A Remembrance of the Past; Building for the Future." ~ Eve Eckert Koehler

Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors
Settlers Property Lots & Floor Plans
& Cost of Building a Settlers House

Property lots our Donauschwaben received were narrow and long. One side and right to the lot line was the house, built to fit the shape of the lot. One room wide and long. North side being on the lot line and the south side having all the windows most often going to the porch which connected all the rooms. The other halve of the narrow lot was just wide enough for the horse wagon to reach the barn, which was erected behind the house and usually at 90 degrees angle, or what in German language is called QUER, meaning across, in this case they built a L-shaped house with wider frontage. This wider frontage was now "quer" (across) the lot. So QUERBAU stands for a building across the lot.

(Image submitted by Hans Kopp, source unknown.)

(Excerpt from History of German Settlements in Southern Hungary, 2003 by Susan Clarkson) . . .

     "More than 1,000 German villages were established in Southern Hungary. Plans for the villages were laid out in Vienna. The towns were generally built in a square checkerboard pattern, with the Catholic church and its surrounding square in the center of the town. The style of the buildings was a modified Baroque, and came to be called "settler's Baroque." Each village, however, had slightly different designs for the decorative finishes on the buildings, and the differences are still visible today.

     The houses were built perpendicularly to the street, and consisted of a series of adjoining rooms, with the parlor on the end which faced the street, and sheds for domestic animals on the opposite end. Long covered porch ways extended the full length of the house. The Swabians were known for keeping their houses and gardens clean and carefully maintained. Each house plot was surrounded by a fence, and the courtyard within the fence contained grape vines, fruit trees and the household garden.

     The streets in the villages were wide, and were used as pathways for community activities, such a baptism, wedding and funeral processions. Cattle were also led down the street to the common pasture in the surrounding area of the village. The streets, too, were always kept clean.

     Crops were grown in the fields surrounding the village. The specialty crops grown in this area were sugar beets and hemp. Other crops were wheat, corn and alfalfa. The farmers also kept horses, cattle, pigs, chickens and geese. The home gardens included grapes for eating and for wine production, vegetables, and fruits such as peaches, apricots, melons and tomatoes. In the villages, schools were built in close proximity to the church. As the settlers were allowed to bring clergy and teachers, the first school master usually came with the settlers."
(History of German Settlements in Southern Hungary, 2003 by Susan Clarkson)

House Floor Plans of the typical settler's house was a functional building which was to serve as living accommodation. It fully met their requirements in the beginning, but with increasing prosperity the "long house" was developed further, and more buildings were added to it. The "long house," which stood with its gable end facing the street, was simply turned around so that the long side of the house now faced the street. Such a house was called a "Zwerchaus." Later, houses were also built in an L-shape, called "Triangelhaus." Both styles of houses can be found in most villages.


Plan 1:
Einfaches Langhaus:
Simple Long House


Plan 2:
Triangle house


Plan 3:
Modernes Bauernhaus mit Querbau: Modern farmer house with a summer kitchen

Front Yard

Rear Yard


©Mercydorf Heimat Book

Cost of Building a Settlers House can be determined by a rough estimate according to the building contractor of a house in Cservenka, which can serve as an example for all villages (also in Liebling, Banat, Anm. L.) the following payments: For the stamping: 16 fl. - xr. (fl.=Florentine Guilders, xr.=Kreuzer which at the time was a 60th part of a Guilder, Anm. L.), Grease and plaster: 19 Fl.., 15 Kr., to make the chimney: 3 Fl., 12 Kr., stove (de--): 30 Kr., 2 oven bases (detto a---): 12 Kr.=24 Kr., 2 gables for 2 Fl., 4 door beams inset for 2 Fl., 24 Kr., 4 window beams for 1 Fl., 12 Kr., the upper floor n-- covered with boards for 2 Fl., 30 Kr., the same to transfer 7 -- with a loft to make the roof (stuhl?) for 14 Fl., 17 Kr., the same to put up 2 -- thatch coverings for 6 Fl., 50 Kr., 4 simple doors (Thüren) together with materials for 3 Fl., 44 Kr., 3 windows for 3 Fl. [Beschka Homeland by Peter Lang, translation by Brad Schwebler.]

[Published at 17 Feb 2007 by Jody McKim Pharr]

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