The Luginbill House

The Luginbill house was first occupied by Peter Luginbill and his wife, Barbara. The house is a classic pre-Civil War Indiana farmhouse that was built in 1856. The house is of a style called “half-timber”, which was typically western European. Half-timber buildings used less wood than would have been required in other early American buildings. This lumber-conservative construction was very important in Europe, where wood was scarce and costly. In the America of the early 1800s, however, there was no shortage of woodland. Therefore, the Luginbill house illustrates how the Swiss settlers brought their culture and lifestyle with them to the new land.

In the "half-timber" construction, large vertical beams are hand hewn with one to two-inch crevices cut down the sides. Smaller pieces–or slats–of wood are wedged into the crevices between the beams, from top to bottom. On top of and between the wooden slats, a mixture of mud and straw called wattle was applied for insulation. The wattle was mixed by having oxen walk back and forth through the mixture, therefore in some parts of the wattle, oxen hairs have been found. After the wattle had been applied to the walls, a layer of a substance similar to plaster was spread over the facade.

Inside the home, the ceiling and wainscoting of the two rooms on the main floor still have the beautiful original walnut, with some exceptions, and the boards are tongue-in-groove and beaded. In front of the home you will find the typical Swiss foursquare garden. Each consists of a different type of vegetation. To the right side of the home is the apple orchard. Most homesteads of this time had orchards, and they were always on this side of the house.

The home was generously donated by Ezra H., Adam and Loren Liechty, and was moved to Swiss Heritage Village and Museum in 1987 from its original site at 705 Stucky St. in the southwest corner of Berne.