Over 200 years ago, on the eve of Christmas 1818, Silent Night was sung for the first time in Oberndorf, Austria. Eventually, a chapel to commemorate that night would be built. But, did you know there’s a replica of the Silent Night Chapel in Frankenmuth, Michigan?
Where is the Silent Night Chapel in Frankenmuth Located?
First, if you’re not familiar with Frankenmuth, it’s a German settled town in mid Michigan, just south of Saginaw Bay. Also home to Bronners CHRISTmas Wonderland, which is the largest Christmas store in the world. On the south end of Bronners’ property is where you’ll find the Silent Night Chapel.
It’s fairly easy to find, since you can see it from the parking lot. Park near the Bronners’ nativity scene, and the walkway up to the chapel is right there.
How Were They Able to Build A Silent Night Chapel in Frankenmuth?
When Saint Nicholas Church was destroyed by flood in 1920, a chapel was built in place where the altar was located.
According to signs walking to the Silent Night Chapel, the Bronner Family received permission from city government and visitor’s bureau of Overndorf to build a replica.
Frankenmuth, being a town which has proudly kept their German history, it’s no wonder they wanted to build a replica chapel. Oberndorf, Austria is just across the Salzach River from Germany.
Some History About Silent Night, The CHRISTmas Carol, and How It’s Showcased in Frankenmuth
Silent Night was written by Franz Xaver Gruber, and first performed at Saint Nicholas Catholic Church by Franz and Father Joseph. Although written for organ, it was broke at the time, so Father Joseph accompanied with a guitar.
The years following that Christmas Eve night back in 1818, Silent Night was translated into many different languages. Nothing compared to the hundreds of languages now, which are shown all the way around the Silent Night Chapel in Frankenmuth.
Additionally, my most favorite story of Silent Night, is from the year 1914. During the peak of World War I, troops on all sides called a truce, and began to sing Silent Night in French, German, and English because it was the only carol they all knew. Doesn’t that just give you chills to imagine the connection they felt during the moment? The power of song.
What to Expect When Visiting
Silent Night Chapel is open daily, during Bronners store hours. You are free to walk the grounds around the chapel, and also walk through.
Inside you will find photos, memorabilia, benches, and an altar. But it’s mostly behind plexiglass.
From inside, the stain glass windows are beautiful.
It may not be a place to spend a lot of time, but if you’re in the area, it’s worth a quick stop. If only to see what the original, in Austria, looks like. Of course you won’t want to miss walking through the over 2 acre Bronners CHRISTmas Wonderland.
What Else Do You Need to Know
Location: 25 Christmas Lane Frankenmuth, MI 48734
When visiting the area, you’ll want to stay at Bavarian Inn Lodge. You can read all about why we love going back again, and again.