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Friedrich Gentemann House

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c. 1882. 108 S. Milam St.

This single-room house is one of the best examples in Fredericksburg of the so-called Sunday House, accommodating Gentemann, his wife, and their seven children on the weekends. Sunday Houses, which are almost all one-and-a-half stories in height, were used by farmers when they came into town for their trading activities on Saturdays and for church services with their families on Sundays followed by a sumptuous dinner with family and friends along with coffee and cake in the midafternoon. As the day drew to a close, the houses were locked and the families returned to their farms.

In addition to providing weekend accommodation, Sunday Houses were used for special circumstances, such as holidays, when someone needed medical attention, or for social and cultural events like plays or musical concerts. Sunday Houses were built of log, frame, fachwerk, and stone. The Gentemann House is particularly striking because of the magnificent simplicity of its limestone walls, though the individual stone blocks look far too large in scale for so small a house. The house's single room served as a combination parlor, dining, sleeping, and cooking space. A steep external stair (now removed) led to the attic space above, which was used as an additional sleeping space, usually for the older children. Most Sunday Houses had attics that were accessed by an exterior ladder to conserve interior space. The porch and rear lean-to are later additions.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Gerald Moorhead et al.
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Citation

Gerald Moorhead et al., "Friedrich Gentemann House", [Fredericksburg, Texas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/TX-01-NB50.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Texas

Buildings of Texas, Gerald Moorhead and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 212-213.

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