Descendants of Christopher Maus hold yearly family reunions in Mid-Missouri, but, until Sunday, they've never taken a tour of the historic home built by Maus in the 1850s.
"A lot of the younger generation doesn't even know that we're related, that we have direct descendants to the people who built these buildings" at the Jefferson Landing State Historic Site, said Shirley Hasenbeck, one of the reunion organizers.
Five generations of the family, more than 150 people, attended the reunion.
Going through the Maus House for the first time was exciting, Hasenbeck said, adding she could imagine Christopher Maus, a stone mason, being particular and detail-oriented in building the three-story structure.
Rebecca Gordon, executive director of Friends of the Missouri Governor's Mansion, spoke to family members inside the house, giving them tidbits of its history. She said it was built as a home, but it also served as a base for commerce.
The family members toured the Maus House and the rest of the Jefferson Landing State Historic Site, formerly Lohman's Landing. Most of the families at the reunion live in Cole and Osage counties.
The area was a lively transportation and commercial hub beside the Missouri River.
In 1852, Charles Maus and his brother-in-law, Charles Lohman, bought the east section of Crump's building and opened a general store. In response to a growing demand for hotel accommodations, Maus built a hotel across the street from Crump's building in 1855.
Charles and Christopher Maus were brothers.
"We do our business around Jefferson City and come down here, and have been into the exhibits in the Union Hotel, but I have always wanted to be in that house," said Hasenbeck, a Rich Fountain resident.
The Maus House is a brick house that's an example of the pre-Civil War residences in Jefferson City. It's not regularly open for tours. The state maintains it, along with the rest of the Jefferson State Historic Site, as a way to preserve some of the city's history near the Capitol.
Last summer, NASA used the historic home for its base when Jefferson City was on the path of totality for the solar eclipse.
One person at the reunion was Sheila Stark, a great-great-great-granddaughter of Christopher Maus. Stark's grandmother, Marie, was the oldest of the 16 children who carried on the Kirsch Family reunion for years. Stark said she has never had the opportunity to tour the Maus House, but her grandmother was able to back in the 1970s.
"This is why I wanted to make this happen," she said.
Christopher Maus was a great-grandfather of Bill Kirsch and his sister, Martha Kirsch-Jaegers, who attended the reunion.
Decades ago, Kirsch-Jaegers worked at the Tweedie Footwear factory that was across the street from the Maus House. It's now a parking lot and grassy area.
"I've always wanted to go through the Lohman Landing," she said. "But we never entered any of them."
She said it was fascinating to go inside of the Maus House, and she was impressed by the spacious rooms.
Hasenbeck was glad to finally give her family the chance to see the inside of the former homes and businesses their ancestors had a hand in building and operating.
"There's so much history, it's overwhelming," she said.