Schonlau Park, named in honor of Theodore H. and Clara K. Schonlau, is the setting for the City of New Ulm's unique Glockenspiel. Local contributors were joined by donors from three foreign countries, 31 States, and 51 other Minnesota cities, in matching a magnanimous gift from Clara Schonlau to provide the funds necessary to construct the first free-standing carillon tower in North America. New Ulm's 45 feet tall musical clock tower was dedicated on May 25, 1980, with over 1500 people in attendance.
The tower's set of 37 fully chromatic three-octave bronze bells, which were cast in Holland by Royal Eijsbouts, can be played electronically, or by keyboard. Ulm, West Germany, which maintained a long-time Sister City relationship with the City of New Ulm, generously paid for the second largest of the 37 bells with an $8,000 contribution to the project.
The Glockenspiel's 12 animated figures, which are interchangeable with a Christmas Nativity scene, illustrate significant facets of the community's rich heritage. Engineered and built by Schulmerich Carillons, Inc. of Sellersville, Pennsylvania and constructed at a cost of $275,000, the steel structure is finished with native Minnesota brick and stone, utilizing a design developed by InterDesign, Inc. of Minneapolis. Area firms involved in the project included American Artstone and the Heymann Construction Companies of New Ulm, and Ochs Brick and Tile from Springfield.
The project was coordinated by the Glockenspiel Trust Committee composed by Clara Schonlau, Mayor Carl L. Wyczawski, City Council President William J. Gafford, Richard B. Heymann, and William M. Schade; with Donald J. Gollnast serving as Treasure.