iron!!!
      Its in such good condition too.
      Thank you so much for showing me your iron treasure.
      I'll send you a friend request on FB.
      Tracy Grace

  4. Hi Tracy Grace! I'm glad you acknowledged my antique thing, even though it's 200 old, but ready to cook) You might be interested that there are Reimers descendants from Molotchnaya colony who still trying to find out their relative connections. Here where they meet: Feel free to ask in english. Andrey.

  5. Thank you Andrey for the link....
    This was very interesting, especially the attached link to,

    Much obliged...
    PS: Happy Birthday


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