tv Heurich Family and Brewmasters Castle CSPAN June 18, 2017 10:00pm-10:31pm EDT
our past is looking to know who we are as a people and we're trying to do that. thank you for that question. anything else? ok. well, thank you very much. i really appreciated your turning out today. it was great. [applause] >> don't forget there is a book signing in a few minutes one level up in the bookstore. you are watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend, on cspan3.
to join the conversation, like us on facebook. week, "american artifacts" takes you to museums and historic places to learn about american history. the heurich house was built by christian heurich, a german immigrant who started a successful brewing company in 1872. today we tour several rooms in that mansion, also called the brewmaster's castle, to learn about the heurich family. this is the first of a two-part series. >> this is the home of christian heurich, washington, d.c.'s most important brewer. he was a philanthropist, and he also was the largest employer during his lifetime. he lived to 102. when he died he was still 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 built up his brewing empire. this was built between 1892 and 1894. it was a technological innovation of its time. it had all of the latest and greatest in it. he lived here with his family 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 what is going on in congress. and our culture is focused on the smithsonians. they are histories that have been lost over time, people who built up the city. there have been people who have lived here for generations, and this is their story and ere they came from. we are going to show y aroun the house today. it is one of the most intact
victorian houses in the country. it has all of the original furnishings and fixtures, one-of-a-kind objects, original family archives, and they help us tell the story in a deep, meaningful way. heurich came from very little. he was born in a small town to the south of bavaria in germany, before germany really was a country. he grew up with parents who ran a tavern. 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 butcher trade. those are things that went together. he actually was apprenticed around europe in multiple
different breweries, doing a wandering apprenticeship, until he finally decided to come to america after the civil war. he moved to baltimore, where his sister had moved some years before, and decided to sort of more, goingttle bit out on a ship with her sister's husband, and was a captain. and then 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., in 1872. he did that by purchasing a failing brewery just a block south of here. when he purchased that brewery, pretty soon afterwards, schnell died, and his widow ended up marrying christian and helping him build the brewery into the successful business. he was a pretty brilliant
marketer, he introduced lager beer. changed the brewery over from wheat beer, and emilia heurich really helped him. unfortunately 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 brewery. of his she was born in germany. married, theymarried, 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 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 people -- a lot of people who had made it in the gold rush built houses on the circle, and the heurichs, they had money, 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 see here today is original from 1894 and was still here in 1956. if you can sort of imagine that trajectory. matilda and christian worked with an interior design firm that were based out of new york
and they were also german. at that time, as we are approaching the turn-of-the-century, homes were still being built with old-fashioned craftsmanship, but there was 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 that were local to d.c. but then you can 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 putting those two things together was the changing of the times at that point. the furniture you see in the rooms is all probably from
catalogs through the huber brothers, maybe higher end, attempting to be louis the 15th furniture. victorians had distinct symbolism in the way the rooms were constructed and we have very masculine spaces and very feminine spaces. this one was intended to be a feminine space. if you look at the ceiling, it is hand painted by 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 in a more serious manner. in reality, this room ended up being used to really just for major family events like funerals and weddings. as i mentioned, this house was cutting edge for its time in terms of technology.
one of the technology innovations in the house were .he electoral 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. especially this neighborhood. it may not have even gotten here yet. we know this house was fit with electricity before the white house even was. once electricity did come in, it was probably spotty and so they needed to rely on the gas at that point. eventually, the heurichs had the gas cut off throughout the house. the doorways in all of the rooms have pocket doors. that also kind of served as 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. this is another parlor, another formal parlor, that would have been used as a more private space. still, to entertain guests, but 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 here occupying the house from 1956 until 2003. as you can see, the way the setup is, they would have been sitting, having tea, or it was intended to be that way. unfortunately this room was never really used for that purpose. sadly, 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 is getting close to 60. he had lost two wives. he didn't have any children, and he ends up marrying amelia, just like the first wife, the same name, who is actually the niece of his first wife. we call her amelia ii. amelia did not use this house the way matilda probably intended it to be used. the houses we look at where both at wereooms we looked both closed off for most of the time this house was lipton. -- lived in. 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 in between the window and the shade and the exterior to protect the shades. she was pretty serious about keeping these rooms closed and
not using them. again they were really only used , for formal occasions. what space the family did use the most was the front reception room, which i can show you right now. and we are going to go past hour -- our friend, the suit of armor. this room was really like the casual space. you can get a feeling for the basedter of the heurichs 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 this couch. it folded down sort of like a futon. in the 1950's when amelia was in her final years, there was also a television in this room and she used to sit in here and watch tv.
this room was where 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 considered too formal. it gives us more of a feeling about who the heurichs 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 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. but we can look around -- there's a really great ceiling mural that has all these arts and industries painted on them, have figuresmurals
of people that christian would have valued as important figures to know. that was very victorian having these symbols around you demonstrating your personality and what you thought was important to your visitors. 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 eli vetter, he does work in the smithsonian. i think the original casting of this is in the smithsonian. there are 15 fireplaces in the house and we have evidence that none have ever been lit. they're basically in their original condition because of that. this house when it was built had central heat. there would not have been a reason to like the fireplace. they were very decorative. the way most of us take up fireplaces when we have them in our homes today. the other space the family used
most in this house was probably the dining room. we will take a look at that right now. so here we have another room that the heurichs didn't use, it is the music room. again, these doors would have been closed like the front parlor. you can see through the doorway, a 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 open on three sides was really , not ever used. it was probably intended for musicians to perform up there and sort of the out of the way. we do today put musicians up there and have performances, and it sounds incredible. it is 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
everybody always asks about this -- is this little lounge loveseat thing. we don't really know what to call it. nobody really knows what it is. we have some decorative arts scholars stumped. we actually have a professor who brings a class here and always asks them to tell us what it is. at the end he says, i don't even know what it is. it's a mishmash of different styles and things, but it's a pretty great piece to talk about. so 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 children, and there were four of them. chris junior,, and a-marguerite, aneta and carla. ,unfortunately anna-marguerite , died when she was 9 months old.
three of them lived to adulthood. carla, the youngest, lived to be 106 and she only died a few years ago. we have a lot of her oral histy and information about the family from her. we know from her that 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. they all sat on bentwood chairs. and amelia and christian at this end of the table. this room really was the center of their family life, and if you look around, it is very german, stylistically. it still has the two opposite ideas of hand craftsmanship and in the sideboards and the fireplace, but also the possibly
catalog order, machine made detail pieces. but then also if you look at the detail of the subject matter of the different pieces, we see they are very germanic. we have scenes from war. 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. p sleeves carved into a lot of pieces. on the wall we have this tapestry, although it was purchased in washington, d.c., depicts a tavern scene of the time that christian 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 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 amelia 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. at the 14th seat 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 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 them talking about christian going to meet a medium downtown. she was very famous for a time -- her time. 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 talked about hearing rappings on 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 believed she could speak to spirits her entire life. it may have been something that 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. but it is why 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 is where their bedrooms weretheir most private quarters. it is actually 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 up here. below, this is a call bell system. there were two different call bell systems. there was the original system, and this is electric. there are a few of those throughout the house. this closet that we now use for our heating and air-conditioning
system originally was put in here because the house was made of concrete and steel, probably 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 put a car and all the mechanisms for the elevator, but he just never did. that is another piece of never created technology of the house. if we go over here, i can show you very special mock sink. these were all things to make really the lives of the heurichs and their servants more convenient, more efficient. this is a self flushing sink.
this 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 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 talk in, you start by blowing into the tube, and that 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 call bell, just like the other electrical one i showed you knew the elevator closet to 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 up to the first floor where the servants 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 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 georgewn who were africaamerican and helped them also throughout the day. throughout amelia's diaries, we have her 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. so, we are in mrs. heurich's boudoir, a little bit more intimate parlor from the first floor. it shows us this was her personal space, and this was her most intimate personal space, or 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. this room is one of the two non-bedroom spaces on the second floor. there was this room and 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 bedrooms. it 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. even the interior designers, the huber brothers, stayed here for a few months. we know at least 30 or 40 year after they designed the house. they really kept up their relationships. they were very family-oriented . amelia had many brothers and sisters, and many of them lived in town and they did a lot of their socializing with amelia's family. there's just a very intimate family-oriented family. >> you can watch this and other american artifacts programs by visiting our website at c-span.org/history. >> american history tv is on cspan3 every weekend featuring films,tours, archival
programs on the presidency, civil war, and more. here's a clip from a recent program. >> another kind of disease is loose in the land. attacking all forms of dissent. vigilantes operating in the name of patriotism pursue their own blacklist of enemies. draft dodgers and slackers. pacifists who can do more. labor groups who insist on voicing discontent. the foreign-born. wilson's peers of a brutalized, conformist society loom over the nation. the government asked to take the will out of the hands of the mob. the government seeks and gets tough new laws suppressing read him of speech and opinion. >> ♪
>> one controversial labor group is violently suppressed by mob and government. in arizona, 1200 members are expelled to an army post in new mexico for their preakness -- preaching and practice of strikes with anarchist overtones. offices are raided by federal agents, their officers arrested, including big bill haywood, their leading figure. the socialist party leader who got nearly one million votes for president in 1912 is arrested for a speech considered abstract of to the war effort and his to the warbstructive effort and later sentenced to 10 years in jail.
wilson has crushed the antiwar spirit and appeased the extremists. >> you can watch this and other american history programs on our website where all of our video is archived. c-span.org/history. >> next, the military historian discusses the u.s. military's relationship with china beginning in the late 18th century up to the korean and vietnam wars. the kansas city public library hosted this event. it's about an hour and 15 minutes. >> i am with the library's public affairs department and really appreciate you all being here tonight. it's great to have you. what turns out to not necessarily be by design, but by happenstance our second look in , as many nights into international politics and relations. who was here last night for condoleezza rice?