The Grusendorf Log House is one of a few remaining pre-Civil War structures in the Germantown/Gaithersburg area. Built circa 1840.
The Cabin was relocated to its present site next to the Seneca Creek State Park Visitor Center in the 1990s to preserve it from encroaching development. Its original location was on Clopper Road, just west of Great Seneca Highway.
One room housed the whole family. The loft was used for sleeping. Family activities centered around the hearth. The house was lighted by only two windows, making it dark and dreary in the winter.
Notice that there is no landscaping. That was a luxury for which early settlers has no extra time. Their time was devoted to the essentials of life.
Although the log house is no longer part of "Old Germantown," its preservation will always allow us to imagine the past, and the German immigrants who settled at the crossroads of Clopper Road and Route 118. Today, on its new site, the log house is used for historical educational programs.
Utilizing Local Materials
Jacob Snyder, a German immigrant, built the house in 1855. In 1860, he sold it to Franz and Hanna Grusendorf. Franz Grusendorf was a stone mason who built the foundations and walls of many houses and farm buildings of the time in the Germantown area.
The Grusendorf house is typical of early 19th century homes built by German farmers who settled in the region. The cabin has V-notched logs which once chinked with fieldstone and clay (however the preserved structure utilizes a formula that includes modern day concrete.)
The original fieldstone foundation was from local fieldstone. Like most log houses of the time, it had lapped siding mad of milled wooden boards. When siding was not available — or affordable — exposed logs were whitewashed using a paint based on lime, for protection from weather and insects.