San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
How German Americans built Residential Washington in the Gilded Age
Washington’s Victorian row houses are as characteristic of the city as New York’s brownstones or Baltimore’s white marble steps. Since 1791, when George Washington himself set the city’s height limit, DC’s highly regulated building code has led to the development of a style as distinctive as the neoclassicism of its monumental center. Just blocks away from that center, white stone and columns quickly give way to warm red brick, rough red stone, and Victorian ornament. Streets of low-rise row-houses and apartment buildings are graced with bays and rounded turrets topped with variously shaped spires. Residential Washington’s distinctive look came into being after the Civil War. The 1870s infrastructure spree by Boss Shepherd and German-born city engineer Adolf Cluss was followed by a housing boom that continued up to the crash of 1929. Many buildings built during this period were designed by German-born and trained architects. This tour starts with a 45-minute visit to the Heurich House Museum (1892-94), a beautifully preserved high Victorian house with many original furnishings. Built by German architect John Granville Meyers to meet owner Bavarian-born beer magnate Christian Heurich’s tastes, the house contains marvels of German-American cabinetmaking and boasts many new-fangled conveniences first seen at the Chicago World’s Fair. Led by local historian and tour guide Elizabeth Sherman, the tour will then continue through the Dupont Circle neighborhood to see creations of German residential architects Albert Beers, George Lewis Heins, Horace Trumbauer, and Cluss pupil T. F. Schneider - whose whimsical 1893 “residential skyscraper” the Cairo still causes a stir.
More about these and other German-American heritage sites in Washington: www.goethe.de/germanrootswashington
When & Where
The Goethe-Institut Washington organizes and supports cultural events that present German culture abroad and that further intercultural exchange.