The Herr House : Built in 1719

I have some Andrew Wyeth prints in my home and came across a book in the library about the Herr House.

herr house collage

This Mennonite home was built in 1719 by Christian Herr, a distant relative of Andrew Wyeth the painter, who visited the home on several occasions to make sketches and watercolors.

Andrew Wyeth : the Herr House

Andrew Wyeth : the Herr House


The Mennonites came from the initial Anabaptist movement in Europe, and ” Historians generally agree that the original Mennonite settlers of Lancaster Country, Pennsylvania  were ethinically Swiss. Documents from William Penn’s government specifically refer to the Mennonites as “Swissers”.

Christian Herr’s family and community settled in what was then called the Conestogo area, named after the Conestogo Indians. Temporary shelters of tents and crude cabins were built at first, then log homes “reflecting Germanic styles from the immigrant’s past.”

Christian Herr built such a cabin and then later on,  built his stone house.

“The Mennonites and Conestogos not only tolerated each other but cooperated.  When the winters became cold, the Indians would take shelter and sleep side by side “of  a genial fire”.   The Indians might supply the settlers with fish or venison which they’d trade for bread.”

The book that I quoted  from is “A Modest Mennonite Home” by Steve Friesen, with an introduction by Andrew Wyeth, and photographs by John Herr, who played in the Herr House ( then deserted ) during visits to his grandfather, Elvin Herr.  The Herr House was eventually restored and the author, Steve Friesen, was the director of the Hans Herr House at the time of this book’s publication. It is a small book but holds a wealth of history on the Anabaptists, the Mennonites, William Penn and Pennsylvania, if you are interested in that history and can find the book in your local library or online.

Other than that, I thought that you might enjoy some of the photos of the house. I took these out on my front porch and have had to sharpen / enhance a few so that you could read the captions a bit better but I’ve not altered them very much :)

Herr House bedroom

Herr House Bible

Herr House Cellar with fruits and vegetables

Herr House Five Plate Stove

Herr house general photo

Herr House Kitchen View

Herr House second attic

Herr House Steps to the Attic

Herr House Swiss corner cupboard holds communion cups etc

As a quilter, I enjoyed finding this online to complete this post :





You might also enjoy:   Puttin’ Up & Eatin’ Food in Days Gone By  or  Baskets & Laura Ingalls Wilder Here  or  Red & Green Applique Quilts

Sharing at : Common Ground / French Country Cottage / Lavender Cottage Gardening / Cozy Little House / Savvy Southern Style / 21 Rosemary Lane

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27 Responses to The Herr House : Built in 1719

  1. Melanie says:

    Interesting about the Herr House – thank you for sharing! Love all your flower photos in your previous post, too. Most of the flowers in my area are drying up now, but the Russian Sage and zinnias are still blooming wonderfully.

  2. Karen says:

    I love going through old buildings like the one you show – the furniture and dishes etc. are always so interesting to se

  3. Mayleen says:

    My background is Mennonite and I enjoyed your post. Will have to find this book!

  4. Deb says:

    Always interesting to see how people lived and stored things before electricity and central heating.

  5. Susan says:

    As always, it’s such an interesting and informative post, Deb. Love the photos of the house.

  6. Tough life they had back then, and yet times were simpler. However aren’t we very fortunate with all the conveniences we have!

  7. Nana Diana says:

    What a great post, Deb. I love the images and the story behind them. Thanks….and thanks for popping by my blog, too. xo Diana

  8. Dawn says:

    I love old buildings – much more romantic to think about them and simpler times. I love my modern conveniences!

  9. Kim says:

    I never knew that there was real house behind that painting or that it belonged to a relative. Neat story.

  10. Debra says:

    The home looks very cozy and warm and the wheel barrel for 20.00, what a beautiful treasure! I enjoyed your images.

  11. Judy says:

    Ins’t this marvelous? It so reminds me of my Germanic ancestors homes. So solid and safe.

  12. Jane says:

    Love Wyeth This is a wonderful post I enjoyed much. I have a huge framed print of Master Bedroom which I’m sure was painted in this house and of his room.

    Jane x

  13. Debbie H says:

    Great post. I have been interested in Mennonite and Amish for a couple years. It was interesting to see how they lived early on in America. Thanks for sharing the pictures.

  14. Doreen aka Aunt Reen says:

    Fascinating story and I really loved all the beautiful pictures of this Early American home!

  15. A simpler time when strong, family-minded people with tremendous common sense not only survived but prospered together despite some strong differences. Too bad we didn’t learn from their successes. :-)

  16. Dewena says:

    Life was simple then, wasn’t it, but so spartan. But I guess that was part of their belief system.

    Beautiful quilt of the house!

  17. Dotti says:

    Interesting article on the Lancaster Herr Haus. Like the Mennonite, we just found our heritage is Swiss instead of German. Andrew Wyeth is a favorite artist. He did more of the Brandywine area than Lancaster, but we are fortunate he did the Herr House. Rainy days and off to our church festival. Thanks for article, enjoy your Hydrangea.

  18. Grandma Kc says:

    What an interesting home but I bet it got very cold in those long winters.

  19. Joyce says:

    Fascinating. There’s a simple, haunting beauty to the lifestyle of the Mennonites. They really did keep themselves focused on God alone, with minimal regard for material things. I love Andrew (and Jamie) Wyeth. Their work, too – hauntingly beautiful.

  20. Susan says:

    You do find the most interesting things. As I looked at the picture, I contrasted the simplicity of their life of hard work with our leisure and consumption today.

  21. Thank you so much for sharing these pictures. Now I want a Swiss corner cupboard.

  22. Fascinating post……great images…….thank you!

  23. Beautiful! I love the golden glow. I wonder if Wyeth’s ‘Master Bedroom’ with the yellow lab on the bed was painted at that house. The Herr name is common to Lancaster County and we were familiar with some Herrs when we lived at Willow Street. Loved this post!

  24. Judith @ Lavender Cottage says:

    Interesting how such a modest house could provide the needs of a family.
    Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday.

  25. Lorrie says:

    What a beautiful post. I’m of Mennonite heritage and pleased to be descended from these industrious people. The Herr house is wonderful example of simple living. The quilt is amazing – such a beautiful rendition of the house.

  26. Suzan says:

    What a great post – I have a fascination with the Amish and Mennonites – here in Canada we have Mennonites…………….and they make and sell the most gorgeous furniture !
    Thanks for sharing !

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