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Ford County Historical Society
Dodge City, Kansas

Henry Mueller Interview, 1940

[Photograph of John and Karoline Mueller, with children Emelia and
Henry. Circa 1885. All rights reserved, FCHS.]

[In June 1940, Henry Mueller, son of John and Karoline Mueller, the builders of the Mueller-Schmidt House, visited Dodge City and gave an interview to the Dodge City Journal, June 13 issue. Henry stated many little known details about the building of the house. Henry visited and lived in Ford County often during the years following the Muellers move back to St. Louis in 1890.]

     "Dodge City will always be home in my heart...it may be because the house my father, the late John Mueller, began in 1879 still stands, as beautiful as the day it was built," Henry Mueller said when he was in Dodge City the other day.

     Still trying to decide for sure what brings him back to the old cowtown on every possible pretext, Mr. Mueller, who now lives in Nashville, Ill., said, "You know it may be because I can walk down the streets here, speak to everyone whether I know them or not...even engage whoever I like in conversation...now my daughter is married to a New York physician...and if I did the talking there I do here I'd land in the 'bug' house or the big house, sure.

     "In the old days Dodge City may have been the wildest and woolliest town on record, but it had a different sort of friendly spirit that has lived through the years...just like that house of ours....

     "By the way, that's partly why I keep coming back here...whenever I do the Schmidt's invite me up and I have my day dreams in the old house to my heart's content.

     "But I promised to tell you about the house...few people realize it took eighteen months to cut and face the rocks that went into it and all of them came from Hodgeman county or up on the Sawlog, and many of them were hauled forty miles. The rocks are two feet thick, even the ones used for the partitions. When my father found the rock so hard he prophesied the house would live as long as the town.

     "My father was particular about the mortar used...he figured it would have to be good to last with the rock. The lime that went into the mixture was burned in the Zerbie kilns on the Sawlog and Heinie [Schmidt] tells me that not long ago he had a mason go over the house and he remarked that though it seemed impossible the mortar was still hard as steel.

     "Since he had such lasting material for his house, my father considered the time element in everything else used in its construction...the floor and ceiling joists, for example, are 2 by 14 and only eighteen inches apart.

     "Even though his first consideration seemed to be for something that would endure, father must have had a real sense of the beautiful to have had William Sturbel build all the woodwork by hand, including the solid walnut circular stairway that was the envy of many a Dodge City matron in 'the good old days.'

     "When the Schmidt house was the Mueller home we were way out in the country so far as the rest of the town was concerned....

     "Perhaps the most important event in the house while we lived there was the wedding of my sister, Emelia, to Major Dunbar [John] Chambliss....

     "The fact that my father made some of the finest boots in the whole country brought such famous folks to our house as Wild Bill [Hickok] and Buffalo Bill [Cody]. In fact, Wild Bill boarded with us when we lived in Abilene...but that takes me away from Dodge City...."

(Ford County Historical Society, Inc.)

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