Skip to main content

tv   Heurich Family and Brewmasters Castle  CSPAN  June 18, 2017 6:00pm-6:29pm EDT

6:00 pm
daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. artifactsek american takes you to museums and historic places to learn about american history. by christian built high rick, a german immigrant who started a successful brewing company in 1872. today we tore several rooms in that mansion, also called the brewmasters castle, to learn about the heurich family. this is the first of a two-part series. >> this is the home of christian washington, d.c.'s most important brewer. he was a philanthropist, and he also was they largest employer during his lifetime. died he was still
6:01 pm
operating his brewery, he was the oldest brewer in the world at that time. we are standing at his dupont circle mansion which was really his i have arrived statement after he made it in america and felt up his brewery power. this was built between 1892 and 1894. it was a technological innovation of its time. familyd here with his until he died in 1945 and his wife died in 1956. heurich is an american story and he is an important story in washington, d.c. history that has been lost over time. in washington we are used to focusing on federal government and was going on in congress and our culture is focused on the smithsonian's. they are histories that have been lost over time, people who built up the city.
6:02 pm
there are people who have lived here for generations and this is their story and where they came from. aroundgoing to show you the house today, it is one of the most intact historic houses in the country. it has always original furnishings and fixtures, one-of-a-kind objects, original family archives, and they help us tell the story in a deep meaningful way. came from very little. he was born in a small town to the south of bavaria in germany, before germany really was a country. who ranup with parents a tabard. he also worked in the tavern, waking up really early to help serve and going to school. by the time he was 14, he was orphaned. his neighbors helped him get an apprenticeship in the brewing and butchered trade.
6:03 pm
apprenticedwas around europe, multiple different breweries, doing am wondering apprenticeship, until he finally decided to come to america after the civil war. he moved to baltimore, where his sister had moved from years before, and decided to sort of explorer little bit more, going out on a ship with her sister's husband, it was a captain, and that he traveled out west. working on a farm, until he finally decided to come back and try to open his own brewery. that is when he landed in washington, d.c.. he did that by purchasing a failing brewery just a block south of here. when you purchase that brewery, pretty soon afterwards, schnell died, and chanel's widow ended
6:04 pm
up marrying christian and helping him build the brewery into the successful business. it was a pretty brilliant marketer, he introduced lager beer, change the brewery over from what beer, -- wheat beer, and emilia heurich really helped him. she died of pneumonia and probably overworked. christian a few years later married matilda. matilda was a different person, she was younger and she probably came from a higher level of society. she was the sister of the treasurer of a brewery. when i got married, they ended up building the house together, and matilda is the one who designed these rooms. she is the one who probably worked with the interior designers. you can he she had an eye towards leveraging them a little further along in society, just based on the way these rooms
6:05 pm
were outfitted. moving to dupont circle and building a house here was sort of the i have arrived statement for the heurichs. the neighborhood was a brand-new neighborhood at the time, it really only started in the 1870's, and it wasn't popular at first then all of the wealthy -- a lot of people who had made it in the gold rush built houses on the circle, and money,richs, they had but they were middle-class to a certain extent, and this house was built in 1894, it was late victorian but it was sort of right at the edge of what was going out of style. but, everything in here is the best of what would have been in style during the victorian time period. all of the furniture that you would see here today is original from 1894 and was still here in 1956. if you can sort of imagine that
6:06 pm
trajectory. matilda and christian work with an interior design firm that were based out of new york and they were also germans. at that time, as we are approaching the turn-of-the-century, homes were still being built with old-fashioned craftsmanship, but there was still a lot of new prefabricated, mass fabricated stuff being put into these homes as well. so, you can see if you look around, the fireplaces are extremely intricately carved and those were hand-done by a woodworking firm of german craftsmen cover local to d.c. but then you conservative look at that paneling on the side of the door, you can see that it's very precisely cut, probably made by machine and not by hand, and sort of plan those two things together was the changing
6:07 pm
of the times at that point. the furniture you see in the room is all probably from catalogs through the huber brothers, attempting to be low in the 15th -- louis the 15th furniture. victorians had distinct symbolism in the way the rooms were constructed and we have their masculine spaces versus feminine spaces. this one was intended to be a feminine space. if you look at the ceiling is hand-painted i an artist whose other claim to fame was the harrison white house. harrison wasn't in the white house for very long. everything you see was original to the family. this room probably, matilda might have intended it to be the formal area where she would entertain guests a more serious manner. in reality, this room ended up being used to really just for
6:08 pm
major family events like funerals and weddings. was mentioned, this house cutting edge for its time in terms of technology. one of the technology innovations in the house where the electrical ears. the majority of the fixtures you see when you walk through the house are made to be both gas and electric. that's because this house was built when electricity was coming to washington, d.c. it may not have even gotten here yet. we know this house was fit with electricity before the white house even was. ite electricity did come in, was probably spotty and so they needed to rely on the gas at that point. eventually the heurich had the gas cut off throughout the house. the doorways and all of the rooms have pocket doors. that also kind of served as
6:09 pm
extra protection for fire. they had curtains on either side, that was just the style of the time. unfortunately, most of our curtains are in storage right now, but we still have a lot of the originals. parlor, another formal parlor, that would have been used as a more private space. butl, to entertain guests, maybe a little bit more intimate of a setting, and that's how matilda designed this room. you can see it has very similar furnishings to the front parlor. this room is probably the most intact room in terms of wall treatments. the stencil on the wall is original here, whereas in the front parlor, it had been redone by the historical society when they were your occupying the house from 1956 until 2003. as you can see, the way the setup is, they would have been wasing, having tea, or it
6:10 pm
intended to be that way. unfortunately this room was never really used for that purpose. matilda didn't really get to use this house. she died a few months after it was completed. christian was pretty sad, at this point he's getting close to 60, yes lost 2 wives, he didn't have any children, and he ends up marrying amelia, just like the first wife, who is actually the niece of his first wife. we call her amelia ii. this housenot use the way matilda intended it to be used. the houses we look at where both closed off for most of the time this house was lipton. so, the pocket doors were closed, the curtains were closed, the shades were closed. we have even been told that amelia ii used to keep cardboard
6:11 pm
in between the window and the shade and the exterior to protect the shades. they were really only used for formal occasions. what family did use the most was the front reception room, which i can show you right now. past hour going to go -- our friend, the suit of armor. this room was really like the casual space. you can get a feeling for the character, based on the fact that they chose to spend most of the time in this space. we have pictures of christian and amelia sitting at this table, looking at books and reading the paper, and christian in his later years used to take a nap on this couch treated full down like a futon. -- couch. it folded down like a futon. in the 1950's when amelia was in
6:12 pm
her final years, there was also a television in this room and she used to sit in here and watch tv. this room was her we have photos of them entertaining family, and it was really the space that was most commonly used. if you think about the house and this grand mansion with these formal parlors, most of that space is closed off because they would be too formal, and give this more of a feeling about who were, where they saw themselves in society, and they were just a solid, sort of family-oriented group of people. probably when matilda built this room, it would have been matilda -- intended to be a more masculine parlor, maybe christian's sitting room and reading room, but there's very little evidence that was ever how it was used. around -- look
6:13 pm
there's a really great ceiling mural that all these arts and industries painted on them, and the wall murals of figures of people that attrition would have value does ring important years to know -- valued as important figures to know. we have a wonderful fireplace in this room. it's probably the easiest to see the fire back in here, which is actually a work of art done by vetter, he -- eli does work in the smithsonian. and, there are 15 fireplaces in the house and we have evidence that none have ever been there. they're basically in their original condition because of that. this house when it was built had central heat.
6:14 pm
decorative.ry fireplaces, when we have them in usehomes today --the other of this room was probably the dining room. we will take a look at that right now. roomre we have another that the heurichs didn't use, it's a music room. the stores would have been closed. you can see to the doorways, great shot right here, and we have their 1901 steinway that was hand-painted that was rarely used. maybe for special occasions. the musicians' balcony, which is really three sides, was not ever used. it was probably intended for musicians to perform up there and sorted out of the way. we do today put musicians up there and have performances, and it sounds incredible.
6:15 pm
pretty amazing surround sound that you can hear throughout the house when you have musicians up there. again, this probably was rarely used. the piece of furniture that thisbody always asks about this little lounge loveseat thing. nobody really knows what it is. we actually have a professor who runs a class here and always asked him to tell us what it is. don't evenhe says, i know what it is. it's a mishmash of different styles and things, but it's a pretty great piece to talk about. now, we can talk a little bit about the dining room. this room was one of the spaces the family really did use the most. amelia heurich had all of the children, all of heurich's child ren, and there were four of them. chris junior,, and a-marguerite,
6:16 pm
anna, and carla. anna-marguerite died when she was 9 months old. carla, the youngest, lived to be 106 and she only died a few years ago. we have a lot of her oral history and information about the amalie her. -- family from her. we know the family had dinner in this room every night and when the kids were older and had their own families, they were always invited to come to dinner on any sunday, to have a big family dinner. we have a lot of photos of them sitting at this table, and instead of these giant dining room chairs, we have a lot of these chairs. .hey all sat on wood chairs this room really was the center of their family life, and if you look around, very german, stylistically. the two opposite
6:17 pm
ands of hand craftsmanship the sideboards and the fireplace, and also the possibly catalog order, machine made pieces, but then also if you look at the detail of the subject matter of the different pieces, we see there are very dramatic. -- germanic. we have griffins over on the side board, we have on the bottom, there are carvings of rabbits that have just been hunted and killed. on the wall we have this tapestry, although it was purchased in washington, d.c., the tavern scene of the time period that attrition heurich would have grown up in a tavern. as he sitting at the dining room table he is looking up and seeing this theme from his past, his own history. we have a lot of pieces in the rest of the house that sort of match these handcarved, germanic, very detailed pieces
6:18 pm
that were actually made in germany, in his home province. i will show you those a little bit later. we're going to go meet michael, who is an adopted member of the family. he is actually a doll that used to use, if there were going to be 13 people at the dining room table, which is an unlucky number, she would put michael as a guest. let's go meet him and i will tell you more about that wacky story. so there's michael. amelia, like a lot of people of her era, practiced spiritualism. it was something that swept through the nation. a bunch of mediums popped up and
6:19 pm
it was this thing, you would go talk to mediums and have them tell you what your deceased loved ones were saying, and we have in amelia and christian's papers than talking about christian going to meet a medium downtown. famous for a time great spiritualism for some people was a phase they went through but for amelia, it was something she held onto for her entire life. in her personal journals she rappings on hearing the wall, which she took as signs of good or bad news, and if the curtains blew in the breeze, she thought it was her daughter anna-marguerite coming to visit her. she really thought she could speak to spirits. thaty have been something
6:20 pm
was triggered by the death of her child. we're not quite sure, or if it was something she stuck with because of the grief she felt. michael used to sit at the table, to prevent the unlucky number 13 at her dining room. now on the second floor of the house, this was the floor the family lived in. this was for their bedrooms -- whether bedrooms, their most private quarters. a really great spot for us to look at all of the wonderful technology in this house. so, we can first see over here a couple different things. we have a central vacuum system that was put in a little bit later. i think we all wish we had something like that. the switches are of here. -- up here. this is a caldwell system. there were two different caldwell systems. there was the original system, and this is electric.
6:21 pm
there are a few of those throughout the house. set that we now use for our heating and air-conditioning system originally was put in here because the house was made probablyte and steel, the most important technology was what made it fireproof, but because it was made of concrete, it was pretty hard to imagine ever doing renovations on the interior. so heurich ended up putting this elevator shaft in with the idea that later on, he would actually and all the mechanisms for the elevator, but he just never did. that seems another piece of never created the technology of the house. if we go over here, i can show you very special mock sink. these were all things to make
6:22 pm
really the lives of the heurichs and their service more convenient, more efficient. this is a self flushing sink. would actually fill with water just like a toilet around the lip once you flushed it and then everything would go down the drain. pretty nice if you are not having to lug up a mop bucket and we lit around. -- wheel it around. you could do the cleanup in the hallway. we can go over here and look at the speaking tube system. there are three of these in the house. they actually still work because they were not electrified. they are just on copper tubes in the wall, and they go down to the kitchen. when you tuck in, you start by blowing into the tube, and that
6:23 pm
causes this whistle to blow in the kitchen out in the receiver end, and a little flap to come up. that's how you know which floor is calling you, then you can open up that tube down there and talk back and forth to the person. this is also another caldwell, just like the other -- call bell, just like the other electrical when i showed you. we have the radiator left over from the central heating system. it started off with a coal-fired, forced air heating system that goes throughout the entire house. the house also was -- had hot and cold water running through the whole thing, even after the first floor where the service lived. so we do know that the heurichs always had servants living with them in this house and also coming in from outside and helping them out. the first floor was the servants' floor. women of european descent lived up there, only women, and then
6:24 pm
they had a chauffeur who lived over the carriage house. they had a horse and carriage at the beginning and then it was converted into a garage for their car. that was mr. bender. we know they did have day servants who came in mainly from georgetown who were african-american and helped them also throughout the day. throughout amelia's diaries, we have heard talking about different people back and forth. no one stayed for extensive periods of time, and we don't really know how many worked precisely at any given time, but it is stuff we are researching right now as we get more documentation and more archival data. 's, we are in mrs. heurich boudoir, a little bit more intimate parlor from the first floor. it shows us this was her and this was her most intimate personal space, or
6:25 pm
it was at least designed to be that way. we know she would hang out here with the kids. we have a lot of the children's original dolls and some of their toys. this is where they would have been allowed to play as well. we know amelia did some crafts. she was very talented at sewing. we have some of her hand beaded pillows in this room as well. two room is one of the non-bedroom spaces on the second floor. this room there was also a children's playroom, where they took piano lessons and would have done homework and things like that. but all the bedrooms were on this floor, and it was really a family space. if you continue to go of the main staircase, from here you go to the third floor, which was the guest bedrooms. it was the same size as the floor with all the family
6:26 pm
bedrooms. it's sort of goes to show what they thought about having people here at the house, and their relationships with friends and family who would come visit. and, typical for the time, they would have people come and stay for months at a time. the interior designers, the huber brothers, stayed here for a few months. we know at least 30 or 40 years after they designed the house. they really kept up their relationships. they were very family-oriented great amelia had many brothers and sisters, and many of them did a lotown and they of their socializing with amelia's family. there's just a very intimate emily oriented family. other can watch this and american artifacts programs by visiting our website at >> tonight on "q&a" --
6:27 pm
>> barack is deeply committed to presenting his story, and i think that's different from history. >> part one of our interview. he talks about his book "rising star, the making of barack obama," which covers president obama's life up to him winning the presidency. political barack's aspirations and sense of destiny lead him to push sheila e. eger aside. during that time there was a well-known political figure in chicago. hugely respected man. who everyone in black chicago believed could never go higher, but then he was married to a white woman. so it is in the political tradition of black chicago in the late 1980's, in the early to0's, that for a black man
6:28 pm
aspire to represent black chicago, it is necessary to have a black spouse. >> tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span's "q&a." >> next, military historian discusses the u.s. military's relationship with china, beginning in the late 18th century and of to the korean and vietnam wars. the kansas city public library hosted this event rate it's about an hour and 15 minutes. really appreciate you all being here tonight, it's great to have you. us --urns out to be not not necessarily by design, but happenstance, our second look in as many nights into international politics and relations straight who was here last night for condoleezza rice? thank you guys for coming back.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on