From the author, Bob Zahler:
The history of St. Michael, Minnesota has been a topic near and dear to me most of my life. I started asking questions and absorbing information when I was a kid growing up on the southern edge of town along County Road 19. While doing a project in high school, I discovered that there was little written about St. Michael's past and decided then that some day I would attempt to research the many questions that I had about my home town and put the answers in a book.
The writing of Faith, Family & Farming started in 1990, but my teaching career and renovating my old house kept me away from working on the book. The project finally came to fruition in the fall of 2009 and the book was released to the public on December 19, 2009.
Faith, Family & Farming is 280 pages in length and printed in full color. The older photos are in their original sepia tones and the book includes several rare color photos of St. Michael taken in the 1950s and 1960s.
The book has three main parts: Part One traces the origins of the settlers who came to Minnesota in the mid-nineteenth century and attempts to explain their motivations for leaving Germany and how and why they ended up along the Crow River in Wright County. Particular attention was paid to the unique background of St. Michael's founders compared to those of other communities founded at the same time. The first part also details the development of St. Michael's principal businesses, professionals, public institutions, and community organizations. Additionally, important events that put St. Michael in the headlines are highlighted in Part One.
Part Two discusses the history of the Parish of St. Michael, which played an integral role in the development of the larger community. The co-mingling of church and state in St. Michael is another characteristic that set St. Michael apart from other towns.
Part Three provides a brief history of each of the founding families. Families included in this part are those who settled and made permanent residence in St. Michael or surrounding Frankfort Township prior to the year 1900. Interestingly, many of these families came from the very same region in Germany and some knew each other in Germany before settling together in Minnesota.