Happy 175th birthday, Millstadt. You don't look a day older than 150.
Of course, you could consider yourself 134 if you count the time from when your name officially was changed to Millstadt. Add in the 41 years when you were named Centerville, and you have your birthday. More about that later.
To celebrate the milestone, the town will hold an Oktoberfest from noon to 7 p.m., Sunday in Liederkrantz Park, 301 N. Jefferson St.
There will be German food, German beer, old time craft demonstrations and music by the Waterloo German Band.
At 11 a.m., Marianne Schaefer will lead a walking tour of town showing off old homes and historic sites. Tickets are $7 and available at the beginning of the tour at the park. The tour will wind 3.1 miles through town and end at the old log cabin at the park which is on Kalbfleisch Street.
"I'm a fitness enthusiast, so I hope I didn't make it too long," Schaefer said.
She plans to discuss more than 30 sites along the way. Following the tour, there will be an ice cream social at the park for participants lasting until the ice cream runs out, she said.
A committee of six helped plan the event. Any proceeds from the day will go towards installing a chair lift at the municipal swimming pool. The lift is necessary to keep the pool open. Its estimated cost is $12,000.
Old-time homesteading demonstrations at the Oktoberfest will include rope making, corn shelling, beekeeping and making corn husk dolls.
The original Millstadt, called Centerville, was platted on March 13, 1837, on a piece of land owned by Henry Randleman, according to a history compiled by Robert Buecher of St. Louis.
Randleman was encouraged by Joseph Abend and Simon Stookey while they were building a barn on Stookey's land, north of the town-to-be. The name supposedly came from the fact that the new town would be an equal distance of seven miles from Belleville, Columbia and Pittsburg Lake, near present day East St. Louis.
Several stories surround the changing of the town name. Some claim it began as Centerville, but many area Germans called it Centreville in the European spelling.
The name supposedly was changed because there already was a Centreville just north of town. But Buecher says the name was changed because there already was a post office named Centreville in Wabash County near Indiana.
As an alternative, the town submitted a German translation of Centreville, agreeing to accept either Middlestadt or Mittlestadt. Officials somehow sent back Millstadt.
Apparently many residents continued to refer to their town as Centreville anyway until 1878 when the village board changed the name officially.