John Augustus Roebling emigrated to America with his brother Karl from Muhlhausen, Germany in 1831. He purchased a 1,583 acre plot of land from Sarah Collins for the sum of $2,209.50 in 1832, and founded Saxonburg Borough. Roebling’s vision was to create a German community in America whose foundation would be agriculture and light manufacturing. Being an architect and engineer, he planned the village with one broad main street running east to west flanked by deep lots so each settler could farm their land, as was the custom in Germany.
John Roebling continued his work as an engineer and did surveying work for the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Philadelphia-Harrisburg-Pittsburgh route over the Allegheny Mountains. Roebling’s engineering work lead to his famous invention of “wire rope” in his Saxonburg workshop, which revolutionized the art of bridge building. Some of John Roebling’s most notable bridges include the suspension bridge over the Niagara River and the Brooklyn Bridge, over the East River in New York City. Roebling’s original homestead is still in use as an office for Saxonburg’s Memorial Presbyterian Church, and his “wire rope shop” is in Roebling Park. A replica of the Brooklyn Bridge is also at Roebling Park attached to Roebling’s workshop.
At Saxonburg Borough Council’s meeting of October 17, 2007, Council unanimously moved to become a member of “Sister Cities International,” with the intent of becoming a “Sister City “ with Muhlhausen, Germany, John Roebling’s birthplace. Muhlhausen, Germany dates back to the middle ages and was part of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR). Council felt that John Roebling’s accomplishment in the invention of the wire cable, used in the building of suspension bridges all over the world, created an unspoken bond between both communities. Therefore, in December 2007, Saxonburg Mayor, Brian Antoszyk, wrote a letter to Muhlhausen, Germany’s Burgermeister asking if their City Council would be interested in instituting a “Sister City Affiliation” with Saxonburg Borough. In doing so, it was Saxonburg’s intention to create an ever growing awareness and appreciation of each other’s culture and people.
A formal signing of the “Sister City Affiliation Contract” with Muhlhausen Germany, took place on Friday, May 23, 2008. The city of Muhlhausen, Germany was presented with Saxonburg Borough’s official flag, a framed picture of Historic Saxonburg, Christmas ornaments depicting various historical places in the Borough, and informational brochures about Saxonburg Borough were given to their officials. In turn, Mayor Antoszyk was presented the Official “Sister City Document,” Muhlhausen’s official flag, and brochures of Muhlhausen.
Saxonburg Borough Council is looking forward to a long and prosperous relationship with our “Sister City" Muhlhausen, Germany. It is Saxonburg Borough’s hope that this relationship will develop a mutual understanding of the people and cultures, establish an exchange program between schools, and to further friendships between the people of the United Stated and Germany that will transcend the boundaries of miles and the difference in languages.
Copyright © Saxonburg Borough.