​​​Cluss Biography

I am currently writing a biography of Cluss.

For an earlier, short version, see: "Introduction," Adolf Cluss Architect: From Germany to America, edited by Alan Lessoff and Christof Mauch, 2005.

For another  shorter version but with  photographs of seven of Cluss's surviving buildings, see this page on the Goethe-Institut website.

​​​​​Adolf Cluss, circa 1860.

Adolf Cluss: German Revolutionary and Washington Architect

List of Cluss Buildings

With the cooperation of the Stadtarchiv Hielbronn, I regularly up-date the Cluss website list, illustrations, and stories about the 90 buildings Cluss designed and the people who commissioned and owned them. 


The Cluss and Schmidt Families in Germany and America 

This Rootsweb genealogy of Adolf Cluss and his wife Rosa Schmidt Cluss traces both families from the earliest records in Germany to their twentieth century descendants. I am one of several researchers in the United States and Germany who have contributed to this project.

Also see my "Family Stories" on the Cluss website.

Illustrated Public Presentations

I am available for talks to groups about many aspects of Cluss's

 life, his interests, and priorities.. Some examples:

  • Adolf Cluss on Capital Hill
  • Adolf Cluss on Capital Hill-an Update, 2005-2014
  • Adolf Cluss and Churchs and Religious Schools
  • Adolf Cluss and his Clients​​

Joseph L. Browne, "Adolf Cluss, from Communist Leader to Washington D.C. Architect, 1848-68," Yearbook of German-American Studies, Vol. 46 (2011)

​​​I would be happy to create new slide presentation about Cluss. I developed this presentation for the Naval Lodge, a Masonic lodge located on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Dr. Joseph L. Browne   jlbrowne41@gmail.com    720-883-7079

Academy of the Visitation, 1877​​

​Cluss and Churches

"Adolf Cluss predicted in 1853 that the Church "must yield before the advances of modern science." Cluss's belief that science and technology would result in social progress explains his rejection of religion, his early attraction to communism, and his later belief that architects should plan buildings to improve society," which he believed should include progressive Catholic and Protestant schools and churches.

Stories about Maryland and Washington D.C. History

Cluss Launches His Career

'The Civil War redirected Adolf Cluss's life. In one of the city's most remarkable personal transformations, the ex-revolutioinary emerged as Washington's premier architect. In the 1860s his
buildings redefined the streetscapes of a '
New Washington.'"

U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1867

Joseph L. Browne, "Adolf Cluss and the Church in Washington: In the Spirit of the Age," Potomac Catholic Heritage, ​Vol. XIX (Spring 2010).

Rosa Schmidt Cluss (rear, left) with her sisters Lizzete, Kate, and Sophie, and their father, Jacob Schmidt. Photograph 1872.