About This Archive

Closeup of Adolph Thierbach

To help you through this website,
the photo collection has been categorized
into the following topics. Each of the following
webpages contains thumbnail photos, which,
when clicked, will give an enlarged view.
Links are provided to other category pages
and Home page.

Adolph Thierbach | German Village 1
Detainee Camp | Hot Springs Buildings
Group Photographs | Portraits
Transportation | Whimsy
German Village 2 | Group Photographs 2
Hot Springs Buildings 2 | Death

Photo above is a portion of
Postcard of the Photographer.


From 1917 through 1918, the grounds of the Mountain Park Hotel in Hot Springs, North Carolina
housed German civilians who were in the United States during World War I. These civilians were
comprised of the crews of the German commercial ships which had taken cover in American ports
when Great Britain declared war on Germany in 1914.

Included in the group were members of a German orchestra who fled Tsingtao (Qingdao today) China,
and a photographer, Adolph Thierbach. They sought refuge in New York Harbor for three years
before being designated "enemy aliens" and transported to Hot Springs for internment.

Very little is known about Herr Thierbach other than what can be gleaned from the photographs
he took during his incarceration at the detainee camp. He chronicled the detainees' stay in the
Mountain Park Hotel, the building of the actual detainee camp, and the construction of the unique
German village built on the grounds by the detainees. He photographed the “Tsingtao Orchestra”
before and after concerts given for local residents, cricket games played on the grounds of
the hotel, the reconstruction of a bridge destroyed by flooding, and detainees who served
in the local fire department. Tragically, also included are photographs of the headstones
marking the graves of the forty Germans who died during a typhoid epidemic.

Eventually Herr Thierbach put all of his photographs into an album and captioned them.
This project is a recreation of Herr Thierbach's photographs including translations of the original
German captions. Many of the buildings in these photographs no longer exist, and those left
are not known locally by the names in Herr Thierbach's album. Within this digital collection
we have attempted to faithfully reproduce his work as he created it.

The Madison County LIbrary, located in Marshall, North Carolina, created this website through
a special grant and owns the photos in this archive.

Learn more about the Madison County Library by visiting its website.

The staff of Madison County Public Library would not have been able to pursue this project without the assistance
of the kind and helpful staff at NCECHO, and without the local help of Lorrie Cooper, Bruce Sprinkle, Erika Baker,
Hazel Moore, and Harold Phillips.