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The Real History of the von Trapp Family

Nov 17, 2015 03:02PM ● By Ryan Frisch

Photos courtesy of the Trapp Family Lodge

Though based on the von Trapp family’s real-life story, The Sound of Music is not a documentary. In fact, the family had no control over the film’s content. As is often the case in the entertainment business, there are several differences between the facts and the film. Here’s a time line of the real history.

1880 Birth of Baron Georg von Trapp.

1905 Birth of Maria Augusta Kutschera.

1924 Maria becomes a candidate for the novitiate at Nonnberg Benedictine Convent in Salzburg, Austria.

1926 Maria is chosen by the Mother Abbess to help Baron von Trapp with his seven children and to tutor his daughter, also named Maria, who had contracted scarlet fever.

1927 Georg and Maria wed; Maria becomes stepmother to Rupert, Werner, Johanna, Agathe, Maria, Martina, and Hedwig von Trapp.

1929 Rosmarie von Trapp, Maria and the Baron’s first child, is born.

1931 Eleonore von Trapp, Maria and the Baron’s second child, is born.

1936 Maria and Monsignor Franz Wasner create the Trapp Family Singers, originally called The Trapp Family Chorus.

1938 The von Trapp family flees Nazi-occupied Austria. They perform concerts throughout Europe, followed by a three-month tour in America.

1939 The family emigrates to the United States. Johannes, Maria and the Baron’s third and last child, is born, expanding the family to 10 children.

1942 The family purchases part of the Gale Farm in Stowe, Vermont, and names it Cor Unum (One Heart); it later became the Trapp Family Lodge.

1945 Trapp Music Camp opens.

1947 Baron Georg von Trapp dies.

1948 The first addition is made to the lodge to accommodate guests. Pope Pius XII honors Maria with the Bene Merenti Medal for Trapp Family Austrian Relief, Inc., which aided thousands of Austrians during World War II.

1950 Maria wins the St. Francis de Sales Golden Book Award from the Catholic Writers Guild for her nonfiction book, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, on which Rodgers and Hammerstein later based their play and film.

1956 The Trapp Family Singers perform their final concert. The first of two German films, Die Trapp Familie, is released.

1958 The second German films, Die Trapp Familie in Amerika, is released.

1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music opens on Broadway; Mary Martin plays Maria.

1965 The Sound of Music movie premiers, starring Julie Andrews as Maria and Christopher Plummer as Baron von Trapp. It receives an Academy Award for “Best Picture.”

1967 Maria receives the Honorary Cross First Class for Science and Art from the Austrian Government.

1968 Johannes von Trapp oversees the opening of the cross-country ski touring center at the Trapp Family Lodge, creating the first-ever destination Nordic skiing resort in the United States.

1980 The original lodge burns; the cause of the fire remains unknown.

1981 Construction of chalet guest houses and the new lodge begins.

1983 In December, the first guest registers at the new Trapp Family Lodge.

1983 The Trapp Family Lodge introduces its Concert in the Meadow series, reinvigorating the family’s musical tradition.

1984 Maria dedicates the new lodge. The fitness center opens at the resort.

1987 Maria dies.

1997 The Austrian Military Academy visits the Trapp Family Lodge on the 50th anniversary of Baron von Trapp’s death.

1998 The Salzburg government gives the von Trapp family its medal of honor as a result of the increase in tourism caused by the movie, The Sound of Music.

2000 The Sound of Music reopens on Broadway with members of the von Trapp family in attendance. The Trapp Family Lodge is designated a “Green Hotel in the Green Mountain State.” Gourmet Magazine’s readers’ poll names the Trapp Family Lodge among the top five hotels in America for “Pursuits and Pleasures” in the skiing/winter sports category. The lodge adds 24,000 square feet of new meeting space and accommodations.

2004 The first four of 40 Villas at the Trapp Family Lodge (a five-year project) are completed and sold.

2007 Sam von Trapp returns to become vice president of the resort. The lodge starts developing mountain-biking trails and implements snowmaking for the cross-country ski center.

2009 The Austrian Tea Room is converted to the Deli Bakery.

2010 Von Trapp Lager is introduced.

2015 Von Trapp Brewing opens its expanded on-site brewery.


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