Hermann was a dream, founded in 1836 by the German Settlement Society of Philadelphia, whose members were appalled at the loss of native customs and language among their countrymen in America. The community was set up as a joint-stock company, attracting a variety of professionals, artisans, and laborers to the idea of a "German Athens of the West." The site, teeming with wild grapevines, was bounded by hills and bluffs on three sides and the Missouri River on the north. It was selected because of its similarity to the Rhine River region. A large city was planned, modelled on Philadelphia though with an even wider main street. Though it never achieved its planned City status, the town has managed to thrive and sustain a current population of about 2,700. It takes geat pride in its heritage, and has numerous restored buildings throughout.