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 â€œTsingtao Orchestraâ€ 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.
“WWI Detainees in Hot Springs, NC,” ibiblio catalog, accessed February 26, 2020, https://www.ibiblio.org/catalog/items/show/4246.