The Mayor and Board summer of 2016 created an Historic Preservation Overlay protecting the Schifferstadt Architectural Museum.

Excerpted from Staff Report regarding HPO Application.


Schifferstadt, 1110 Rosemont Ave

Christina Martinkosky

April 22, 2016


This is the Historic Preservation Commission's application for a Historic Preservation Overlay (HPO) Zoning Map Amendment for a property locally known as Schifferstadt, which is currently owned and operated as a museum by the Frederick County Landmarks Foundation. The property is comprised of approximately 1.5 acres of land situated west of the intersection of Rosemont and West Second Street, and Catoctin Mountain Highway (U.S. Route 15). Baker Park is located to the south.

 Preliminary Assessment of Significance:

Criterion i: The site, structure, or district is associated with events and cultural groups that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of history, including those that exemplify the heritage of the City.

To be considered for under this Criterion, a property must be associated with one or more events important in the defined historic context. This criterion recognizes properties associated with single events, such as the founding of a town, or with a pattern of events or historic trends, such as the gradual rise of a port city's prominence in trade and commerce. In this case, Schifferstadt represents the initial development of the City of Frederick and the settlement of German immigrants into Western Maryland.

The history of early German settlement in western Maryland begins in Pennsylvania. In 1671, William Penn traveled to the Netherlands and German states to encourage people to immigrate to the colony of Pennsylvania.' German immigration to America began in 1683 with the first settlement of Germantown, six miles north of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During the 18th century, there were periods of influx of German immigration, however, nearly seventy thousand Germans and Swiss had settled in Pennsylvania, accounting for approximately one third of the colony's population.

One major center of settlement was Lancaster, Pennsylvania located approximately seventy miles directly west of Philadelphia. However, after Pennsylvanian authorities would not provide protection to German residents from hostile Indians, many started to travel south to Virginia. Exploiting this movement of people through Maryland, Governor Charles Calvert issued a proclamation in 1732 offering two hundred acres of land with rent not due until the fourth year of residence The proclamation was to encourage families moving from Pennsylvania to Virginia to take up residency in Maryland and impel settlement on the large expanse of Western Maryland that had largely been left untouched up to this time.

Enticed by rent-deferred offers from the Maryland Governor coupled with the bleak and hostile situation in Pennsylvania many Germans moved into Maryland during this migration of the early 1730s. These Germans settled a part of Maryland that was referred to as the Monocacy area, essentially a general locality encompassing the valley that was traversed by the Monocacy River and its tributary creeks. Following this initial settlement, many more Germans came and in 1745 Frederick, Maryland was officially laid out by Daniel Dulaney.

The Brunner family, who established the farm called Schifferstadt, was one of these very early Pennsylvanian German families that resettled into Maryland. The Brunner family was of Swiss origin but eventually immigrated to the Palatinate region of South Western Germany at least by 1679, possibly as early as 1671.This is when there is record of ' Frederick County Landmarks Foundation; online (April 22, 2016) Available at:

 Criterion iii: The site, structure, or district yields, or may be likely to yield information important in prehistory or history.

The National Register acknowledges that certain important research questions about human history can only be answered by the actual physical material of cultural resources. The most common type of property nominated under this Criterion is the archeological site although buildings, objects, and structures can also be eligible for their information potential.

An archeological investigation of Schifferstadt found several interesting archeological features that can add to our knowledge and understanding of early settlement in Frederick. Noteworthy finds include a well located near the existing 19th century kitchen that was constructed of limestone almost identical to those used to construct the original stone house. A former smokehouse was also found. Insurance documents suggest that this limestone building was demolished by 1867. Near the smokehouse were the remains of a privy, also constructed with a limestone foundation. An analysis of plant remains found in the privy provides an opportunity to assess plant utilization and possibly dietary habits. Plant remains included large amounts of seeds of elderberry and raspberry which could have been consumed raw or processed into jams, jellies, pies, juices, or compotes. In addition, personal items such a glassware, pottery, buttons, lamps, and clay pipes were found.

Criterion iv (1): The site, structure, or district exhibits significance in design or construction by embodying the distinctive characteristics of a type, period or method of construction, including characteristics particularly associated with the City.

Schifferstadt is an excellent example of a German-Georgian house type built during the Colonial period. The three bay, two-and-one-half story stone original dwelling was constructed ca. 1758. It is capped by a side gabled roof of wood shingles that is penetrated by a centrally placed chimney. Original architectural features include a water table, exposed rafter ends and ceiling joists, and a wood raking cornice. In 1866, a two bay, two story brick wing was constructed off the northwest (side) elevation. It replaced an earlier log structure.

Today, Schifferstadt is considered the one of the oldest and most historic buildings in the City of Frederick, and among the best examples of early Colonial German Architecture in the country. The recently completed National Historic Landmark Nomination Form provides the following analysis:

The Georgian style displayed at Schifferstadt includes the symmetrical fenestration on the facade, a central doorway suggesting a center-hall plan, a gable roof, segmental-arch lintels, the lack of a front porch, and the regular stone coursing on the facade including stone quoins. It maintains many ethnic identifiable features on the interior including the heating plan, room arrangement, and construction techniques, while providing a formal, symmetrical, center-hall appearance on the exterior. This formal center-hall appearance is not necessarily identified ethnically as English or German during the Colonial period since there are examples on both sides of the cultural divide. A few of the interior details that have a strong German identity include the in-situ five-plate stove, a central wishbone chimney, a vaulted cellar, the application of paling and Fachwerk, and the Liegender Stuhl truss system. With each of these features and their exemplary level of integrity, Schifferstadt contributes significantly to the understanding of early American building practices and the influence of German traditions within a pioneering environment. While there are other surviving examples of eighteenth-century German-Georgian buildings, most of which are documented in Pennsylvania, Schifferstadt is the best model of the building type with its many interior Germanic features.

Historic Integrity:

Overall, Schifferstadt retains a high level of historic integrity. The exterior exhibits some material replacements that occurred during the 1980 restoration of the property. All of the windows in the original structure were replaced with custom-made 6/6 and 3/6 wood units. New, custom-made doors were installed on the front entrance and the rear bulkhead and a modern wood shingle roof replaced the previous wood shingles. The National Historic Landmark Nomination Form notes that " although these materials are non-historic they were constructed using techniques from the eighteenth century and have an appearance similar to what would have existed at the time of construction from 1758. The materials and techniques used for these features do not diminish the German-Georgian style and cultural value of Schifferstadt. This property retains an exceptional level of integrity even with these modern restoration events".

Schifferstadt Architectural Museum