HEURICH HOUSE FOUNDATION "The Brewmaster's Castle"
1307 New Hampshire Ave., NW
The Heurich Mansion was built in 1982-1894 by a German immigrant and local brewer, Christian Heurich, at the beginning of Dupont Circle’s golden area as the city’s premier residential neighborhood. Nicknamed “The Brewmaster's Castle” while Heurich lived there, it was also the city’s first fireproof home, having been built of reinforced steel and poured concrete, a novel construction technique at the time. The top of the tower features a salamander, in mythology, a creature that guards against fire. The home is also noted for incorporating the most modern technology of the day, including full indoor plumbing, circulating hot water heat, a central vacuum system, venting skylight, elevator, and gasoliers (combination gas and electric fixtures). It is also replete with hand-carved wood throughout and retains many of the original furnishings from the Heurich family residency, making it one of the most intact late Victorian homes in the country. This status earned it its designation as a Category II Landmark on the National Register of Historic Places.
Heurich lived in his home until his death in 1945 at the age of 102. Continuing to actively manage his brewery business, he was renowned as the word’s oldest brewer, was Washington's second largest landowner (after the federal government), and was regarded as the patriarch of the Washington business community. In October 1872, Heurich and a partner took over a brewery located a block and a half south of the home at 1229 20th Street, NW; in August 1873, Heurich bought his partner’s interest and established his own brewery. In 1894-1895, after quickly becoming the biggest and most successful brewer in the nation’s capital, Heurich built his largest brewery on a city block in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood, which is now the site of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Also built of poured concrete and reinforced steel, it was the first fireproof brewery in the United States.
Heurich’s son, Christian, Jr., headed the firm from his father’s death until industry concentration forced its closure in 1956. In 1961-62, after having served for five years as home to Washington’s Arena Stage theatre group and the Washington Wax Museum, the buildings were razed, and Heurich, Jr., and his two sisters donated a portion of the brewery site to the Kennedy Center in memory of their parents. Heurich’s widow donated the family home to the Columbia Historical Society, now The Historical Society of Washington, D.C., upon her death in 1956. Founded in 1894 to collect, preserve, and teach the history of the nation’s capital, the Heurich Mansion was the Society’s first permanent headquarters.
Embracing the nickname “The Brewmasters Castle”, the museum re-opened for public tours on September 24, 2003, and currently offers tours every Wednesday at 12:15 and 1:15, with the goal eventually to be open to the public more than half of each year. The Victorian garden has remained open during the weekdays from 10:00 to 3:00 (spring to fall) as a unique respite from the downtown bustle, and the museum is available for private tours and special event rental (Info@HeurichHouse.org). The Foundation also has unique office space for lease in the historic landmark.
The Brewmaster's Castle is located at 1307 New Hampshire Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20036, at the corner of 20th Street and New Hampshire Ave and one block west of Dupont Metro South, and may be found on the Internet at www.HeurichHouse.org. Phone: 202-429-1894. Fax: 202463-1307. Gary F. Heurich, Chairman and President (GFHeurich@HeurichHouse.org), and a 4th-generation Washingtonian, is president of “The Old Heurich Brewing Company”, which he founded in 1986, and which is the oldest craft brewing company in the mid-Atlantic and brewer of Foggy Bottom Ale and Lager.