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Heurich House Museum

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This is a contributing entry for Heurich House Museum and only appears as part of that tour.Learn More.
Hugging the shores of the Potomac River and the edges of Pennsylvania Avenue, Foggy Bottom was long an attractive area for workers, families, and immigrants. Painter Max and cook Mary Dex, both German immigrants employed by the Heurich family, lived in a row house at 536 20th Street in the early 20th century.

A photo of Max Dex's signature in the Formal Parlor in the Heurich House

Automotive tire, Style, Black-and-white, Font

By the mid-19th century and into the 20th, Foggy Bottom was one of the most industrial and ethnically diverse neighborhoods within the city. Immigrants, notably Irish and German, saw Foggy Bottom as a place to be close to their work while also living within a community of people with similar backgrounds.


Max and Mary Dex moved into the Foggy Bottom neighborhood in 1914. William Bender, a chauffeur for the Heurich family, lived nearby with his family at 507 22nd Street NW in 1917.


How might Max and Mary have experienced the neighborhood differently from the DC-born William Bender? What was it like for William, and his wife Bessie, to leave their family and children for work every day? How else might we explore the experiences of household workers, both women and men, in Foggy Bottom?

Anderson, G. David and Blanche Wysor Anderson. "Foggy Bottom: Industrial Waterfront to Place of Power." In Washington at Home: An Illustrated History of Neighborhoods in the Nation’s Capital, edited by Kathryn Schneider Smith, 72-87. 2nd ed. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988.

Fitzpatrick, Sandra and Maria E. Goodwin. The Guide to Black Washington: Places and Events of Historical and Cultural Significance in the Nation's Capital. New York: Hippocrene Books, 2001.

Lintelman, Joy K. “Making Service Serve Themselves: Immigrant Women and Domestic Service in North America, 1850-1920.” In People in Transit: German Migrations in Comparative Perspective, 1820-1930, 249–66, 1995.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Heurich House instagram page: @heurichhouse