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Schifferstadt Architectural Museum
Colonial German Stone House Built c. 1758
1110 Rosemont Avenue
Frederick, MD 21701

Open for weekend tours, April through early December
Saturdays and Sundays,
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM through December 8.

$5 suggested donation:

children 12 yrs. and younger are free.

Group tours also available by appointment
Call 301-663-3885 or info@fredericklandmarks.org

Our volunteers do their best to ensure we stay open as scheduled, but call
first or check our blog, to ensure we are open before making your trip.

Directions

front of Schifferstadt

A Short History of Schifferstadt

Overview
Architectural Features
Brief History of German Settlement in Frederick
Brunner Family History
Building of Schifferstadt
Schifferstadt’s Subsequent Owners
Purchase and Preservation by Frederick County Landmarks Foundation
Schifferstadt as Museum and Window to the Past
Visiting Schifferstadt

 

Overview
Built around 1758, Schifferstadt Architectural Museum is the one of the oldest and most historic buildings in the City of Frederick, Maryland, and among the best examples of early Colonial German Architecture in the country. Built at the beginning of the French and Indian War as frontier settlers abandoned their western Maryland farms in fear of raids from the French and their Indian allies, Schifferstadt could have been built to provide a refuge for families west of Frederick who chose to stay on their land should they need it.

Joseph Bruner, a German immigrant and his family left their village of Klein Schifferstadt in 1729 in hopes of gaining independence, including the right to own property and build a home in the "New Land." He purchased 303 acres of virgin timber in 1746, cleared and farmed the land, and built a modest wood structure for his family home. Joseph Bruner named his farm Schifferstadt after his hometown in the Palatinate region of South Western Germany.

Joseph's eighth and youngest son, Elias Bruner, bought the farm from his father in 1753, and built the stone farmhouse in 1758 that we know today as Schifferstadt. Although its exterior and interior have been altered over the years, Schifferstadt maintains many original architectural features.

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Architectural Features
Its architecture and well-preserved features reflect the German traditions of its first owners. Built-in cupboards around the fireplaces, one of three five-plate stoves in its original position, a squirrel-tail bake oven, graceful arched window features, winder staircases, a vaulted cellar and decorative forged hardware provide a window on the 250 years of Schifferstadt’s existence.

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Brief History of German Settlement in Frederick
The history of early German settlement in western Maryland begins to the north in Pennsylvania. In 1671, William Penn and his emissaries traveled to the Netherlands and German states encouraging people to immigrate to the colony of Pennsylvania. Due to Penn’s efforts and England’s liberal colonization policies, massive waves of German immigrants flooded into Pennsylvania and New York. By 1730, 20,000 Germans had arrived in Pennsylvania. Rapid growth within the colony meant most new immigrants could not afford skyrocketing property prices. Many German immigrants came to Pennsylvania as manumitted servants, had little income saved to buy land, so they began venturing west and south where the prospects of securing property seemed more promising.

Settlement of the land that was to become Frederick County Maryland was encouraged in 1730 by an offer made by Lord Baltimore of 200 acres free from quit rents for 3 years to persons establishing residency.

The site currently known as Schifferstadt is part of a large tract of land acquired in 1727 by a land speculator named Benjamin Tasker. Benjamin Tasker purchased 7,000 acres in Frederick County along the Monocacy River and Carroll Creek. He named his property ‘Taskers Chance’.

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Brunner Family History

In 1728 Jacob Bruner arrived in Philadelphia from Germany aboard the Mortonhouse along with his wife, their children and his brother in law Johann Sturm. Eight months later, Jacob’s father Joseph Bruner followed his son to Philadelphia with his other children and their children’s families. Members of the Bruner family eventually settled in Frederick County and lived on the Taskers Chance parcel. Joseph Bruner had 303 acres near Frederick Town, present day Frederick, which he named Schifferstadt.

In 1737, the families living on Taskers Chance unsuccessfully attempted to purchase the 7,000 acres from Benjamin Tasker. The tenants of Taskers Chance felt corrupt rent takers were mistreating them. In 1740, Germans solicited businessman Daniel Dulaney to purchase Taskers Chance. In 1748, Dulaney sponsored a bill to simplify the naturalization process for German immigrants. While bill did not pass, Dulaney did succeed in purchasing Taskers Chance. Daniel Dulaney made a deal with the settlers that allowed the tenants to purchase parcels of from him.
As the county seat for the western part of Maryland, Frederick Town developed into a center for commerce, politics and transportation. On January 17, 1753, Joseph Bruner sold his property to his youngest son Elias for 200 pounds sterling. Joseph Bruner then retired from farming and settled in a home within the city of Frederick.
In 1758, Elias built the sturdy stone structure we know today as Schifferstadt.

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North side of Schifferstadt

Building of Schifferstadt
It was around 1758, during the time that Elias Bruner owned the farm, that the stone house was built. Although no evidence of a log home has been found, the stone house likely replaced one. German settlers would replace their modest homes with larger, more permanent structures as their families grew and they found financial security. The Germanic tradition of building in this country was a combination of the use of inherited building modes and availability of materials. In the Monocacy Valley region German settlers built several types of houses. The three common types were: a Holzbau, a simple three-room log cabin, the Fachwerkbau, a half-timber dwelling that usually replaced the smaller log cabin home, and the Steinbau, a stone cabin that was also built in place of a log home.

Finally, prosperous farmers in the region built stone farmhouses. After years of farming, most second generation Germans in America were financially secure and were able to construct larger, more permanent homes such as Schifferstadt. Stone was readily available in the Monocacy Valley region. The sandstone used to build Schifferstadt came from a local quarry near Walkersville, Maryland. A stone house reflected the family’s social and financial success and stability.

Imhoff Speaking

Putting the building of Schifferstadt in its historical context provides additional reasons for building it in stone. In 1755, English General Edward Braddock, after provisioning his army in Frederick, marched his army to do battle with the French and their Indian allies near Ft. Duquesne (now Pittsburg, Pennsylvania). They lost about a third of their number, including General Braddock, and retreated through Pennsylvania to New York leaving the Maryland frontier vulnerable to raids by the French and Indians. These raids were so severe that settlers from Western Maryland were streaming through Cumberland and Frederick heading east. Although George Washington with a limited Virginia militia and their Indian allies tried to defend the English frontier, they were not very effective. The Maryland Assembly was balking at sending colonial militia to its western lands, so it could have been prudent to decide to build a stone house which could provide refuge from the possible frightening raids to Elias Bruner’s family and his brothers and their families and friends who lived on neighboring farms.

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Schifferstadt’s Subsequent Owners
The house was owned by members of the Bruner extended family until the mid-nineteenth century.

1744 Brunner listed on Maryland Rent Rolls

1746 Joseph Brunner purchased 303 acres from Daniel Dulaney for 10 pounds and named it Schifferstadt

1753 Joseph Brunner sold 303 acres to son Elias for 200 pounds

1771 Elias sold 303 acres to Christopher Meyer (husband of his niece) for 1600 pounds

Before 1812 and after 1771, Christopher Meyer sold 125 acres of the land purchased from Elias.

1812 Christoperh Meyer willed Schifferstadt, now 1789 acres more or less, to sons John and Israel Meyer

1821 John and Israel Meyer divided the land. John took 27 3/8 acres plus the sum of $6000 from Israel for the remaining 151 ¼ acres of Schifferstadt. Israel held the land upon which the house was built.

1842 Israel willed to his son Jonathan 101 acres of Schifferstadt identified in the will as “farm or lot #1 recently called ‘Mount Airy.’” It is believed that the land which israel retained was that land upon which the house was bult.

1843 In March, Johnathan Meyer sold 101 acres (now called Mt. Airy) to Christian Steiner for $3,100

1843 In April, John Steiner, executor for Israel Meyer, sold 94 acres to Christian Steiner for $7,130.

1855 Christian Steiner willed his accumulated estate to Lewis H. Steiner, his son. This included Schifferstadt.

1899 Lewis H. Steiner’s estate (186 acres) was sold to Edward C. Krantz for $16,000.

1926 Edward C. Krantz’s estate sold Schifferstadt to Frederick B. Krantz

1963 Frederick B. Krantz’s estate was willed by his widow to daughters Evelyn A. Krantz, Olive Dinterman and Elizabeth Kirschman.

By 1972 much of the original acreage had been sold. The house had fallen into a state of disrepair with the prospect of its being replaced by a gasoline station

1974 In July, Evelyn A. Krantz and her sisters sold Schifferstadt to Frederick County Landmarks Foundation, Inc. (Research by R. Fogle and F. Thackston, June 1975)

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Purchase and Preservation by Frederick County Landmarks Foundation
Fortunately, the historic value of the structure was recognized and the newly formed Frederick County Landmarks Foundation assumed the task of raising money to buy the property. The Maryland Historical Trust agreed that the house was invaluable, definitely worth saving, and contributed a $60,000 interest-free loan toward the 1974 purchase of the property, valued at $65,000 at that time.

The 1974 restoration study by John Milner, of the National History Corporation, was the first of many studies which revealed the outstanding value and authenticity of Schifferstadt. Archaeological digs further determined the location of original farm buildings as well as providing a treasury of pottery shards and other memorabilia, some of which are on display in the museum.

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Schifferstadt as Museum and Window to the Past

Today, Schifferstadt provides a window to the French and Indian War era when it was built and to the pre-revolutionary times in the Frederick County of its early existence, as well as to the lives of the early German settlers in the rich Monocacy Valley.

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French & Indian War pipes & hat

Visiting Schifferstadt
The museum is located at 1110 Rosemont Ave, in Frederick Maryland

It is approximately 50 minutes from Baltimore and Washington, DC and 30 minutes from Gettysburg and Hagerstown.

Directions:
From the West on I-70, follow the signs to Route 15 toward Gettysburg. This is a tricky transition involving a right hand exit from I-70 to a merge onto the termination of Route 340, then a quick merge onto Route 15 toward Gettysburg. Be very careful that you don’t get on I-270 toward Washington, DC. Once on Route 15 North, exit at the Rosemont Avenue exit. Go straight through the light at the bottom of the ramp. Schifferstadt is immediately on your right.

From the North on Route 15, take the Rosemont Avenue exit. Turn Right at the light at the bottom on the ramp and drive under the freeway. Turn Right at the first light. Schifferstadt is immediately on your right.

From the South on I-270 and I-70, follow the signs to Route 15 North toward Gettysburg. Take the Rosemont Avenue exit. Go straight through the light at the bottom of the ramp. Schifferstadt is immediately on your right


Vistors front step

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