The wave of German immigrants which swept across the United States from the mid 1800's to the early 1900's brought their much needed skills to America in time for the great industrial expansion. The knitting industry in the Dover area experienced a dire need for qualified knitters in the blossoming silk stocking industry and attracted many workers from the knitting mills of the "Erzgebirge" area, in Sachsen (Saxony). These skilled workers contributed tremendously toward the growth and economy of the local communities. Along with their skills, the immigrants brought their language, culture, sense of order, appreciation for education, love of song and "Gemütlichkeit". It was not long after their arrival, they banded together to form their familiar Turn Verein, Gesang Verein or Kinder Schule to meet their educational and recreational needs.
In our area these immigrants founded the "Deutsche Vereinigung Dover" in 1895. It fulfilled the desire of its members to keep the German heritage alive by opening a German Language school in 1907 for children in the Dover area. The school section flourished and in 1916 the "Deutsche Vereinigung of Dover" changed its name to the "Deutscher Schulverein Dover". In 1925 the Schulverein purchased their property in Rockaway Township where the Germania Park club house and parking lot are located, from the Berry Farm Estate. Subsequently the official name was changed again in 1933 to the "Deutscher Schul Verein, Inc.".
In the early 1900's the "Gesang Verein Dover", a seperate entity at that time which was founded in 1897, helped to support the Deutsche Schule since many of its members also belonged to the "Deutsche Vereiningung". Eventually in 1940 the "Deutscher Schul Verein, Inc." which again was renamed the "Deutscher Schul- und Gesang Verein, Inc." in 1943.
After utilizing the facilities at "Guenther's Hall" in Dover, a building constructed by Paul Guenther, the textile mill owner for whom most members worked in the early years, the Schul Verein built a small "Waldhaus" on the Rockaway property which is now the entrance foyer and coat room of Germania Park. In 1929 a school room was added which is now our bar. The ballroom was added in 1935 and enlarged in 1966. At the same time, water, gas and sewer services were constructed. The bar and the ballroom were air-conditioned in 1970 and the open-air pavilion was constructed in 1976. Shortly thereafter the outside food and beverage service buildings were constructed and in 1983 the immediate area around our buildings was fenced to help prevent the ever increasing vandalism. Our soccer field, purchased in 1948, which used to be utilized by our members for soccer and fist ball, now serves as an occasional parking area for our well-attended festivals. In addition, we have for many years made our soccer field available, free of charge, to the Rockaway Township Recreational Department for youth soccer.
Several years ago, our language school classes were discontinued because of lack of interest, however, the "Mixed Chorus" of our Gesangverein remains strong. In addition to our semi-annual concerts, our club's facilities are open to the public several evenings each week, with dinner and dancing to popular German bands generally every second Saturday. Since 1975 the members of Germania Park have hosted 44 bands from Germany and Austria, for two weeks each year in the summer and one week each year in the fall.