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House of the Miller, Mueller House

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1752; 1784 addition. Millbach Rd., 0.3 miles south of PA 419
  • House of the Miller, Mueller House

The antiquity of this house is evident from its massive central chimney that pokes through the gambrel roof and the segmental-arched window heads with their asymmetrical placement in the rough stone walls. Together they reveal the varied rooms of the first story. Like so many German buildings in eastern Pennsylvania, datestones confirm the evolution of the building; the stone on the house is inscribed 1752 and that on the smaller rear wing, 1784. Unlike most early mill complexes, such as Rittenhousetown in Philadelphia County, the mill itself is connected to the house. This recalls late medieval German practice that was rarely tried at American sites because untamed waterways that powered the mills made such schemes too dangerous. Most of the interior woodwork was removed in the early twentieth century, but can be seen in the Philadelphia Museum of Art ( PH123) where the massive sawn railing posts and newel provide evidence of pre-Renaissance detail in Pennsylvania. Across the side street are a log house and barn that were moved from Adams County to this property when it was owned by Richard Smith, who also commissioned the beautifully crafted German-style house in 1979. The Mueller family donated the land for the nearby, less assertively Germanic St. Paul's Reformed Church. A plaque above the church door confirms that it was constructed in 1790 and updated in 1890, at which time the new Queen Anne window sash and the interior balcony were inserted and the interior was reoriented. Other German sites in the region include the commonwealth's oldest surviving fort, Fort Zeller (N. Fort Zeller Road, 0.5 miles north of PA 419). It was built as a house for Heinrich Zeller in 1723 and significantly rebuilt in 1745 when the region was still very much the frontier. Its massive herringbone wooden door, tiny windows, and steep roof are hallmarks of early German design.

Writing Credits

Author: 
George E. Thomas
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Citation

George E. Thomas, "House of the Miller, Mueller House", [Newmanstown, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/PA-02-LE1.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 2

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, George E. Thomas, with Patricia Likos Ricci, Richard J. Webster, Lawrence M. Newman, Robert Janosov, and Bruce Thomas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 330-331.

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