The German immigrants who came to Columbia in the first half of the 19th century and helped the town to prosper kept on writing letters to their old home till the turn of the century. Then contacts faded.
Columbia's inhabitants were always aware of their origin. Brick-built public buildings, care of the cemetery, street names and listed historical buildings bear witness to this.
The "Strassenfest", established in 1960, was to show the connection to the German origin, too. But for some Columbians this was not enough. And so in the summer of 1991 Bob Schaefer, citizen of Columbia, came to Gedern for his genealogical research and visited the city administration. Rainer Schwarz, then Gedern's mayor, immediately informed the city council and contacted the schools, the church and the chamber of commerce.
As a result, a Gedern delegation visited Columbia from Nov 26 to Dec 2, 1991. The members of this delegation were:
- Rainer Schwarz, Gedern's mayor
- Werner Kehm, first alderman
- Klaus Hein, president of the city parliament
- Willi Herbst, alderman
- Werner Herröder, alderman
- Willi Kehm, alderman
- Reinhold Landmann, alderman
- Gerhard Ringel, president of the chamber of commerce
- Christian Gottschick, pastor
- Wilfried Molz, principal
- Michael Giers, press
The delegation had warm-hearted meetings with all the important institutions of Columbia. The visit to St. Louis with a ride up the Gateway Arch, the Gateway to the West, will be unforgotten.