August Outing: A Visit to Schifferstadt

 In August, on a day of torrential rains, some CGC members visited  Schifferstadt, the historic German architectural museum in Frederick , to enhance our   historic preservation knowledge.  Some were curious, others could claim German heritage and I have a  1780’s modest farmhouse built by Swiss immigrants with some remaining architectural elements I wanted to compare to Schifferstadt.

Unlike other historical houses, Schifferstadt is mostly bare of furnishings other than a few essential pieces. It forces you to look at the building structure and construction materials of the house itself from room to room. The tour is led by a costumed docent and begins in a gathering room where visitors are given an overview.

 Quick recap:
The farmland was purchased in 1746 by the Joseph Bruner family who were from “Schifferstadt” in SW Palatine Germany.  His youngest son, Elias, purchased the farm from Joseph and built a much more substantial stone structure in 1758. This was part of the French and Indian War period, so the massive construction may have served as a fortress for protection of the family and neighbors when the government refused to send militia to protect settlers.  The docent also surmised that it may have been used for religious meetings. The sandstone used to build the house came from a local quarry near Walkersville, building with stone also indicated the social standing of the next generation and their stability.

Of note are the many arches, a five plate German stove and decorative forged hardware designs particular to German blacksmiths. Sadly, my camera battery died just as we were descending to the cellar which had a fascinating vaulted area used for preservation purposes and a huge boulder that the house  incorporated within, rather than removed. Outdoors was a garden set up in traditional German 4 square style with pathways. It was a bit worse for wear in needing weeding and upkeep, but had representative herb plantings and fruiting trees and shrubs.  Despite the pouring rain, we did manage to walk about in it and look closely.

The following pictures are closeups of architectural items we saw with some commentary. (Click to enlarge and use arrows to progress)

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