Education: Wagner-Ritter House

Johnstown Area Heritage Association
Teachers' Guide

Wagner-Ritter House

The Wagner-Ritter House: 1st floor


The 1st Floor Bedroom

Originally the parlor of the four room house, this room would have served as the master bedroom of the house.  It is likely that in this room Fransiska Wagner bore her thirteen children.  In its original form, the house did not have plaster walls.  The rough sawn planks of thge exterior and interior walls were simply covered with layers of wall papers.  Unusually in this room, the ceiling papers was hung from the floor joists of the second floor with nothing between the joists to hold the paper up.  This technique would have meant on humid days the paper would sag and on dry days it would be taut.  The paper on the walls was subject to dailure because of the plank framing of the house.  The planks in the walls would expand and contract with the weather and the paper would crack in the 1st floor bedroom.  In the parlor, the gaps between the planks was covered with cloth.

The wall papers reproduced on the first floor on the house represent the most recent and last layer of paper that was installed prior to the addition of plaster, which likely happed after the 1889 flood.  The papers themselves represent papers of the style of the late 1860s with the kitchen papers representing the late 1870s and early 1880s.

The lumpy appearance of the walls reflects the unevenness of the planks and JAHA's effort to replicate the layers of paper that were beneath this top layer of paper.



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