Flash Glass Restoration

As a house museum’s building ages, it is inevitable that some components will require conservation or restoration, but with care and vigilance, these problems can often be predicted and mitigated. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

One day in late May 2018, the museum had to face one such instance. Vandals threw DSC_3535some rocks at the museum’s Conservatory, breaking one of the original (c. 1894) panes of red flash glass. Some shards of the glass fell from the window out into the street below, and the rocks were found lying in the sidewalk nearby with telltale bits of green paint from where they had struck the side of the building. While we do not know why someone would have done this, we could only move forward to figure out how to fix it and use this as a learning opportunity.

In order to protect the window from further damage, we first placed a low-tack tape over the area with the most breakage on the window to prevent any more shards from shifting or falling. Then, we removed the window sash and Copy of IMG_0865disconnected it from its copper ribbon counterbalance system. Since the windows are so large and heavy, the counterbalance system – which employs a pulley, a weight, and a chain or cord to help bear the weight of the window – makes it easier to open and close. While a metal chain or rope would have traditionally been employed, our Conservatory windows feature the uncommon use of a copper ribbon. The Heurich family used a chain pulley system on most of their windows, including two of the Conservatory windows that were added in the 1920s, so it is a mystery why the copper ribbon was used in the original Conservatory windows. Given the sheer size and weight of the window sashes, the counterweights had to be carefully secured before we detached them from the window, in order to prevent the weights from crashing to the ground upon being removed from the window sash.

We then completely removed the upper window sash with the broken pane from the window well, and sealed its open space from the elements temporarily with a sheet of plexiglass. Little did we know, this “temporary” fix would remain in place for a little over a year.

With the window sash out, we next examined the damage to determine if DSC_3559the glass could be stabilized and restored. Unfortunately, the impact of the rocks had shattered some pieces completely, and the strain on the glass due to its size had caused the window to crack all the way through, edge to edge. We sought several expert opinions, and in the end, it was unanimous: it would not be possible to fix the glass with any permanence.

With the original glass no longer viable, we sought to replace the glass with the most historically accurate reproduction possible. The outlook at first seemed grim – there were only a handful of resalers in the world that sold the same type of glass, and even fewer that manufactured it. This is due to the fact that the original Conservatory windows are made with a technique called flash or flashed glass.

Shards of red flash glass

What this means is that instead of the red coloring being throughout the whole sheet of glass, the color is achieved by mouthblowing a thin coating of red colored glass on top of a base of clear glass. The “flash” process involves the molten red glass being picked up by the glassblower, then having the clear base glass added and blown together evenly into a cylinder and eventually cut into a sheet. This technique requires a tremendous amount of skill and experience. Historically, this was a cheaper way to produce colored glass, particularly red glass, as the clear base was less expensive than the red pigment. The flash glass technique also allowed for the glass to be more translucent, making it a more suitable choice for a colored window. 

Today, only two main commercial manufacturers in the world still employ this technique: Lamberts/Bendheim and Verrerie Saint-Just/Saint-Gobain. Both manufacturers still produce large sheets of red flash glass up to 100cm. The only problem now was that our window was 110cm at its widest point. It was not a matter of will, but rather a matter of physical ability and expertise of the glassblower, and to our relief, Saint-Just was willing to try.

IMG_8238 (1)After providing them a sample fragment of our glass to match the color exactly (lucky for us it matched their stock medium Red perfectly) and a template for size, all we could do was wait while they made a few test batches.

Ultimately they were successful, and after almost exactly one year from the incident, our replacement glass was finally on its way to the museum, all the way from France.

While the glass was being produced, the museum’s DSC_8316Preservation Manager, Dan Rudie, removed the broken glass from the window sash on site and primed the window so it would be ready for the new glass.

Once the glass arrived, we inspected the sheet for any potential damage in transit, then, finding none, carefully installed it into the historic window sash. At long last, on the first sunny day in July, the window sash with its new red flash glass was put back in its proper place.

Next time you visit us, make sure to take a look at our Conservatory and admire the skill and hard work of Saint-Just and see if you can even tell which window sash their glass is in!


For more information on Saint-Just, visit their website https://www.saint-gobain.com/en/saint-gobain-stories/discover-magic-saint-just-blown-glass

For more information on the flash glass process, visit https://www.lamberts.de/en/products/flashed-glass/


Sports and Advertising at the Chr. Heurich Brewing Co.

Old Georgetown Beer Baseball Coaster
Baseball coasters from the Chr. Heurich Brewing Co.

Spring is finally upon us, and as you get ready to see the Washington Nationals play some baseball, imagine yourself sitting in the stands, watching on the big screen at a local bar, or catching the game in the comfort of your own home. Does the image you have conjured up include a cold, fresh beer?

If so, then this is exactly the scenario that the Chr. Heurich Brewing Co. was trying to create when they became the sponsor of the Washington Senators.  Christian Heurich Jr. saw sports as the perfect place to advertise the local brews to the world. In an interview with Modern Brewer in 1936, Christian Jr. said that “people who drink beer are mostly sports wise.”11 His plan to build on the relationship between sports and beer would continue for decades and shape the way Washingtonians experienced their city.

The Chr. Heurich Brewing Co. started creating a sports marketing program in 1933 with their financial support of local athletic teams. Groups ranging from soccer and bowling to basketball and baseball were mobile marketing for the brewery.11 Players’ jerseys featured references to beer, including team names like the Heurich Brewers, and the event programs often included ads for Heurich beer. In 1933, Christian Jr., seeing the cost benefit of keeping their sponsored teams closer to the DC area, built a basketball gymnasium above their Foggy Bottom brewery and began hosting competitive games there, bringing outside teams in for a match.11

After earning success with their sponsored teams, many of which featured brewery employees as athletes, the company expanded to advertise in local media including the back cover of Flash Magazine, a DC-based news picture magazine that featured prominent African Americans of the time. Their ad in June of 1937 featured a depiction of Eugene Sandow, a weight lifter, whose record, along with Senate Beer, “could hold its head high in any company.”2 Other advertising included local events such as a roller derby at Riverside Stadium, located in Foggy Bottom, and The Washington Post’s Celebrity Golf Tournament.3, 8

Flash Weekly Newspicture Magazine Cover
Senate Beer advertisement on Flash Weekly Newspicture Magazine

Eventually the Chr. Heurich Brewing Co. saw the need to expand their sports marketing efforts and gained rights to sponsor the Washington Senators TV and radio broadcasts through partner stations WWDC and WTTG.5, 11 The brewery began creating signs, including a metal Senators scoreboard, baseball shaped beer coasters, and bumper stickers. 6, 4, 12 Their ads, in print, radio, and TV, highlighted the ability for fans to sit and watch, or listen to, the Senators games in the comfort of their own home with an Old Georgetown beer in hand. 1 A 1951 advertisement also invited people to ask a local Old Georgetown dealer for a wallet-sized game and TV broadcast schedule for the Senators’ season. 7

Old Georgetown Score Board
A metal baseball scoreboard advertising Old Georgetown Beer.

While enjoying a Senators game with a cold Heurich brew was possible from home or at a local bar, it was not an option at the Senators’ home stadium itself. Griffith Stadium, now the site of the Howard University Hospital, was a dry stadium, thanks to the efforts of Senators owner Clark Griffith. After his death in 1956, the stadium began to allow alcohol sales on-site. 9 Unfortunately, it was too late for visitors to enjoy a cold Old Georgetown or Senate Beer as the Chr. Heurich Brewery had officially shut its doors earlier that year. 12

After several more seasons, the Washington Senators would go on to relocate and become the Minnesota Twins. In 2005, Washington, DC finally got the team we know today. The new Washington baseball team decided to forego the former Senators nickname in favor of the Nationals. While Clark Griffith’s team had several different names, the franchise was officially the Nationals, but fans and sponsors alike used the names Senators, Nats, and even the Griffmen as unofficial monikers for the team. 10

Today beer and sports are ubiquitous. From commercials and radio programs to lines of taps and cans at sporting events around the country, beer has made its mark on the sporting world and is unlikely to stop anytime soon. In Washington, DC, Christian Heurich Jr. led the way with his sports marketing program and developed a strong relationship between beer and athletics. So, the next time you visit Nationals Park, bypass the macro brew lines and instead visit District Drafts where you can grab a locally made beer in honor of the Chr. Heurich Brewing Co and the decades they spent honoring the world of sports.

HOME/BREWED exhibit at the Heurich House Museum.

To learn more about the Chr. Heurich Brewing Co. visit the Heurich House Museum’s exhibit HOME/BREWED.


1. Benbow, Mark Elliott. The Nation’s Capital Brewmaster: Christian Heurich and His Brewery 1842-1956. Jefferson, NC:          McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers, 2017.
2. Heurich Brewing Co. Advertisement. Flash Weekly Newspicture Magazine, June 1937, back cover.
3. Heurich Brewing Co. Advertisement. Official Program Roller Derby, Date Unknown, back cover.
4. Heurich Brewing Co. Advertisement. Old Georgetown Beer Baseball Coaster, Date Unknown, coaster.
5. Heurich Brewing Co. Advertisement. Old Georgetown Beer Presents Washington Senators, Date Unknown, bus sign.
6. Heurich Brewing Co. Advertisement. Old Georgetown score board, Date Unknown, sign.
7. Heurich Brewing Co. Advertisement. Opening Game on radio and on television, 1951, pamphlet.
8. Heurich Brewing Co. Advertisement. Program National Celebrities Golf Tournament and Show, Date Unknown, back          cover.
9. Hornbaker, Mark. “Washington Nationals Baseball Club was granted a ‘Class D’ license to sell beer at Griffith Stadium.” DCBaseballHistory.com.   Accessed March 12, 2019. https://dcbaseballhistory.com/2018/08/washington-nationals-baseball-club-was-granted-a-class-d-license-to-sell-beer-at-griffith-stadium/.
10. Kelly, John. “Senators? Nationals? Nats? What’s in a name?” The Washington Post. October 6, 2012. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/senators-nationals-nats-whats-in-a-name/2012/10/05/75e95352-0ef9-11e2-bd1a-b868e65d57eb_story.html?utm_term=.30cad499cc6d.
11. Modern Brewer from the Heurich House Museum research archives. “Heurich, Champion of Sports.” 1936-1937.
12. Peck, Garrett. Capital Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in Washington, D.C. Charleston, SC: American Palate, 2014.


Restoration, Preservation, and Aging with Grace

As the Heurich House mansion approaches its 125th anniversary, inevitably some things in the house are beginning to show their age. While there are many different schools of thought as to what degree things in museums and historic homes should be restored or conserved, we at the Heurich House believe that it is okay if things don’t look brand new. Evidence of age throughout the house helps tell the story of what has happened here over the past 124 years.

 A drainage backup in the Boudoir in 2004 damaged a portion of the ceiling, revealing the iron beam and concrete construction of the mansion

As you walk through the house, you may notice chips in the plaster, or damage to the ceiling of Amelia’s “Boudoir,” but rather than being signs of neglect or deterioration, these elements have been stabilized and deliberately left as is to help us tell the story of the house itself, as well as that of the family that lived in it for only 62 of its 124 years.

While we practice preventive conservation techniques (like monitoring environmental conditions, and maintaining regular maintenance routines) to help keep the house in the condition it is now, there are some instances where additional conservation or restoration is needed to help stabilize actively deteriorating elements.

Recently, we undertook one such restoration project, when we hired the internationally recognized, locally-based, Gold Leaf Studios led by William Adair, to restore the gilded address numbers over our front door.

DSC_3673While this type of restoration project is outside of our normal preservation philosophy, the numbers required attention as they were unstable and had deteriorated to the point where they had completely lost their drop shadows and large portions of the gilding from each number. What made the numbers a candidate for restoration (returning them to their original look), and not just conservation (stabilizing them in their current state), was that they had deteriorated over the years to the point that they were difficult to read from the street, hindering wayfinding for visitors.

In order to preserve the historic integrity of the existing numbers, however, the team at Gold Leaf Studios worked with us to preserve the old numbers and restore them by hand instead of the much simpler process of removing the existing numbers, and starting from scratch with a computer generated stencil. In order to retain the remaining original gilding, they painstakingly outlined the original shape of the numbers based on traces of gilding left on the window, and filled in the missing bits of gold leaf and black Japan paint on top of the existing numbers.

Gold Leaf Studios Associate Conservator Chay Phung preparing the stencil by hand

The technique used for this kind of gilding is called églomisé, which is a process in which the gilding is applied to the reverse of the glass. After they set the stencil, defining the original outlines of each number, they cleaned the surface, prepped it with a gelatin size, and applied the new gold leaf. They then set the gold leaf with an acrylic coating and left it to dry overnight.

Gold Leaf drying before application of the black Japan paint

Once dry, they added a layer of quick-drying black Japan paint by hand to protect the gilding, removed the stencil, and touched up any imperfections in the gilding.

While the process could have finished here, the experts from Gold Leaf Studios had found evidence of an old drop shadow that once highlighted the numbers, but had deteriorated away at a much quicker rate than the areas that had gilding.

To add the drop shadow, they created another stencil, and hand painted the shadow directly onto the glass. As the Japan paint is quick drying, the stencil needs to be removed while the paint is still wet in order to get a clean line, so it was only a matter of minutes until our numbers looked as crisp as they would have back in 1894. If you look closely, however, you can still see the outline of the original gilding, which is now protected in place by the new layer of gilding and Japan paint.


The finished product

Dining with Dolls



Michael doll, Heurich House Museum Collection

One of the objects most asked about by museum visitors is Michael, a hand-stitched doll that was purchased by the Heurich family around 1913. On most days, Michael lives on a stand under a cloche in front of the mirror on the dining room’s breakfront. To modern sensibilities, seeing an old doll in 100-year old clothing in a dining room is a bit creepy, and visitors often make comments to that effect. Delving deeper into Michael’s history may help 21st century visitors empathize with its owner, Amelia Heurich, and explain our own uneasiness with old dolls.

Born in Germany, Michael was crafted by now world-renowned doll-maker, Käthe Kruse. Kruse began making prototypes of dolls in 1905 for her daughter Maria after recognizing that none of the dolls in the stores were warm and cuddly, but rather made of cold porcelain. Having been asked to display some of her dolls in an exhibition in Berlin, Kruse soon became very famous. A sales representative from FAO Schwarz toy store in New York noticed her talent, in 1911 the store placed an order for 100 dolls, and soon thereafter they ordered another 500. While Michael is not one of the FAO Schwarz series dolls, he is one of the original dolls from the Kruse company, aptly named “Doll I” and was likely created in 1913.  The Heurich family traveled extensively throughout Germany during the summer of 1913, including Berlin.The three children, Christian Jr (age 12), Anita (8) and Karla (6) would have accompanied their parents and might have played with Michael during their trip, where they most likely purchased the doll.

The Kathe Kruse signature on Michael’s foot.

It is not clear whether the Heurichs purchased the doll for their children, but we do know that Amelia adopted it as her own. According to family oral history, Sunday dinner in Christian and Amelia’s dining room was was always open to their extended family. As the three children grew up and had their own families, the number potential dinner guests also grew.

If on a particular Sunday, the number of guests to appear at dinner happened to be thirteen, an unlucky number, Amelia used Michael as the cure, setting a fourteenth place and seating him at the table with the other guests.

Heurich Family dinner ca.1945-56.  Amelia Heurich at the far left.  From Amelia clockwise: Amy Eckles, Chippy King, Geoffrey, Anita and Charles Eckles, Christian Heurich Jr, Connie Heurich, Jan King and Stanley Eckles. Michael not pictured.

Why does the idea of dining with a doll feel so creepy to our 21st century sensibilities? Perhaps it’s the superstition at the heart of the story that makes us feel so ill-at-ease.

Superstitions during the Victorian period were abundant, among these was triskaidekaphobia, fear of the number 13. As with most beliefs that we currently view as superstition, the fear of 13 has origins older than the Victorian period, and is founded in stories  from various cultures and religions: the 13th person to arrive at the Last Supper was Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus; Norse folklore holds that a 13th god who appeared at a dinner party of 12, Loki, unleashed evil and chaos into the world. These beliefs didn’t end when the Victorian era did. Many modern buildings still omit the 13th floor.  People often “knock on wood” to avoid something bad happening in the future. Opening an umbrella indoors is thought to be a poor choice. Walking under an open ladder is obviously something to be avoided. The fact that many modern people continue to adopt superstitious behaviors should help us understand the way Amelia used Michael at dinner. At the minimum, understanding the roots of superstition should help us empathize with her.

Superstition itself is thought to be a way for anxious people to order their worlds. According to WebMD, “[a]lthough personality variables are not a strong factor in developing superstition, there is some evidence that if you are more anxious than the average person you’re slightly more likely to be superstitious.”

Amelia Heurich was certainly a person that had anxious tendencies, as noted several times in her journal:

“CH, Jr., learned he did not pass some courses and was being dropped from rolls: Anita had to take extra lesson to pass at Goucher; I have been worrying and crying all day.  I always have something to worry about.” – July 9, 1920

“Remained home all day worrying as usual.  They began to put our new fountain together.  I think this will make quite an improvement.”  – Mary 8, 1922

“I have to worry about Karla.  She does not want any clothes.” -June 24, 1922

“I worry too much about everything.  Chr. Jr. worries me so much as does also Karla.  Chr. is now receiving clerk at the savings Dept.” – July 7, 1924

Jan Evans, one of Christian and Amelia’s grandchildren recently equated her grandmother’s superstition with her need for order: “Oh yes we always had Michael…Grandmother was very superstitious! [For example, y]ou don’t put a hat on a bed…you just don’t do that.”

Anna Marguerite, 4 months and 10 days old,  Heurich House Museum Collection

Christian and Amelia Heurich were also interested in Spiritualism, another common practice during the Victorian period, and Amelia believed she could communicate with spirits for her entire adult life. The roots of Amelia’s Spiritualism and superstitious beliefs may lie in tragedy. The Heurichs’ first-born daughter, Anna Marguerite, died as an infant of unknown causes. In compiling a family history, Peter Keyser said of his Aunt Amelia:

She believed in spiritualism.  Spiritualism was at its peak in the late 19th century and is still firmly believed in by some.  When the Little Flower, Fiorello LaGuardia, was a congressman…he came to the house for séances.  At the time he was a Republican and was welcome.  When Mom and I visited, if the woodwork in the sitting room cracked, as it occasionally does in every house, or if a drapery or portier rustled, Aunt Amelia might say “’that was little Anna Marguerite.’

Perhaps subscribing to fear of unknown consequences by allowing thirteen people at dinner or not acknowledging the spirits of their lost daughter led Amelia to become the superstitious and anxious person she seemed to be.  With context, it’s clear Amelia’s reasoning and reactions to certain unnatural things were the way she coped with a world she had little control of and the tragedies that she suffered.

Heurich’s Pure Beer

In the 19th century, a common marketing tactic among American breweries was to advertise their beer  as ‘pure,’ meaning that their beer did not contain harmful or undesirable additives, such as salicylic acid or bicarbonate of soda.  The Chr. Heurich Brewing Co. advertised its beer as pure, but for Heurich, the claims of purity were not just an advertising trope. What set Heurich apart from others in the brewing industry was that the brewery had medals and awards to back up its claims of purity.

The year 1900 was one of great excitement for people across the world.  The Exposition Universelle in Paris recognized achievements in arts and technological innovation, and it was the first place that the brewery would receive accolades for the quality of its beer.   The Chr. Heurich Brewery Co. won the silver medal for purity and clarity for its Senate and Maerzen beers.  Business was good, and Heurich would continue to gain international recognition for the purity of his beers.


HSW cert_1900 Paris
Heurich’s 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle Silver Medal Certificate   Credit: MS0537, courtesy Historical Society of Washington, D.C., http://www.DCHistory.org


Shortly following the awards from the 1900 Exposition in Paris, the brewery received more good news regarding the substance and purity of its beers. On February 6, 1901, the Bureau of Chemistry, which was then headed by Dr. Harvey W. Wiley, released a study on the Adulteration of Food Products (beer was frequently categorized under “Food Stuffs”).The study found Heurich’s beer to be absolutely pure and free from harmful elements.  This report was not initially released to the public, but Heurich made an appeal to Congress and the results were later released. As a result, Heurich’s ‘Pure Beer’ became even more well-respected by the community.   Of course, this didn’t stop other competitors from advertising their beer as pure, as seen below.

22 Sept 1900 Ad for pure beer.png

Heurich’s Maerzen and Senate were widely touted as being of the highest purity and quality; they were even prescribed by doctors for any and all kinds of ailments. The popularity of his beers grew so quickly, that Heurich had to limit what establishments sold his beer.  Saloons were provided with plaques with the brewery or beer name to prove that they sold a legitimate Heurich product, but that didn’t stop some saloon owners from trying to cheat the system.

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June 3, 1901 Washington Evening Star Newspaper Clipping, Courtesy of the DC Public Library


In 1905, Heurich learned that his Maerzen and Senate beers had been awarded the gold medal at the Exposition Universelle et Internationale de Leige, Belgium.  Again, the brewery used this award to further promote the purity and and excellence of its beer by taking out a full page ad in The Washington Post.

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The Chr. Heurich Brewing Co. would continue to tout their various international awards and the purity of their beer on their labels and in advertising until the brewery closed in 1956.  It wasn’t until June 30, 1906 that the Pure Food and Drug Act was signed into law, which mandated the regulation and inspection of products, such as beer. Heurich’s Senate and Maerzen were among the most well-known beers the brewery produced and were a large part of the 19th and 20th century culture in Washington, D.C.

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The 1905 Exposition Universelle in Belgium commemorated the 75th anniversary of independence from the Kingdom of the Netherlands and celebrated 40 years of King Leopold II’s reign.  This year for Belgian National Day, which celebrates these events and takes place every July 21, the Heurich House Museum is teaming up with Greg Engert of The Sovereign (a Belgian beer-hall) and will be serving Belgian beers at our monthly History and Hops.

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Heurich’s 1905 Exposition Universelle Liege Gold Medal Certificate. Credit: MS0537, courtesy Historical Society of Washington, D.C., http://www.DCHistory.org

Collections Condition Reports


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The great group of registrars and collections managers who spent the day at the Heurich House  Museum, in front of the Grant Desk! All photos credit: Jason A. Smith


May and June have been busy months at the Heurich House Museum. At the end of May, the  American Alliance of Museums Annual Conference (AAM) was hosted in Washington, D.C. In January 2016, the museum was selected to be a candidate for the Registrars Reinforcement Crew (RRC) annual service project.  Started in 2007, this project is an annual event where professionals who are members of the Registrars Committee of the American Alliance of Museums (RC-AAM) donate their time to smaller institutions to work on a variety of projects the day before the official AAM conference begins.  Since it’s formation, the RRC has served 28 institutions, and over 150 professionals have volunteered their time to these service projects. Past projects that the RRC has worked on include: accessioning collections items, condition reporting, rehousing objects, photographing and inventory.  RRC service projects are made possible by generous sponsors and partners who donate the funds and materials necessary; this year’s sponsors and partners were Methods and Materials, Inc, TCI-Transportation Consultants InternationalTCI-Transportation Consultants International, Terry Dowd, LLC and Masterpak.

The Heurich House Museum applied for a grant from the RRC to request help with examining objects and completing condition reports on pieces in our collection.  The museum hasn’t completed condition reports since 2003, so it was important to begin implementation of baseline reports to better gauge the health of our collections throughout time.

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Using a flashlight, Susie is able to examine any fine cracks, chips, discoloration, etc.    All photo credits: Jason A. Smith

There was a lot of work to be done and decisions to be made before our amazing crew of 8 volunteers arrived.  First, we needed to decide exactly what objects we wanted the crew to examine. We decided to select objects according to certain criteria: 1) The object must be original to the Heurich Family, 2) Objects that receive more use, such as objects that are moved frequently for events or that are used by the museum, would be given higher priority, 3) Objects that are original, but for which we have little documentation on the condition or provenance would be given higher priority.  For example, on the first floor entry hall we decided to have the card receiver, suit of armor, grandfather clock and a wood table examined because they are original to the family and are at higher risk of damage since they are not behind a stanchion. Other items included the formal dining room chairs and dining room table, the hand-carved wood furniture in the Bierstube, and all of the marble topped tables in the kitchen. After the criteria were set, we selected 100 objects and identified 50 as high priority.

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Anne and Sebastian examine all parts of the dining room table.  All photos credit: Jason A. Smith

The next step in this process was to create a condition report form that could be used to assess a wide variety of items in our collection. The report had to include the objects’ dimensions, previous inventory or accession numbers, the medium, and general condition summary of the object. For example, the gaming table in the Reception Room is composed of a textile (the green leather panel), a wood base and body of the table, and metal hardware. The condition report form had allowed the examiner to identify all of the different materials on the piece and the various scratches, stains, oxidixation/tarnish and red rot conditions that they observed. We also asked the examiners to report on the stability of the piece.

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Susie pulls out a board within the sideboard in the Bierstube and dictates the condition to Emily, who records it on the condition report.

Working in pairs, the registrars were able to complete nearly all 50 of the high priority objects in the short five hours they were at the museum.  This crew was an excellent group of professionals and took the time to carefully examine and report on the smallest of details.

We thank the RRC volunteers for their time and hard work in completing these condition reports. You help us to better care for our collections!

Home, home on the farm

Our April installment of History and Hops features Manor Hill Brewing of Ellicott City, MD.  This ‘family-owned farm-brewed’, brewery is a thriving farm complete with beef cattle, herbs gardens and hop gardens. The Marriner family had a vision for a farm brewery after Mary Marriner read an article on how another brewery, Oskar Blues is operating a farm with crops and beef cattle, conveniently between two restaurants. The family also owns Victoria Gastro Pub, where the farm-fresh ingredients are used in their dishes.

Heurich farm house and grounds, n.d., Featured item, Heurich House Collection


Although Heurich’s primary dwelling was at his home in Washington, D.C., he also had a summer farm and house, named Bellevue located in Hyattsville, MD (now the site the Mall at Prince George’s Plaza and the Metro stop).  Heurich purchased the 376 acre farm April 1887 at the recommendation of his physician as a place of rest, while still being close enough to his brewery to check on day to day operations.  The entire Heurich family enjoyed the farm in the summer months.

In addition to the farm house, Heurich also had an operating dairy farm, where he raised Holstein cows. Some in the Heurich family think the dairy farm was more of a hobby for the elder Heurich, and did not really make a profit.

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Cows walking in a pond at Bellevue Farm, featured item, Heurich House Collection
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Clipping of the Evening Star Newspaper, August 17, 1889  image courtesy of the DC Public Library

Heurich took great pride in making sure his beer was clean of any impurities and made it publicly known by posting advertisements in the newspaper and on his beer labels.  Similar, Heurich touted his dairy had the most sanitary and healthful milk.  By 1916, the dairy was producing about 200 gallons of milk a day.  This newspaper clipping, illustrates how an investigator visited the farm and examined all of the dairy farm operations, even writing “Cows Cleanly Beyond Comparison”, noting the cows were fed the very best feed and the water they drank is “…as clear and pure as the water of Takoma Spring.”  Having this approval by an investigator was not only important for your status, it was the law for the milk to be distributed within the District of Columbia.


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In a 1916 hearing before a subcommittee of the committee of the District of Columbia to the Senate, on the topic of the high cost of living in the District of Columbia many experts spoke about the legality of milk.  One individual that testified, was Mr. Herman E. Gasch, President of the Bellevue Dairy Farms, Hyattsville, MD noted many topics.  In his testimony he said:

“The milk situation here is not intelligently dealt with. Milk is not graded.  I can only hope that this committee will see the force of that point, that the city of Washington should be counted among other cities in the fortune of having a law that would require so very important a food product as milk to be graded, in order to show what you are getting…”

Gasch continued the explain the dairy farm was previously in a price-fixing agreement with the Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers’ Association, however the contract had since expired. The goal of this contract was “…to get together and fix a price which they account to be a minimum at which the milk can be produced and provide a living…”


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Cows grazing at Bellevue Farm, n.d., featured item, Heurich House Collection

 A March 21, 1950 Washington Post article stated the area surrounding the farm had become too urbanized and the current property was no longer suited for a dairy farm. During the sale of the cattle, the sire of the herd, “Design Again” was sold for $3,700.

In 1951, Christian Heurich Jr sold most of the family land for over 1 million dollars to the Contee Sand and Gravel Company. That same year, the family mausoleum in which Christian Heurich Sr., Mathilde (Heurich’s second wife), Anna Marguerite (Amelia and Christian’s infant daughter) were buried was moved to Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, D.C.   The Contee Company dived the parcels of land and eventually Prince George’s Plaza was developed, which is host to a Target, Olive Garden and a shopping mall. Nearby, the Heurich name still lives on and is still in use at DeMatha High School’s Heurich Field and the Heurich Dog Park







Die Braumeister

This month’s History & Hops features Gordon Biersch Brewery and Restaurant at Navy Yard.  Started in 1988 by Dan Gordon and Dean Biersch, the brewery reflects its founders’ love of German style lager beers.  Gordon Biersch was started as a small brewery and restaurant in Palo Alto, California, and within ten years the owners opened their first brewery and bottling facility in San Jose. The brewery at Gordon Biersch Navy Yard is managed by head brewer, Travis Tedrow, and the brewery features a selection of traditional German-style beers like maerzen, pilsners, and hefeweizens.

Dan Gordon, a co-founder and head brewer of Gordon Biersch, learned traditional German brewing techniques at the Technical University of Munich. The brewery takes pride in brewing its beers according to the German Purity Law, known as the Reinheitsgebot. When the law was first established in 1516, beer could only be brewed with water, malt and hops. The law was amended in the early 1990’s to allow for yeast to be used as a fourth ingredient.

Gordon was trained in the same German methods of brewing as generations of German brewers before him. Christian Heurich also learned the traditional style of German brewing as a young apprentice and continued to brew according to these standards when he ran his brewery. Like Gordon Biersch, the Chr. Heurich Brewing Company brewed according to the Reinheitsgebot and marketed its beers as being pure and of the highest quality. The Chr. Heurich Brewery Co. earned two gold and two silver medals for purity and clarity at world’s fairs, including  a medal at the 1900 Paris Exhibition for its Maerzen or ‘March Beer’.

Who were the brewers at the Chr. Heurich Brewing Company?

Since Christian Heurich was trained in Germany and brewed according to German Purity Laws, we were curious to know if he employed brewers who were trained in Germany like himself. The museum’s collection has over 600 Heurich Brewing Company Employee Federal Credit Union cards which range from the 1930’s to 1950’s.  These credit union membership cards contain information about the employees, such as what division the employee worked in at the brewery and where they were born. We sorted through hundreds of employee records and here is what we found:

21 cards listed the occupation of brewer, master brewer, assistant brewer or fermenter

11 cards listed Germany as birthplace

Of the 21 brewer cards, 7 brewers were German born14 brewers were born in the U.S.

Average Age of German Brewers: 43

Average Age of U.S. Born Brewers: 37

Average Age of Brewers total: 41

The other 4 Germans that worked at the brewery according to these cards held positions of: Engineer, Floor Man, Fireman and one simply put ‘Brewery’.

After 1933, approximately 33% of the brewer’s employed at the Chr. Heurich Brewing Co. were German born. According to these statistics, it is also clear Heurich employed German-born and U.S. born workers.  In fact, these employee cards show us there were more U.S. born brewers working for Heurich. However, many of the U.S. born brewers, had German surnames. Interestingly, the majority of the German-born workers that the brewery employed were trained as brewers (7 of 11 workers born in Germany). These brewers tended to be older than their American counterparts, as well. We do not know if the number of Germans that the brewery employed changed from the early years of the brewery in the 1870’s and 1880’s to the post-war years (we only have employee records from after 1933).

Another German-American brewery, the Pabst Brewery, employed a large number of German immigrants in the pre-war years. In his book, The Pabst Brewing Company:  The History of An American Business (1948),  author Thomas C. Cochran chronicles the history of the famous famous German-American brewing company. Cochran writes: “It must be remembered that few men of other than German birth of parentage were brought into the home office, which helped provide a certain camaraderie among the staff and to make them proud of the Captain as a fine example of German leadership in an American city.” (pg.91-92).

wm. Tendick Brewers Federal Credit Union Card
Some of the German brewers listed the town they were from, such as Oberhausen, Grunthal or Bochum. These towns range from 2.5 to 5.5 hours away from Christian’s hometown of Haina, Germany.


Otto Schmalzried: A Chr. Heurich Brewery Company employee’s life

Otto Schmalzried Brewers Federal Credit Union
Otto Schmalzried was a U.S. born brewer at the Chr. Heurich Brewing Company.

The majority of U.S. born brewers at the Chr. Heurich Brewing Company had German surnames. We decided to research the life of one of these employees, Otto Schmalzried (1885-1942), to trace his roots to Germany. Otto was born in Philadelphia, PA and was the child of German immigrants, as noted in the 1930 Census of Philadelphia. In that census, Otto was listed as a Superintendent of Bottling Works. Otto married Mary Thomas in 1910 and together they had one daughter, Dorothy.  Prior to being a bottling superintendent, Otto was working as a brewmaster at the Arnold Brewery in Hazleton, PA. According to other census data, sometime between 1935-1940 the Schmalzrieds moved from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., and Otto began working for the Chr. Heurich Brewing Company.  In 1939 his wife passed away and was buried in Philadelphia. Whether Otto worked at the Heurich Brewery until his death in 1942 unclear, but it is evident that he worked in the brewing industry, eventually earning title of Master Brewer at the Heurich Brewing Company.



hazelton director 1916-1917

Christian Stoll Federal Credit Union Card

Francis Omlar Brewers Federal Credit Union
Another example of a U.S.-born brewer that worked at the Heurich Brewing Company


Today’s brewers continue to be trained in traditional German brewing techniques. In fact, many local brewers in and around the District trained in German-style brewing at Gordon Biersch, including: Thor Cheston of Right Proper, Barrett Lauer of District Chophouse and Jason Oliver of Devils Backbone. Gordon Biersch continues this legacy of crafting staple German-style beers in tried and true methods, just as generations of German-trained brewers before them did.








A Different ABC

This month’s History and Hops features Right Proper’s Production Brewhouse in Brookland, the city’s latest beer production facility. How is this new site different from Right Proper’s original brewpub in Shaw? A brewpub and a production brewery receive different treatment under the law. Although the brewpub can package its beer into kegs and distribute them to bars or fill growlers for customers onsite, it cannot can or bottle its product. On the other hand, a production brewery can produce its beer in cans and bottles, which means that it can distribute its product to retail establishments like grocery and liquor stores. With bottles and cans, the brewery can reach more individual customers.

Christian Heurich’s brewery was once hampered by a related but different law. For the first 18 years that Heurich operated his brewery, it was not legal to package beer onsite. Instead, the only way the beer could make it from kegs to bottles was by sending it to bottling companies. Heurich employed a number of bottling companies to package and distribute his beer. Facilities in Norfolk, VA, Baltimore, MD and Washington, DC, did much of this work, which is why many old Heurich bottles bear the name of one of those cities.

3 different embossed bottles, The Arlington Bottling Company, Featured Items, Heurich House Collection

In his book, Capital Beer, historian Garrett Peck also notes that “An 1881 listing of bottlers and brewers in the Washington Post showed that James Butler, Julius Eisenbeiss and Frederick Herrmann were all bottling for Heurich…” By 1884, Heurich’s nephew, Charles P. Jacobsen, who had previously worked in his uncle’s brewery, had created the Arlington Bottling Company (ABC), located at 1021 27th Street, a block away from where Heurich would build his massive new brewery a decade later. Heurich bottled at least some of his beer at the ABC plant.

L-R: Christian F. Jacobsen, Christian Heurich Sr., Karla Jacobsen, Charles P. Jacobsen, Charles J. Jacobsen taken at the Heurich Family Farm, c. 1940  Featured Item, Heurich House Collection*


10 Nov 1896 Washington Post Article about new brewery
Fun Fact: The Heurich Brewery had German mottoes and murals decorating the brewery, similar to the ones in the Bierstube at the Heurich House.  Right Proper also has eccentric murals decorating the production house!

Congress finally enacted a law allowing breweries to package their own beer in 1890 (pg. 161), and Heurich built a new bottling plant at his Foggy Bottom Brewery in 1897. However, he still used his nephews’s bottling plant until at least 1912, and mentions of Heurich’s beer being bottled and sold from ABC disappeared slowly.

1912 Arlington Bottle Co

If the 1890 bottling law had not put the bottling plants out of business, Prohibition, which took effect in the District in 1917, hurt them almost as much as it hurt the breweries. As they could no longer bottle beer from 1917 to 1930 the Arlington Bottling Company bottled sodas and mineral water. In 1930 the owners closed the bottling company and converted the building to Sterling Laundry. The building was demolished shortly after the Heurich Brewery in 1962.

image (2).jpg
Perhaps a Prohibition Era (1917-1933)truck for the Arlington Bottling Co., Image courtesy of Christian Squier


View of the Chr. Heurich Brewing Company from the Potomac River, Photo courtesy of Jack Blush
View of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts from the Potomac River after the Heurich Brewery was demolished, Photo courtesy of Jack Blush

*This article was updated on 05/12/18 to correct a misidentification of persons in the photo featuring L-R: Christian F. Jacobsen, Christian Heurich Sr., Karla Jacobsen, Charles P. Jacobsen, Charles J. Jacobsen.

Something Lost

In many ways, the Heurich House Museum is a museum in formation; we have a wonderful archival collection of photographs and documents, but we are just now inventorying them for the first time. This means that is still a great deal of detective work to be done to determine exactly who is in each photograph, when and where they are taken, and what their significance may be.

One such photo shows an elderly Christian Heurich standing, with his hat in his hand, almost as if he is about to walk off somewhere.  Where is he? What is that interesting building behind him? How old is he? Why is he there?

With a magnifying glass and some squinting, we were able to make out the metal marquee to the right of Heurich’s head: Hotel Alpenhof.  A quick Google search initially led to the website for a new, sleek hotel with the same name. But further investigation turned up a Flicker album showing incredible photos of an abandoned hotel in Austria. Ghostly images of made-up beds, personal letters and photos, and empty bottles portray a once lively hotel, which at some point was deserted.

Hotel Alpenhof metal sign.  Via Flickr


hotel alpenhof
Exterior of Hotel Alpenhof via Pinterest

According to one comment in the Flickr account, local residents say that a legal battle over the property since 1968 has kept it closed. The photos show letters with the name Nagele, and depict grave markers for Adolf Nagele (1960) and Rosa Nagele (1973). Searches for this name provided nothing, however a related search brought us to a nearby hotel, Hotel Post (built 1903).  In the chronicle of that hotel, a note from 1989 is of interest:

The restaurant is enlarged. The conservatory, hotel hall and new bar are built. This was only possible due to the acquisition of land from the 4 owners of the Hotel Alpenhof. The negotiations had taken 20 years.

A search for the Hotel Alpenhof property on Google Earth (dated 1999) and the the Flickr photos date to 2008 shows that the building is in fact still standing.

Far out view of Hotel Post and Hotel Alpenhof


The photo of Heurich with his hat sure looked a lot like Hotel Alpenhof, but we needed real confirmation from the Heurich House Museum archives.  Amelia Heurich’s “One Line a Day” journals, plus Christian Heurich’s detailed autobiographies that highlighted his European travels, were the best place to start.

In August 1927, Christian and Amelia Heurich traveled to Europe on the steamer Columbus, as they did almost every summer, bringing along Amelia’s sister and their friends the Gichners. Christopher_Columbus_whaleback_Milw_Broadway_bridgedock

On this trip, the Heurichs visited Innsbruk, Austria, the capital city of the state of Tirol.  This region was known for Tyrolean Oil, a mineral derived from shale and believed to have healing qualities.  Heurich was a great proponent of holistic healing remedies, often taking “cures” while traveling throughout Europe (he suffered from rheumatism), so it may not be a coincidence that he traveled to Tirol.

A few days after landing, the group took a ride along the scenic mountains, eventually finding themselves in Pertisau (or Gamisch, as Amelia write in her journal), a small town near Lake Achensee.

Mountains and Lake Achensee in Pertisau, State of Tirol, Austria.

Amelia recorded many details of their trip, including this uncomfortable experience:

Aug. 14—“We took a ride in the mts.  In some way a yellow jacket stung me in my mouth.  I pulled the sting out myself—used plenty of whiskey.  

-Amelia Heurich’s journal entry for August 14, 1927.

Photo Dec 16, 3 20 40 PM
Amelia Heurich’s Journal, dated 1927-1931

On August 16, 1927, Amelia noted that the travel party had reached Garmisch Hotel Alpenhof Park Hotel.  BINGO!

Photo Dec 16, 3 20 11 PM

This is the only time that Amelia mentions Hotel Alpenhof, and it is enough to confirm our theory.

The Hotel Alpenhof was also thought to have been the inspiration for Elinor M. Brent-Dyer’s cult classic Chalet School books, and was known to many as the Chalet school or The School at the Chalet. Some believe that author was staying at the Hotel Alpenhof for a holiday and was inspired to reflect some of the hotel’s attributes in the Chalet School.  Others are skeptical that Dyer would have stayed at Hotel Alpenhof, as it was expensive. Whatever the real truth is, the setting for a few of these books are in beautiful Pertisau.