House from Mademühlen

Built: cira 1709 
Dismantled: 1981
Reassembled: 1986

Mademühlen is in the eastern part of the Westerwald mountains and as such it is located in a climatically inclement area. Population growth after the Thirty Years’ War (1618 to 1648), the partible inheritance system and unsustainable forestry all contributed to impoverishing the Westerwald region. As working farms shrank in size from generation to generation, locals were forced to seek out additional sources of income. Opportunities were found as early as the 18th century. Conveniently located basalt quarries were collaboratively exploited (see Infobox Basalt Quarrying, page 91).

This trizonal, two-storey timber-framed building housed living quarters, stables, and storage of crops under a single roof. The living quarters are divided into the hall and the parlour below which the cellar is located. The upper floor features two bedrooms. The threshing floor adjoins the living quarters. It, in turn, is followed by a stable and a fourth zone, added later, for other farm-related uses. When the house was still in its original location, a pigsty was attached to it at an angle. This sty was demolished in 1976. The timber-framed wall structure is characterised by the posts extending over two floors and the long braces. The sturdy oak timber framework speaks of the owner’s wealth. In 1914, about ten acres of land came with the house. The roof was probably thatched.

In about 1910, it was given roofing made from Siegerland sheet metal. After the First World War, the house was connected to the grid and a water pipe was installed, but not connected to the sewer system. In around 1948/49, the gable side, too, was clad with sheet metal. This rusted significantly, so the house was nicknamed Golden House. In 1924, the owner’s second daughter, who would later inherit the building, married the carpenter and quarry worker Ernst Gräb. One year later, the room above the hall was divided with a board wall, so that it now had a hallway and a separate chamber.

As the marriage remained childless, Gräb moved in with his brother in Driedorf after his wife’s death and sold the house to the Mademühlen municipality in 1969. In 1981, it had to move for the expansion of a road. It was then transferred to the Open Air Museum. During reconstruction, the attempt was made to recreate the external appearance the house had in 1709 when it was first built. After the pending renovation and the completion of the building’s exterior and interior, it will be home to an exhibition about the poor living and working conditions of a worker and tradesman from the Westerwald region in the 1950s.

Location in the Hessenpark