Just as crops grew from its soil, the story of the land upon which Pride and Country Village is located grows out of the migration of Bavarian peasant farmers to the Michigan’s Saginaw Valley in the 1840s. The Heinrich Rank family was one of the 22 families chosen in Bavaria, Germany, by Pastor Wilhelm Leohe to populate a Lutheran settlement in America. In 1845, the settlers left Germany accompanied by Pastor August Craemer to establish Frankentrost, Michigan, about 7 miles north of Frankenmuth. The land was purchased from the federal government for 77 cents an acre. A few years later, Heinrich’s brother, Peter, also migrated to Frankentrost.
In 1869, Michael Riedel, after the birth of his second-youngest daughter, Katherine, purchased the farm upon which Pride and Country Village is now located. This corner crossroad became a stage stop, and Michael opened a saloon in the front of his house to serve as a rest stop for travelers along what was then known as Saginaw-Vassar Road. When Michael grew old and blind, he sold the farm to Henry Rank, Peter Rank’s son, for $2,500. Henry’s brother, Bernhardt, married Katherine Riedel – so in a sense, the farm stayed “in the family.”
Henry Rank built the current house in 1904 and worked the land. He also had milking cows, pigs, chickens and rabbits. The farm’s out-buildings consisted of a barn with attached pig shed and pen, a silo, a windmill used to pump water from a deep well for the stock, a milk house, corn crib, chicken coop and machine shed. When Henry died in 1945, the farm passed to his nephew, John E. Rank, son of Bernhardt and Katherine.
John first share-cropped the land with Ted Daenzer and later with Wesley Reinbold. John reserved the southeast corner of the property, where the saloon once stood, for him and his wife, Violet, to garden. John always considered this “hallowed ground” because his mother had walked on it. As Violet worked the garden, she found many old coins that had been dropped by patrons of the saloon many years earlier. After the death of John and Violet in 1989, the farm was sold to Rudolph Reinbold. In 1992, Barb and Tom Schian purchased the property.
The Dream Comes True
The Pride and Country “roots” took hold in 1989, when Barb followed her dream and opened Pride and Country in her basement. There she made all of the craft items she sold, and the “heart” of Pride and Country was established: The Woodshop.
The Woodshop continues to be the heart of our business. The “old” homestead located on “that” corner, where you traveled on plank roads, is now the site of Pride and Country Village, home to Michigan’s most unique village of shops and a delight to the thousands of guests who visit each year.