The John Glaser Pottery Factory at 812 W. Front Street was constructed about 1878 by Riverboat Captain Archibald Bryan. Research of early census records indicates the building was leased to John Glaser who operated a pottery factory at this location. It remained in active use as a pottery factory until the turn-of-the-century. The large rectangular building with a gable roof, stone foundation, and walls sheathed in narrow weatherboards was later converted to a tenement house. Today only a small portion of the building is occupied for residential purposes. The remainder of the building is vacant.
The significance of this building lies in its construction technology. The John Glaser Pottery Factory is by far the largest intact example in the town of Washington of a German-originated construction method known as Fachwerk and arguably one of the largest documented buildings of this construction type found in any of Missouri’s German settlement areas. Fachwerk, which is also known as Deutscher Verband, was used in Germany as early as the third century and is one of the most distinctly German construction methods found in Missouri. The building exhibits a heavy timber braced-frame structural system that is infilled with brick wall nogging. This important example of Fachwerk construction has no current use and is in danger of being lost due to deferred maintenance and demolition by neglect. There is signification deflection in the south wall of the building, reflecting structural problems. A structural assessment and stabilization effort are needed to save this wall from collapse. Roof leaks have also begun which will cause both structural and interior finish damage. Without intervention, this important example of Missouri-German building construction will be lost.