The Heuser house in Santa Cruz

[article by Carlos A. Heuser]

In this post, I collect some facts about the house I grew up in. It is located at the corner of the Marechal Deodoro and 28 de Setembro streets in the center of the city of Santa Cruz do Sul. Between 1920 and 2010, it was the residence of several generations of the Heuser family.

This photograph is probably from the 1920s-30s, when the street was not yet paved
Photograph from the late 1950s, after the last major renovation

The residents

As estimated in an inventory of architectural heritage in Santa Cruz, carried out by a UNISC team in 2003 (see bibliography at the end of the post), the house would have been built in 1915 by Antônio José Schmidt.

Interior detail

Around 1920, the house and the land were purchased by my grandfather, Alfredo Heuser, to serve as a residence for his family. From that date on, until 1933, Alfredo Heuser and his wife, Adelina Barth Heuser, lived in the house together with their children, Carlos Henrique and Marga Heuser.

In 1933, due to financial difficulties, the company Heuser & Irmão, of which Alfredo Heuser was a partner, was dissolved. Also around this time, Alfredo separated from his wife Adelina and moved to São Paulo.

At that time, to maintain the residence of Adelina and her children, the Barth family, of Adelina’s parents and brothers, bought the house. The house was registered in the name of my great-aunt, Emma Barth Diemer, Adelina’s older sister and already widowed. Emma Diemer lived in the house until her death in 1958.

In 1942, the house passed to my father, Carlos Henrique Heuser, to serve as the residence of the family he was constituting. My mother, Trudi Heuser, lived there for 66 years since her marriage in 1944 until 2010 when the house was sold.

Karl Franz Barth, the Barth family elder, also lived in the house in his last years.

In 2010, the house was sold, and today it has commercial use. The house has been restored and its facade has been preserved. The internal part has been modified. The original internal structure was mostly made of wood and stucco and was damaged.

Architectural aspects

[this text was transcribed and translated from the 2003 publication referenced below – there the house is called Schmidt residence, with reference to its original builder]

The situation of the property on the land, marking the corner of the Marechal Deodoro and 28 de Setembro streets, forms a “L” patio or garden around the whole house. Some information suggests that this residence was built over an already existing house, so that the ground floor acquired the shape of a high basement in the current house, where the access happens through Rua Marechal Deodoro. In addition to this entrance, the house also has two internal accesses through the garden: a secondary one that directly connects to the ground floor and another main one that connects to the second floor of the residence and is marked by the use of the staircase facing the 28 de Setembro street.

The residence has undergone a series of renovations. Currently (2003) it is has three floors, where the first floor has spaces for the entrance hall, rooms, kitchen, warehouses and service area; the second floor for the living room, bathroom and bedrooms; and the third floor for bedrooms. The horizontal and vertical circulation of the house takes place through a central axis, where a strategically positioned staircase allows displacements and access to the main internal spaces at the different levels.

The external facade of the house, marked by two axes of symmetry, adds different elements of eclecticism, such as the pilasters that mark the access through Rua Marechal de Deodoro. There is a gable roof with French tiles.

Bibliography

Inventário do Patrimônio Arquitetônico – Área central urbana de Santa Cruz do Sul, UNISC, Santa Cruz do Sul, 2003

Map of Santa Cruz in 1870 – The house is located on land number 16, on the corners of Taquarimbó and Santa Cruz streets, former names of Marechal Deodoro and 28 de Setembro streets. The previously existing house, over which the Heuser house was probably built, is depicted.
Partial view of the garden before sale in 2010