In August, 1876, five families from Kolb arrived in Hastings. They were joined by families from Merkel, Frank, and Norka. The greatest number arrived between 1905 and 1912 when 350 Volga German families settled in the southern part of the community. By the 1920 census, there were 783 Volga Germans living in Hastings.
The German-Russian settlement in Hastings was located south of the Burlington Railroad tracks. That area can be separated into two distinct communities, divided by Burlington Avenue. The first community, located west of Burlington Avenue, was primarily settled by people from the German colonies of Kolb, Merkel, and Frank. This settlement stretched from Burlington Avenue on the east to Sewell Avenue on the west, and was centered between West A and West E Streets. The largest concentration occurred between Garfield and Boston and A and E Streets. These settlers were mainly Evangelical Lutheran or Congregationalist. They attended either St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church on New York Avenue and C Street or the Free Evangelical Lutheran Church, Congregational Synod (also known as New York Avenue Congregational Church, also located on New York Avenue.
The second settlement was located east of Burlington Avenue, between East South and East B Streets and from Cedar to Minnesota Avenues. The settlers in this area were mainly from the colony of Norka. The earliest houses were built during the 1880s although the majority were constructed between 1900 and 1912. The main street of the southeastern community was East South Street.
VOLGA GERMAN CONGREGATIONS
Emmanuel Lutheran Congregational Church
German Congregational Church
New York Avenue Congregational Church
St. Paul's Lutheran Church
Zion Lutheran Church
Adams County : Nebraska Historic Buildings Survey (Lincoln, NE: Nebraska State Historical Society, 1999): chapter 7. (online)
Sallet, Richard. Russian-German Settlement in the United States (Fargo, ND: North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies, 1974): 43.