Heurich House Museum

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Notice a turret rising above Dupont Circle? It’s part of the Heurich House Museum, the historic mansion built by local brewer Christian Heurich.

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Also known as the Brewmaster’s Castle, this impressive four-story building was built in 1894 according to German-born Heurich’s exacting specifications. Two of Heurich’s breweries were destroyed after a fire, so the brewmaster was understandably paranoid about losing his home in a similar tragedy. The mansion is built of reinforced steel and concrete, making it completely fireproof. Even the 15 fireplaces, while ornately decorated with cast bronze panels, never held a lit fire.

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Today the house exists as a museum, a small piece of Christian Heurich’s contribution to the DC area. One of Washington’s elite, Heurich founded and ran the Chr. Heurich Brewing Co., the city’s longest-running brewery. He hosted many parties at his Dupont home, and opened special rooms during his dinner parties. The music room, which boasts a gold-painted piano, also holds a musicians’ balcony, which allowed room for string musicians to serenade guests.

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Heurich also installed “modern” conveniences for the time, including electricity, an elevator, indoor plumbing and a central vacuum system. The kitchen even has a gas stove and refrigerator, definitely a luxury in the early 20th century.

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Despite the modern elements of the house, Heurich kept true to his German heritage and love of beer. The basement holds a special drinking room where Heurich would go to sample his product and play a few games of cards in the evening. The room is supposed to resemble a German brew house, with carvings of German knights and ladies on the wooden chairs and side tables, and German toasts painted along the walls. The room also housed Heurich’s extensive stein collection, although only a few remain in the house today.

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To take a free tour of Christian Heurich’s house yourself, check out the museum’s website to book a reservation. The house is only open Thursday-Saturday, and every third Thursday of the month, the museum opens its doors after hours for the “History and Hops” event. You can purchase tickets for the event on the museum’s website and experience an evening in the house the way Christian Heurich would have wanted – mingling with visitors while marveling at the house’s wonders and enjoying some local brews.

 

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