When German settlers founded New Ulm, they used a stately oak tree that still stands at 3rd South and German Streets as the reference point for the town plat. One hundred and fifty years later, the town’s residents celebrated New Ulm’s anniversary with a different type of tree. Reminiscent of those that decorate German towns, the Heritage Tree depicts different stages of the town’s history, from a riverboat to the railroad, the New Ulm Battery and a beer wagon.
Each symbol represents life in New Ulm: (left to right, starting at the top)
Witness Tree: The rich heritage of New Ulm begins in 1854 at the venerable oak tree on the corner of 3rd and South German. Surveyors used this oak as a reference point to plot out the town in the picturesque Minnesota River Valley.
Doughboy: The soldier Doughboy statue - a heritage piece from Word War I in the City Cemetery - symbolizes New Ulm's heritage of service and memorializes those citizens who put their life on the line in times of national peril.
Old Farm Barn: The Homestead Act of 1862 opened the Midwest prairie for farming where Central European immigrants cleared land, grew grain for milling, and brought food and dairy products for merchandising and thereby gave New Ulm a solid heritage in agriculture.
Franklin School: Calls to mind that to preserve its heritage healthy communities join together to nurture competent, caring, and responsible youth - a primary aim of the public, private, and parochial New Ulm schools.
Popcorn Wagon: Nothing elicits memories of a kid more than the local popcorn wagon. Its presence echoes a common statement about the city's homes and heritage - "New Ulm is a good place to bring up children."
Old Fire Wagon: The old fire truck represents a special heritage brought from Ulm, Germany, where Magirus invented the first aerial ladder fire truck, making the volunteer firemen first responders, with police, the community's mainline security.
Beer Wagon & Grain Stock: Beer and grain indicate two heritage staples that brought New Ulm economic fame. Grain shocks that dotted farmers' fields fed the flourmills and the breweries, two food industries that delight the palate.
Music & Dancing: Hands clapping and toes tapping in musical mirth and merriment remain strong marks of the community heritage and culture. Festivals in every season draw visitors and tourists to its tree-lined streets.
New Ulm Battery: Boasting New Ulm's heritage of maintaining the Nation's oldest remaining civic war battery, Burg's battery performs ceremonial duties in parades, at festivals and musical events, locally and nationally, with municipal support.
Riverboat: The days of riverboat travel that brought the town's first settlers ended abruptly in the 1870s. But the winding Minnesota River met south of town by the swift-flowing Cottonwood River still marks the natural boundaries of the City between the bluffs. Only rivers made settlement possible until late in the 19th century.
Flandrau Park: Swimmers at the poolside bathhouse in Flandrau State Park that surrounds the city's southwestern edge represent a heritage of abundant green space set aside for use as active parks for sports and passive parks for family fun.
Railroad: In the 1870s the railroad connected New Ulm to the commercial world, bringing new settlers and immigrants to its station to make the prairie bloom - an early heritage that is now enhanced by modern unit trains and highways.
Turner Hall: The Turner Society, leaders among the town's founders, practiced an ancient maxim of "A sound mind in a sound body" by promoting gymnastics and making Turner Hall a heritage center for the community and patriotic activities.
Location: 101 South Minnesota Street