— The Pommers & The Gentners —
has been placed on the
National Register of
by the United States
Department of the Interior
Catherine Oelschaeger Gentner bought the house in 1882 for $1,500. She and her husband, G. Heinrich, had been a part of the first group who arrived in December 1837 to begin the town of Hermann. Unlike the Pommers, the Gentners started with very little. They first lived in a log house, but eventually they prospered and were able to own one of the finest residences in town.
The design of the house reflects a simplified Greek and Roman temple appearance. Variations of this restrained neoclassical style can be found in brick buildings of German communities all across Missouri.
This house is associated with two early Hermann families. Both the Pommer and Gentner families were among the initial members of the Deutsche Ansiedlungs-Gesellschaft zu Philadelphia (German Settlement Society of Philadelphia). Organized in 1836, the group sought to create a better place for Germans to preserve their language and heritage in the New World.
Although her husband, a piano maker and officer of the society, had died, Caroline Pommer moved her family to Hermann and built the house in 1840. But the new frontier could not support a music instrument business and her sons turned to carpentry. That also proved to be insufficient so the Pommers sold their house in 1856 and left Hermann. One son, Frederick Wilhelm, moved to St. Louis where he established a successful music business; his son, William Frederick (1851-1936), studied in Germany and Austria and became a noted Missouri composer, conductor, and professor of music at the University of Missouri-Columbia.