Kronsgarten (Chortitza Mennonite Settlement, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Ukraine)

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Kronsgarten was a Mennonite village of the "Old Colony" (Chortitza Mennonite Settlement) founded in 1794 on the banks of the small stream, Kiltschen [also spelled Chilschin]. The Kiltschen ran east into the Samara, which in turn ran into the Dnieper River. Kronsgarten was about 16 km. north-east of Ekaterinoslav [Екатеринославъ] [now Dnipropetrovsk (Ukranian, Дніпропетровськ), Ukraine]. It was only the second colony to settle on the left bank of the Dnieper River and was considerably north of the other Old Colony villages. Though each family was promised 65 desiatinas [about 65.55 hectares] there was not enough land to meet this promise so the government provided extra land some 8.5 km to the southeast. This extra parcel of land was used as community pasture. In total Kronsgarten had 975 desiatinas of quite productive and arable land, and 473 desiatinas of pasture and forest. At the beginning there were 18 farmsteads for the founding families but later three farmers sold their land, which was then divided among the remaining 15 farms. These families, together with the group that founded Schönwiese, were mostly of Frisian background from Mennonite settlements in Lithuanian Prussia. They were part of the Kronsweide Gemeinde. On arrival the settlers found the remains of a government orchard and this inspired them to name their village "Crown’s Garden."

Kronsgarten’s neighbouring village, about five kilometres away, was the German Lutheran village Josephstal. These Germans spoke the same Low German language as Mennonites, though their farms were smaller and less prosperous. Further west was the large Ukrainian village of Podgorodnoye [Подгородное] which was close to Ekaterinoslav.

The village had one street that was lined by a wooden fence and a row of pear trees on one side and a hedge of mulberry. The mulberry leaves were used to feed the local silk worms. Along the Kiltschen valley grew many wild berries, strawberries, raspberries, and gooseberries. These banks served also as the pasture for the cows. Cows were milked three times each day. On a set day each week a businessman from Ekaterinoslav would pick up vegetables, roses and jasmine. Everyone had a patch of jasmine in their garden. Because of frequent flooding of the river system, Kronsgarten was relocated in 1845 onto adjacent higher ground about one km. to the east.

The first pastor of Kronsgarten was Johannes Bartel van der Moewsen. He began serving about 1803. Next was his son-in-law Peter Block who was elected in 1833 and served until 1878. Block had a treadmill and was also the innkeeper and owner of a distillery. In 1835 a combined church and school building was constructed. Johannes Epp (1830-88) was one of the outstanding village teachers. After Epp came old Johannes Nickel followed by his son Johannes Nickel. The last teacher and minister was Peter Rempel who was well liked. In 1923 Rempel immigrated to Canada and settled on the Sheldon farm in Saskatchewan. Johann J. Klassen (1872-1942) also taught at Kronsgarten after he returned from studies at the Theological Seminary in Basel, Switzerland.

In 1867 settlers from Kronsgarten bought the Globa estate of some 8,632 desiatina [9,430 hectares] which was about 35 km north of Ekaterinoslav and settled 10 farms and a school yard establishing the village of Wiesenfeld.  It was located on the east side of the Kiltschen River about one km. north of the present village of Olexandrovka. Still later the hamlet of Prijut was founded six km. west of Wiesenfeld.

Today the village of Kronsgarten, which was later renamed Polovista (Паловица) no longer exists. In time the brutal pressure of the Soviet regime forced the remaining families to abandon the village and by 1926 most families left Kronsgarten for Canada. In World War II all the remaining buildings were destroyed. In 2013 the area that was Kronsgarten was part of Podgorodnoye and was summer cottage country for people from Dnipropetrovsk.


Bergen, Heinrich. "The Missing Village of Kronsgarten." Mennonite Historian (December 1991): 10.

Bergen. Heinrich. "Zu-Das vermisste Dorf Kronsgarten." Der Bote (27 January 1993): 4.

Dyck, Sylvia Murray. Add one Cossack and stir. Philadelphia, PA: Dorrance, 1972.

Klassen., Is. P. "The Kronsweide Mennonite Church in Russia." Unpublished paper, 1993. Isaac P. Klassen collection, Mennonite Heritage Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Reger, Adina and Delbert Plett. Diese Steine, Die Russlandmennoniten, Steinbach, MB: Crossway Publications, 2001: Kap. 29, pp. 216-224, 665.

Schapansky, Henry. "Kronsgarten: The Old Colony. The First Settlers 1811-1816." Mennonite Family History (October 1998): 166-173.

Schapansky, Henry. Mennonite Migrations (and the Old Colony). New Westminster, BC: Schapansky, 2006: 652-668.

Stumpp, Karl.  Die Auswanderung aus Deutschland nach Russland in den Jahren 1763 bis 1862. Deutschland: Landsmannschaft der Deutachen aus Russland, 1978: 169.

Stummp, Karl. The Emigration from Germany to Russia in the Years 1763-1862. Lincoln, Neb.: American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 1982.

Author(s) Heinz Bergen
Date Published June 2013

Cite This Article

MLA style

Bergen, Heinz. "Kronsgarten (Chortitza Mennonite Settlement, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Ukraine)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. June 2013. Web. 28 Sep 2023.,_Dnipropetrovsk_Oblast,_Ukraine)&oldid=166224.

APA style

Bergen, Heinz. (June 2013). Kronsgarten (Chortitza Mennonite Settlement, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Ukraine). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 28 September 2023, from,_Dnipropetrovsk_Oblast,_Ukraine)&oldid=166224.

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