Home > Exhibits & Events > 250th in Mason City

CVGS Seminar Series
Mason City, Iowa
Sunday, 13 September 2015

Concordia University Bell Tower on the Campus Green
Volga German musicians in Nieder-Monjou
Musicians in the colony
of Nieder-Monjou
      From 1764-1772, there were 106 German colonies established along the Volga River on the barren Russian steppe.

      To celebrate the 250th Anniversary of the establishment of the Volga German colonies, the Center for Volga German Studies at Concordia University is hosting an afternoon seminar series in Mason City, Iowa, on Sunday, 13 September 2015. The colony of Franzosen (founded 28 July 1765) will be featured for its 250th Anniversary.

      The public is invited to attend.

      This Volga German event is being held at the Historic Park Inn, a hotel built by Frank Lloyd Wright. This building is part of the Park Inn Hotel and City National Bank complex in downtown Mason City. Local attorneys, James Blythe and J.E.E. Markley, are responsible for bringing the innovative Prairie School design to the area. Markley's daughters were attending the Hillside Home School in Spring Green, Wisconsin. Hillside was operated by sisters whose nephew, Frank Lloyd Wright, had designed one of the buildings on campus. Blythe & Markley contacted Wright who later visited Mason City to take on the project. Construction was completed in 1910.
      In addition to the Historic Park Inn, there are a number of other area attractions to enhance your visit to Mason City.
Historic Park Inn in Mason City, Iowa
Historic Park Inn,
Mason City, Iowa

Pre-Registration (before September 1) is: $20 per person
Registration after September 1 and at the door is: $30 per person

Registration includes all sessions.

To pre-register & pay by credit card, call Tanya Bushnell at 503.493.6369.
If you prefer to pay by check, print the Registration Form, and mail it along with your check by September 1.


Historic Park Inn in Mason City, Iowa
Registration and all sessions
will be held at the
Historic Park Inn Hotel,
15 W. State St., Mason City, Iowa.

      Dr. Brent Mai, Director of the Center for Volga German Studies at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, will be the speaker for the afternoon. He has spoken world-wide on many topics related to Volga German history and culture. Dr. Mai, whose father's ancestors emigrated from the German colonies along the Volga River, grew up in Western Kansas and holds degrees from Bethany College (Kansas), George Washington University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Vanderbilt University. He has served as the CVGS Director since the Center was founded in 2004.

Brent Mai
Brent Mai

      Following is the schedule of activities and presentations for the CVGS-sponsored seminar series in Mason City:

12:30-1:00 Registration
1:00-1:45 Session 1: Introduction to the Volga Germans and their Heritage
1:45-2:15 Session 2: Franzosen Celebrates Its 250th Anniversary
2:15-3:00 Session 3: Genealogical Resources for the Volga Germans
3:00-3:15 Break
3:15-4:00 Session 4: Volga German Architecture on Three Continents
4:00-4:45 Session 5: The 1941 Deportation of the Volga Germans
4:45-5:30 Session 6: The Volga Germans of Argentina & Brazil

Dr. Mai will also be available on Saturday, September 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the lobby of the Historic Park Inn to answer your genealogical questions about the Volga Germans and to help formulate search strategies to overcome road blocks in your research.

The Historic Park Inn Hotel is located in the heart of downtown Mason City. There is parking along all of the major streets in the area.
Hotel Accommodations

Should you desire to experience Frank Lloyd Wright's hotel for the night, the Center for Volga German Studies has arranged for a special rate of $89 (plus applicable taxes) per night. Call the hotel at 641.422.0015 and ask for the Volga German rate for this event.
Sponsorship Opportunities

There are several opportunities to have your family, company, or organization recognized during the conference. For details, contact Tanya Bushnell (email: tbushnell@cu-portland.edu; phone: 503.493.6369).
Last updated 21 August 2015.