History

LiveItOutPhotography_HeurichHouse

Exterior of Heurich House Museum from New Hampshire Ave NW

 

The Heurich House Museum preserves the legacy of Christian Heurich and enriches the cultural life of Washington, DC.

 

At the turn of the 20th century, Dupont Circle and its grand avenues became a “place of wealth and fashion” — the center for great mansions and castles. Only a few of those homes have survived until today, and none are as intact as the Heurich House Museum.

 

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Bierstube, or beer room, of the Heurich House Museum, original to 1892-94

The mansion was built from 1892-94 by German immigrant, local brewer and philanthropist Christian Heurich (1842-1945). He and his family lived in their Dupont Circle home from its completion in 1894 until his wife’s death in 1956. The mansion is notable for its fireproof construction, original interiors, and family collections.

 

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Heurich family in the home’s Conservatory, ca. 1910. From left to right: Christian, Jr. (1901-1978), Amelia (1866-1956), Karla (1907-2013), Christian (1842-1945), Anita (1905-1986).

The house incorporated the most modern technology of its time. Features include full indoor plumbing, circulating hot water heat, central vacuum system, venting skylight, elevator shaft, pneumatic and electric communication systems, and combination gas and electric lighting fixtures. To ensure the home’s safety, it was built out of reinforced steel and concrete and is completely fireproof. It is believed that none of its 15 fireplaces has ever been used.

 

Entry hall and front staircase of the Heurich House Museum

The interior of the house is a masterpiece of craftsmanship and design as conceived by the design firm The Huber Bros. The 31-rooms are replete with hand-carved wood, fireplaces with individually carved mantles and cast bronze fire backs, hand-painted ceiling canvases and original turn-of-the-century Heurich family collections.

 

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Musicians’ Balcony & Music Room of the Heurich House Museum

Christian Heurich was a self-made businessman who immigrated from Germany to America in 1866 with $200. Recognized as Washington DC’s most successful brewer, he ran the Chr. Heurich Brewing Co., the city’s longest-operating brewery (1872-1956). He was the District’s second largest landowner and largest non-governmental employer. As the active manager of the company at his death at the age of 102, he was also the world’s oldest brewer. The Chr. Heurich Brewing Co., located along the Potomac River in Foggy Bottom, was torn down in 1962 for the building of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

 

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Chr. Heurich Brewing Co. located in Foggy Bottom, 1895-1956

Following Amelia Heurich’s death in 1956, the home at 1307 New Hampshire Ave NW was willed to the Historical Society of Washington, DC (formerly the Columbia Historical Society). The building served as their headquarters from 1956 until 2003, when they relocated to the Carnegie Library in Mt. Vernon Square. Two Heurich grandchildren then purchased the home and helped establish the non-profit Heurich House Foundation that operates the museum today. Today, visitors can tour the museum, attend public programs, host a private event and enjoy Castle Garden.

 

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Kitchen of the Heurich House Museum with appliances ca. 1939.