dietertmill

DIETERT (WILLIAM)/MILLWRIGHTS COTTAGE
604 E. River Rd.
Library File #77
ID# 26669 ORIGINAL USE: Home/Tavern PRESENT USE: Shop CURRENT OWNER: 3 Siblings, LLC
OWNERS: William Dietert LOCATION: Sunrise Addition Lot #3: DATE: 1856 Style/Period: Victorian
HISTORICAL DESIGNATION: BHP BUILDERS: Wm. Dietert CONSTRUCTED OF: Stucco/Plaster CONDITION: Good DESCRIPTION: Two story: 1st story stucco, 2nd story wood; central entry; 2nd story gable to front. Considerably altered from original-unrecognizable style for date of construction-bungalow appearance.

HISTORY: William Dietert House, one of the first built in Boerne, was built between 1856 and 1860. Mr. Dietert was among a family of German millwrights who arrived in Texas in 1854 aboard the ship, "Franziska". Landing at Galveston they went to the Comfort community. Two years later William moved to the Boerne area. The Dietert family was responsible for early dams, grist mills, and sawmills built in Comfort, Fredericksburg, Kerrville and Boerne. Much of the early commerce in Boerne centered around the Cibolo dam and two-story mill at that site.
The two-story rock house, built on the north side of the Cibolo, had a large basement and rock walls up to 18 inches thick. Over the years the house has undergone several revisions and expansions and much of the rock was covered by stucco or hidden behind paneling. Olga and Trent Jones did much to restore the early character of the structure when they owned it in the late 1970's. In the kitchen, a paneled wall added during an earlier revision, was removed and revealed a stucco wall. The stucco was removed, and the stone wall, typical of early masonry, has been incorporated in the interior design.
It is speculated that the house also served as a tavern during the days when farmers would bring grain to the mill for grinding. The basement is large enough to permit storage of foodstuff, and a chute through the basement wall could have facilitated the unloading of barrels.
During the restoration, the Joneses found that the original flooring consisted of cypress planks. At some time these had been covered by yellow pine, and later flooring of oak had been added.
A massive wood-burning fireplace is a focal point in the living room. The original fireplace had deteriorated so much that it was not considered advisable to attempt its restoration, for safety's sake. There was evidence that it possibly opened into both the living and dining room areas.
William Dietert married Rosa Bergmann in 1860. They had a family of nine children. In the late 1850's, William's younger brother, Heinrich (Henry), joined him in the operation of his thriving businesses. Henry married Amalie Bergmann, Rosa's sister, in 1866, and their house was built on the south side of the Cibolo, near the damsite.
Among the interesting decorations of the house are several stained glass panels, designed and executed by Trent Jones. During the restoration, the Joneses found a network of electrical wires hooked up to a number of noisemakers that were operated by timers, so that at one time in its 150 year history, this vintage Boerne home had been a prankster's "haunted house".

Source: Boerne Public Library files.

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