The estate “Gross-Rossberg”, to which this house belonged, lies 1200 metres above sea level above Brülisau in the Canton of Appenzell Inner Rhoden. Directly behind the house begins the Alp settlement zone. This zone reaches up to the cliff walls of some of the most beautiful eastern Swiss peaks.
Everyday farming life on the Rossberg mountain is less idyllic. Before the new road was built, the farm was not only isolated but also difficult to keep running. The rainy climate of the eastern Prealps does not allow the north-east edge to dry very often. Snow lies often from October until late in the spring. However, the meadows which were wrested relatively late from the forest are suitable for animal raising and pasture.
Here, on the outermost reaches of permanent settlement, Anton Josef Inauen built a house in 1754. There was probably at that time a hay barn off to the side for farming purposes. When and by whom the stable from the year 1621 built onto the main house was built, we don’t know. We assume that this impressive utilitarian building originally stood somewhere else.
The building history of this secondary multi-purpose building is for Appenzell almost picture-book characteristic. Almost all of today’s Appenzell multi-purpose buildings came to be through the later connection of the living quarters with the stable barn. In addition to the arrangement under a cross-beam appeared also the method of placing both buildings in back of one another.
This method of building allowed all functions of a farmhouse to be unified under one protective roof. When machine-manufactured iron nails became available in the middle of the 19th century, it became common to cover the houses with protective shingles over their original wood boards. The farmhouse from Rossberg is covered with more than 160,000 shingles.
To enter the building one must pass through the “Vorbrugg”, or a covered open area. The stalls for the different kind of animals (cows, pigs, chickens) are set up here. The house door for the living quarters built in 1754 leads into the kitchen which also served as a place to make cheese. The tile oven and built-in furniture in the parlour are still in their original condition. From the cheese cellar to the attic room the house is expertly and lovingly appointed. Broad circles of the Appenzell population have contributed to making this cross-ridge house once set for demolition a living example of Inner Rhoden popular culture.
The well-house (No. 912) was copied from a neighbouring farm.
Anton Josef Inauen:
founder of the whey cure
Anton Josef Inauen was born in 1722 and died on the 7th of February 1791 in Rossberg. He married Antonia Magdalena Neff in 1747 and she died in 1772. Anton Josef Inauen is considered to be the actual founder of whey cures in Appenzell. In 1770 he got the cowherd in Gais to sell whey and supplied him from Rossberg up until 1780. His son Karl Jakob Inauen founded the whey cure and bathing institution “Rietli” in 1790 in Weissbad. The descendants were, therefore, given the additional name of Rietli. Dendrochronological studies give no details as to the life history of this “Scottish shepherd”. Age studies of the wood confirm that he commissioned the building of the Rossberg house for the early summer of 1754.