Kugler Mansion Attic and Kugler-Waldschmidt Museum
WHAT/WHERE – During the lengthy and grueling process to restore and expand this property our construction teams unearthed many strange and marvelous artifacts. We made it a priority to recover and preserve everything that we found no matter how trivial. Our guiding principle was that whatever we found represented a view into the past and what life might have been like here at this 210-year-old address and the surrounding area. As it turns out, the collective ages of the artifacts span tens of thousands of years, and all of that history was found just a few feet from the surface. Once we preserved and catalogued our finds, we researched the origin of every piece and presented that within the exhibit. The exhibit is divided into six chronological eras and blended with our finds are other locally collected and relevant artifacts for historical context.
HISTORY (ATTIC) – The Kugler Mansion was built using timber framing which is a specialized version of timber post and beam construction that is built like furniture, using wood joinery such as mortise and tenon, held in place with wooden pegs. Many of the timber frame beams throughout the house are marked with Roman Numerals. These were an easy way to identify mating components with a standard chisel, which can only make straight lines. Although a popular construction method over the centuries, there are major disadvantages to timber framing especially rot. Modern timber framed homes are built with pressure treated wood. The timber frame itself is normally "guaranteed" by the manufacturer for various periods ranging from 10 to 40 years. It is a commonly perceived opinion within the industry that 25 –30 years is a reasonably expected life span for a softwood timber framed building. This house lasted over 200 years so far without modern pressure treated timber.
HISTORY (MUSEUM) - There are numerous areas where evidence of fires was found. The most extensive evidence was from a fire in the stone stable wherein half of the original roof was lost. There are still very visible scorch marks on the walls on the north end of the stable building. It is believed that fire damage in the stable was caused by the fire that burned the Kugler Distillery on or about April 27, 1848. Reported in the Clermont Courier, this particular fire, believed to have been arson, destroyed the distillery which was eventually rebuilt. The wood column on display was removed from the service wing of the property at the north east corner on the second floor. You will notice the column shows signs of another fire a date for which is unknown. There are still partially burned beams and purlins in that vicinity of the house itself, determined to still have adequate structural integrity, they were left in place over which finishes were installed.
CONSTRUCTION – This millstone on exhibit is a runner stone that was found on the site approximately 10 feet below the southeast corner of the stone stable during excavation. It was unearthed in its current condition with a large portion of the stone broken off and lost. It was concluded that the damaged stone from one of the local mills was transported to the site and repurposed as a footing for the construction of the stable in 1836. This stone fragment still weighs over half a ton.
FUN FACT – This museum exhibit was dedicated to hundreds of dedicated men and women who had a hand in building and restoring this building. Our construction process started in 2018 and included participation from over 100 different companies, many of whom are based right here in Milford.