Fort Bend Chapter of Texas German Society visits Das Haus
Members of the Fort Bend Chapter of the Texas German Society took a trip to Das Haus recently. The 1860 Witte-Schmid Haus was donated to the Texas German Society in 1986 by Annie Schmid and her son, Sanford Schmid.
The German fachwerk structure known as “Das Haus” was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in December of 1997. It is located in the Schoenau community between Industry and Shelby in Austin County, Texas.
Das Haus is an unusual structure representing both Old World building traditions and the realities of pioneer life here on the Texas prairies. All of the interior walls are of fachwerk construction, consisting of wooden beams joined by mortise-and-tenon joints secured by wooden pegs. This framework is filled in with adobe bricks for the most part, and then plastered on both sides of the wall. The use of adobe for the walls and chimneys is perhaps an adaptation to Texas or West Texas building methods.
In Germany, the original fachwerk houses and barns used daub-and-wattle (mud on wooden sticks) for the infill, which was then plastered. Das Haus is left as original as it can be with only parts that are damaged replaced with as close to original as possible. The view from the second floor bedrooms windows is astounding. Das Haus sits on top a a hill and one can see a long distance from the second floor window.
Paul Schenck, a member of the Museum (Das Haus) Commission and someone who been a part of the restoration and upkeep of Das Haus, met the group and spoke about the house giving the group a tour from the first floor to the second floor where the bedrooms were to the basement where according to Mr. Schenck hogs were butchered.
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