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Lodi's Dakota Club says goodbye after 66 years

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Posted: Wednesday, December 30, 2009 12:00 am

For Luella Bitz, attending the dinner dances with the Dakota Club meant having some social time with fellow Germans.

"Germans like to dance and they like to eat," she laughed.

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  • posted at 9:35 am on Tue, Jan 5, 2010.


    Educator:Let me provide some comments in answer to your questions.Most of the Germans lived in farming villages with neighboring villages occupied by Armenians, Jews, Russians, etc. There was contact with these different villages throughout the century or more from the beginning of the settlement in the early 1800s, but very little intermarriage and cultural mixing with Russians. The Germans spoke German and few Russian words; kept their own religions and cultural practices. In 1871, the Germans in Russia lost some of their earlier rights and were required to serve in the military. They resented these changes and the move toward more "Russification". But, the main reason they left Russia for the US, was the availability of "free land for a free people". Also, many of the German settlers in Russia spoke regional variations of German that went back to earlier times; meanwhile, the standardization of "hochdeutsch" had gone on in Germany. The versions differed. I recommend your reading of Joseph Height's "Homesteaders on the Steppe", 1975, North Dakota Historical Society of Germans from Russia.

  • posted at 8:33 am on Tue, Jan 5, 2010.


    First, a slight correction to an other-wise great article. The Lodi area Germans from Russia were mostly Black Sea Germans, or "Schwarzmeer Deutsch". As such, they were invited in the early 1800s by Tsar Alexander I, not his grandmother Catherine the Great, to settle in the Ukraine.As a member of the Northern California Chapter of the Germans from Russia Historical Society, in Sacramento, I am very sorry to hear of the Dakota Club's ending. All of us appreciated this group's role in Lodi, the "capitol of North and South Dakota", in passing on our GR heritage. Thanks to all of you for that!

  • posted at 3:26 pm on Wed, Dec 30, 2009.


    Correction--Many North Dakota Germans are descendants of Germans who immigrated from Russia. The immigrants came mostly in the later 1800's and early 1900's.

  • posted at 3:18 pm on Wed, Dec 30, 2009.


    EducatorI believe many of the North Dakota "Germans" migrated from south Russia. It is true that the North Dakota "German" is different than German spoken in Germany. My grand parents came from South Russia and homesteaded near Burnstead ND. My father was schooled by a Russian priest and had a Russian prayer book which he could read.It is my understanding that Russia needed farmers and made it attractive for Germans to move to Russia to become farmers. The Germans were treated poorly--- as immigrants usually are and many left Russia to homestead in the US.I think we can all understand why they downplayed their Russian connection.

  • posted at 2:21 pm on Wed, Dec 30, 2009.


    Unfortunately, most of the old "Dakotan's" are currently residing at Harney Lane and 99. My neighbor was, what he called, a Dakota German. But he and my former Doctor, both of the same persuasion, told me that there is a lot of Russian blood and culture in these people. But they didn't want to celebrate the Russian component. My neighbor also told me that his parents actually came from Russia, and did not speak "proper" German. He also said that his parents had a hard time talking with people from Germany because the dialect was so different.I am wondering if this was true. Why didn't they celebrate their Russian heritage?Can anyone elaborate on this? I can't ask either of them anymore, because they are both at Harney and 99.

  • posted at 5:26 am on Wed, Dec 30, 2009.


    It is certainly sad to see the end of the Dakota Club. The members have gotten old and tired of doing all of the work in planning. It seems like the younger generation like to just sit around and complain and let the old timers do all of the work. They have no reason to complain if they do nothing themselves. This isn't just with the Dakota club but with many clubs.I will miss the Dakota club and their events.

  • posted at 4:43 am on Wed, Dec 30, 2009.


    Ah---the good ole days.I recall the excitement created by all the posters advertising the annual Dakota club picnic. A good time was had by all. My dad used run a "penny pitch" game there. Players would toss pennies hoping to win a can of fruit donated by the old Stokley cannery. Thanks to all the old "square heads" that made this club and this picnic fun.



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