Reitz Home Museum
John Augustus Reitz House
|Location||224 S.E. 1st St., Evansville, Indiana|
|Area||0.5 acres (0.20 ha)|
|Architectural style||Second Empire|
|NRHP Reference #||73000047|
|Added to NRHP||October 15, 1973|
The Reitz Home Museum is a Victorian house museum located in the Riverside Historic District in downtown Evansville, Indiana. The museum offers year-round guided tours to the state's only Victorian house museum.
An authentic restoration offers visitors a step back in time with silk damask-covered walls, hand painted ceilings, delicately molded plaster friezes, and intricately patterned hand-laid wood parquet floors. Other features of the home include tiled and marbled fireplaces, stained glass windows, and French gilt chandeliers. Much of the home is decorated with original period furniture.
Considered by many to be one of the finest examples of the French Second Empire style architecture, the home has been featured in several issues of Victorian Homes magazine as well as Victorian Decorating and Lifestyle magazine.
In 2003 the home received a commendation from the Victorian Society in America for the preservation and restoration of the Victorian mansion.
John Augustus Reitz, who amassed a fortune in the lumber business, built the house in 1871 in the French Second Empire style. Built to reflect his station in life, the mansion was decorated with elegant furnishings and detailed architectural features. Upon John A. Reitz's death in the 1890s, his eldest son Francis Joseph Reitz took over the house and completely redecorated the interior in a variety of Victorian styles.
The last of Reitz' children died in 1931 and the home was left to the Daughters of Isabella, a non-profit Roman Catholic women's organization. In 1944 the home was purchased by the Diocese of Evansville for the home of Evansville's first Bishop, Henry J. Grimmelsman. In 1974 the Diocese of Evansville donated the mansion to the Reitz Home Preservation Society, a non-profit organization formed to restore and preserve the home. It was officially placed on the National Register of Historical Places in 1973 and was opened for public tours a year later. Matt Rowe is currently the museum director.