The colony's story starts on September 2, 1866, when American settlers arrive to the Jaffa shores on the well-stocked ship, "Nelly Chippin." The beginning in the Holy Land was difficult. Bureaucracy with the Ottomans delayed the purchase of land, and the settlers spent a few months in tents on the Jaffa beach. Many settlers got sick during this time, and nine of them, mostly children, died within those first few weeks. They ate from hand to hand and at the end of 1866 they legally purchased land and built 10 houses on the two streets assigned to their neighborhood, today Auerbach Street and Bar Hoffman Street.
This is how the first half of the colony started in the second half of the 19th century by the Mormon Americans. This is a group of 157 pioneers from the "Messiah Church," whose leader was an eccentric preacher George Adams. This was a Protestant sect that believed the Jewish nation's return to Israel will bring back the Messiah, and establish "A Thousand Year Monarchy." They believed that this will also bring to the recognition of the Jewish community that the Messiah is Jesus.
But the settlers were innocent. They were unable to adapt to the new country and they didn't even have an income. At a certain point they left the country, with the help of a rich traveler who paid for their journey home. A few years later the colony belonged to German Templars, who were expelled from Germany after World War II, and whose houses were owned by the British, and during the establishment of Israel, ownership was transferred to the Israeli government.
In the past few years this colony has undergone restorations and advance renovations. Today, similar to adjacent Neve Tzedek, the American-German colony provides a window to the first settlement of Tel Aviv, prior to the official establishment of the city.
The one who upgraded the hotel and put it up to European standards and demands was Ernest Hardage. He turned the hotel into one of the most important hotels in Jaffa. When the Templars left Israel, during World War II, the hotel stopped operating. With the establishment of Israel it moved to government ownership, was neglected, and abandoned in the 1960's. Only during its latest renovation did it become a luxurious apartment building.
The impressive banyan tree is what is left from the impressive hotel gardens that included among its plants tropical plants and different animals, like parrots and monkeys. Sit under the tree and look across, at the Immanuel Church built in 1904 in the Neo-Gothic style.
The couple established on the ground floor the "Maine Friendship House" - a sort of museum where you can see different items that were used by the original settlers.