Schifferstadt

Schifferstadt, also known as Scheifferstadt, is the oldest standing house in Frederick, Maryland.

History

The stone abode was completed in 1756 after the land it stands on was purchased by German immigrant farmer Josef Brunner (later alternately spelled 'Bruner' and 'Brooner') in 1746. Brunner purchased 303 acres (123 ha) of tract land known as "Tasker's Chance" from Frederick Town (current-day Frederick) homesteader Daniel Dulany. Brunner named the property after Klein Schifferstadt, his home town in the Rhineland-Palatinate region of southwestern Germany near Mannheim.

Architecture

The sandstone for Schifferstadt's two-foot-thick walls came from a local quarry near Walkersville Maryland. In Josef Brunner's time, a stone house reflected the family’s social and financial success and stability. The hand-hewn wood beams were pinned together with wooden pegs. Above the windows and doors on the first floor of the building are reinforced arches made of stone, supporting the outside walls above them. The roof is considered to be unusual with kick-up and flared eaves, and features a large "wishbone" chimney. Much of the original construction and detailing survives, showing particular examples of German influence. Schifferstadt is known to be the finest existing example of German colonial architecture in the United States.

Ownership, disrepair and restoration

The house was owned by Brunner's family and descendants until the mid-19th century when it was sold (along with 94 acres) to Frederick resident Christian Steiner for $7,130. In 1899 the Steiner estate sold Schifferstadt to Edward C. Krantz for $16,000, who in turn sold the property to Frederick B. Krantz in 1926. In 1963, the Frederick B. Krantz 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 and the house had fallen into a state of disrepair and endangered by development, but in July 1974 was sold by the Krantz sisters to Frederick County Landmarks Foundation. The foundation subsequently restored Schifferstadt and today operates it as an architectural and local history museum.