New Haven and its German sister city, Borgholzhausen, “the city of wooden houses,” have a long history together.
The two cities established a Sister City partnership in 1994 and for more than 20 years, delegates from each town have visited each other, toured towns and celebrated their shared heritage.
After a summer trip to Borgholzhausen, New Haven city officials decided to enhance the city’s monument that marks the partnership. Once located along the riverfront, the monument has been moved to a new plaza area at the city park.
Located on Park Drive, the large rock monument sits on an elevated platform in a concrete aggregate viewing area. It features carved shaking hands to represent “friends across the sea.”
The new site is circular shaped, with benches and landscaping featuring cherry trees. Four flagpoles hoist the U.S., Germany, New Haven and Borgholzhausen flags.
Mayor George Panhorst said he hopes to rededicate the area the next time a delegation from Borgholzhausen visits New Haven.
New Haven German-American Club President David Menke said the new area is something the community can be proud of.
Menke thanked city officials and the mayor for their “strong allegiance to the Sister City project.”
“I was a little overwhelmed when I saw it,” Menke said. “I look at it as a monument in recognition of our German heritage.”
Menke said Germans were instrumental in the settlement of New Haven and there are strong Germanic ties in its ancestral past.
“This is a monument to our ancestry and to our Sister City,” he said.
There has been discussion on renaming a street after the Sister City, as the German city has done for New Haven.