Reitz Home Museum
Born on December 17, 1815 in Dorlar Prussia, John Augustus Reitz immigrated to the United States in 1830s to find better business opportunities. Originally interested in starting a ceramics business in Evansville, Reitz, like many others, quickly saw the potential of the sawmill industry and became a very successful "lumber baron." Reitz completed the beautiful home on 1st St. in 1871, and eight of his ten children lived in the home, along with his wife and him. Reitz's children had the house decorated in the late period Victorian furnishings, which today make the home a unique masterpiece to behold.
Backstory and Context
When Reitz's home was completed in 1871, two daughters, Julia and Mary, had already married and were living with their husbands in their households. The eight remaining children, Francis Joseph, Christine, Josephine, John Jr., Wilhelmine, Mathilda, Louise, and Edward, all moved into the new home with their mother and father. Ten years later, John Jr. married and moved into his own home. None of the remaining seven children ever married or moved out of the house.
John Reitz died in 1891, and his wife died in 1893. Following their deaths, Francis Joseph and his maiden sisters took over decorating the house, filling it with late period Victorian furnishings and bringing to the house electricity and indoor plumbing. Much of the decorating and furnishing from this era is preserved today, maintaining the appearance of the family's life at the turn of the century.