Discover German Roots and Small Town Charm in Oldenburg

I discovered Oldenburg, Indiana on a whim. My boys and I were traveling back from Indy and my curiosity won. Known as the Village of the Spires, Oldenburg’s German heritage and charm makes it a great daytrip getaway located about an hour from Cincinnati.

Oldenburg Monastery

I decided to come back to Oldenburg a few days later. This time without my kids and with my husband. I love my boys, but there were certain aspects of history that I wanted to dive into deeper during my second visit that I knew they wouldn’t be up for.

Oldenburg Indiana

The first settlers, William George and his brother, arrived in Oldenburg in 1817. Over the years Oldenburg’s population grew with German Catholic immigrants and incorporated in 1869. In 1851, Immaculate Conception Academy began with 6 pupils. Over the years, the sisters continued to offer outreach for the poor and educational programs for the community.

Oldenburg Indiana Wagner's Village Inn

Fried Chicken at Wagner’s Village Inn

Located at 22171 Main St. in Oldenburg. Oldenburg is known for their fried chicken. I was told that many out of towners  drive to Oldenburg just to eat their fried chicken.  My boys and I tried to get a table on a Saturday evening but we discovered a long line, which is always a good sign, but we were told that we still would have to wait quite a while because the food is made to order and we had a bit of a time crunch that night.

My husband and I came back a few days later and enjoyed a family style meal with plenty of leftovers to enjoy later. The interior of Wagner’s is a bit of a flashback to the 60/70’s era. When you walk in the door, you will see hundreds of pictures of people who celebrated their special day with the honorary chicken hat.

coleslaw Wagner's Village Inn

We started with a few rounds of coleslaw while we were waiting on our chicken. The coleslaw leans on the sweet side and if you’re hungry, it’s really easy to fill up during your wait.

Wagner's Village Inn

The chicken was worth the wait. If you love pepper, you will love the chicken because it’s heavily seasoned with it. Our meal came with rolls, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy.

There are a few other restaurants options in town that came highly recommended.

Oldenburg Indiana

Both The Brau Haus and the Pearl Street Pub were closed during our visit so we will have to try them next time.
fire hydrant Oldenburg Indiana

Quest to find the Hand Painted Fire Hydrants

As you walk down the streets, you will discover creative fire hydrants that each tie to the city in some way.

fire hydrant Oldenburg Indiana

fire hydrant Oldenburg Indiana

It’s such a simple thing, but it really did put a smile on my face every time that I found one. If your kids are with you, you can make a challenge to see who can find the most.

Sisters of St. Francis Oldenburg Indiana

Take a Tour from the Sisters of St. Francis

During my visit with the boys, a local shop owner shared that the sisters give tours. My boys were not in the mood for a tour and we were tight on time. We were fortunate that Sister Amy was available to give us a tour of the convent when I came back with my husband.

Sisters of St. Francis Oldenburg Indiana

She shared about the history of the convent, showed us around the complex, and shared stories. It was seriously such an honor to chat with her.

Sisters of St. Francis Oldenburg Indiana

We learned there was a wall around the property formerly used as a physical separation of the church from the outside world. Over time the views of the church shifted with the culture and the physical walls were removed to symbolize the open doors to the community. This section of wall pictured below is that remains.

Sisters of St. Francis Oldenburg Indiana

After our tour we did a little exploration on our own.

Sisters of St. Francis Oldenburg Indiana

The walking tour map has a scavenger hunt for kids along with history and information about each of the points of interest on site.

Oldenburg Indiana
Oldenburg Indiana

Visit a working farm

Michaela Farm is named in honor of Sister Michaela Lindemann who began work on the farm in 1854. It’s a short drive or a reasonable walk from the convent.

Oldenburg Indiana

Make sure that you bring cash so that you can take home dried herbs, eggs, and grass fed beef in the farm store.

Oldenburg Indiana

Discover treasures at local shops

Oldenburg Indiana

We were fortunate to stop by The Creche Shop while Ed Kirschner was crafting a nativity by hand. Generations of families make a tradition out of purchasing nativity stables from his shop.

Oldenburg Indiana

The Golden Turtle Trading Company is a great stop with artisan goods. I really enjoyed looking around in this store.

Oldenburg Indiana

Stop by Carriage House Antiques located at 22159 Main St. and discover 17th century antiques and homemade ice cream. The shop is filled with an incredible collection of 17th Century pieces.

Oldenburg Indiana

If you have kids with you, you can entice them with the homemade ice cream that you order at the front of the store and afterwards they can burn off some energy at the nearby playground located within walking distance of main street.

Oldenburg Indiana

The shop owner was a former history teacher and offered to share more about his favorite pieces which was such a treat.Oldenburg Indiana

A few points of interest are the original 5,000 lb. safe door, cuckoo clocks, a small trunk from London with original newspaper clippings attached to the bottom, rare books, and a colonial bee hive (pictured below).

Oldenburg Indiana

Make sure that you read the descriptions next to the items for a glimpse into their story.

Oldenburg Indiana

Look for historic details all around you

There are historic markers located throughout Oldenburg. The details on the buildings and walls are really incredible if you take the time to notice them.

Oldenburg Indiana

Oldenburg Indiana

I was also told that Freudenfest IS the place to be the 3rd week in July. This festival is a fun celebration of German heritage with food, drink, activities, and entertainment.

Oldenburg is a great day trip destination or a great stop on a roadtrip.

Oldenburg Indiana

You can find out more about what Oldenburg has to offer from the Franklin County website.

 

Comments

  1. Carolyn and Jim Meyer says

    This article is super and you covered so much of the town. We are glad that you and your husband were able to return and enjoy the food and the hospitality of the Sisters. Make sure you come back this summer!

  2. Sister Lorraine Geis says

    How very extremely interesting and beautiful you have portrayed our German village. Your scenes are so graphic, and will surely entice others to “come and see” Your explanation of each picture is so true, and make our area come alive.

    I am one of the Oldenburg Franciscans, and was among those who celebrated our 165 years, last year.

    Come back again, especially for the Freudenfest.. Blessings,

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