Historic Evansville

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Reitz Home Museum

Reitz Home Museum

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a.k.a. Reitz Residence (224 SE 1st)

224 SE 1st St, formerly 524 Upper 1st
Evansville, IN

Quick Timeline

1872 House is built
1934 Donated to daughters of Isabella
1944 Bishop's Residence
1972 Moves
c1974 Reitz Home Museum


North corner of 1st St and Chestnut St
District: Riverside
Latitude: 37.967685343708
Longitude: -87.572214603424
View map of nearby sites


Style: No Style Listed

mansard roof with dormers metal roof cresting, window enframements and corner quoins (both made of cast iron), and the arcaded porch with ornamental tile floor the interior of the three-story 17-room residence is lavishly outfitted with opulent Victorian enhancements such as gold leaf cornices,pier mirrors, elegant woodwork, chandeliers, parquet floors, watercolor-on-canvas ceilings, elaborate and unusual matelpieces (one of onyx) and stained glass windows

Designed and built under the supervision of Henry Mursinna, the home was built in French Second Empire style and is three stories high. It has a slate mansard roof, dormer windows, cast iron window enframements, and elegant decoration. The home contains seventeen rooms including servants' quarters and a large carriage house in the rear. The interior fittings and decorations exhibit the opulence of Victorian living. Gold leaf cornices, pier mirrors, carved wood, elaborate chandeliers, parquet floors, watercolor on canvas ceilings, and stained glass windows augment the main rooms. After the death of the elder Reitz and his wife, the eldest son, Francis Joseph, took over the running of the house and completely redecorated the home's interior in a variety of Victorian styles. The front entryway is of solid walnut and has jewellike leaded glass door panels. It is actually a triple set of doors. After the first door is a second door of black walnut panels. A third door of stained glass is mostly from the redecoration in 1898, although the lunette is original. The entryway leads to the central hall decorated in Moorish style, with an Arabic frieze, pierced brass chandeliers with crescent-shaped gas keys, ruby glass, and colored jeweled glass and brass roosters on the ledges. The walnut wainscoting has carved Moorish arches. To the left of the entryway is the drawing room with damask walls and tambour curtains. The window cornices are carved wood with gold leaf overlay. Pier mirrors at each end of the room give the illusion of a grand ballroom. The white onyx mantelpiece was made by Tiffany and Company. Across the hallway is the parlor with Italian style decorative plaster ceilings and burled walnut cornices. A bronze chandelier was converted from gas to electricity after the turn of the century. Door knobs in this room and on the rest of the first floor are bronze with a Greek key design. The sitting room is just behind the parlor. The ceiling is relief work in oak leaf and acorn designs and the lower walls are decorated with stenciled canvas. It was used every day by the Reitz family. The main hallway joins the side hallway and leads into the formal dining room. There is a pineapple design on the silk cut-velvet wall covering. Leatherette panels surround the room and have a gild papier mache band. The French chandelier is made of gilt and bronze with a silk shade. A sliding pocket door and carved walnut grille divide this room from the family dining room. The family dining room chandelier is brass with cranberry overlay. Oak mantels in both rooms were added with the renovation. The mantel in the family dining room is in Colonial Revival style. The kitchen is located just behind the formal dining room and a back hallway leads to the third floor servants' quarters. The second floor housed four bedrooms, a sewing room, and a bathroom. Plumbing is somewhat exposed since it was installed after the home was built. The two front bedrooms and the bedroom on the left as you face the front were used by the children. The master bedroom was believed to be across the hallway. Francis Joseph completely redecorated this room in 1898, adding a bathroom with full bath, foot bath, water closet, and wash basin. It was also fitted with a stained glass window. The only other room on the second floor is the sewing room located near the servants' quarters.

asymmetrical with picturesqueness acheieved through the disposition of parts or masses. The use of an L plan with a porch tucked into the angle was a popular way of achieving informality without losing the stateliness of the late Renaissance idiom


This historic residence was built for John Augustus Reitz begun in 1870 and completed the following year Reitz president of first natiounal bank? and of john a reitz and sons lumber mill benefactor of Reitz and Reitz memorial and is claimed to be the only person with two schools in the same town named after him john a reitz 1871 second empire designed and constructed for a successful businessman and philanthropist henry mursinna The John A. Reitz home was built in 1871 at 224 S.E. First Street and

1934 donated to Daughters of Isabella. Later becomes the bishops residence when a diocese is established in Evansville

In 1972 the Bishop moved out and the house was restored to serve as a museum. Reitz Home Museum opened around 1974 and is the only residence open in Evansville national register


See also

Reitz Home website Residences / Domestic Riverside district

Research notes

+ Show research notes