Rickard House

Michael Rickard House

Michael Rickard, a German artisan and locksmith, purchased the property at 211/213 West German Street in 1810. The original buildings –a residence and a workshop—were log structures that were later covered with brick. Three generations of Rickard locksmiths lived and worked here for over a century.

In 1782, Abram Shepherd sold Lot 7 for two Virginia pounds to John Blackburn on the condition that he build a dwelling house on the property 20 feet long by 16 feet wide, and that annually on the feast of St. Michael the Archangel (September 29) he pay a ground rent of five shillings.

In 1785 Blackburn sold the property to Conrad Boyer, a locksmith, for 20 pounds along with the same stipulations. Boyer complied with the conditions of the deed and built a house on the property and an adjoining workshop.

Michael Rickard purchased the property from Conrad Boyer’s widow in 1810 for 285 pounds.

Upon Michael’s death, the property passed to his widow and his son, Elijah (1795 -1879), who took over the locksmith business. Elijah left the property to his son James (1828-1909) who, childless, left the property to his last remaining sister, “Miss Maria,” who then rented out the house until her death in 1920.

In December of 1909, the workshop and its contents were put up for auction. These items included an “iron lathe, foot power, bellows, 2 anvils, hammers, shears, tongs, augers, brace and bits, and sundry tools, and also a lot of junk, iron and brass, and desk and stove.”

According to the auction announcement, the property is “desirably located and readily convertible into a dwelling.” The workshop was purchased by W.P. Licklider for $1,220 and converted into a residence.

Upon Maria’s death, the residence also sold at public auction for $2,000.