William Brinton House
The William Brinton House (a National Historic Landmark) was entered onto the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. Text, below, was adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. Adaptation copyright © 2007, The Gombach Group.
The William Brinton 1704 House is a two story structure with stone walls, 22 inches thick, laid in courses of various widths. The steep gable roof has six dormers, three to a side and there are pent eaves over the first floor windows on the north and south sides and over the second story windows on the east and west ends. The 27 casement windows installed in the restoration all have diamond panes with leaded sash. There are brick chimneys set just within either end wall and a small one-and-a-half story frame service wing built on the same axis added to the east end of the stone house in the early 19th century.
On the interior, the first floor contains two rooms, a large living hall or room and a bedroom, each with a fireplace. The second floor has three bedrooms, one of which has a fireplace. Before William Brinton's death the east room had been divided into two smaller bedrooms creating the three which were kept in the restoration. The large kitchen, with a reconstructed hood fireplace and a built-in bake oven, and two smaller rooms for storage, are located in the cellar.
The 1704 House was greatly enlarged and altered by the addition of a large serpentine stone wing in 1881. The old stone house itself was also remodeled during the 19th century to include many Gothic Revival features. A great deal of restoration and reconstruction was therefore necessary to return the house to its original appearance. This work involved the following steps; after removal of the large 1881 stone wing, and all of the other 19th century features, including wood and plaster, from the old stone house, the restoration architect, Mr. G. Edwin Brumbaugh, was able to study and evaluate all of the architectural evidence thus uncovered. The exact type, size and location of the 27 original leaded glass windows was revealed. The width of boards in the room partitions was also made clear. The location and size of the bake oven in the cellar, of the seats by the front door and of the stairways and closets were likewise disclosed. Where all evidence had vanished, local residences of the same period and type were studied and this information was used in the reconstruction and restoration. The main original extant portions of the house are now comprised of the stone walls, floor beams, most of the flooring, and the framing for the roof. The small 19th century frame wing at the east end of the old house has been adapted for use by the caretaker.
The 1704 House is just off of Oakland Road on the west, a narrow country road which forms a loop off the busy industrial Route 202 which passes not far to the east of the Brinton 1704 House. Although passing traffic can be glimpsed from the east side of the house, it is protected somewhat from the noise and visual intrusion of the highway by its site on a slight bluff which rises to the west of Route 202. Modern housing is adjacent to the property on the south and some light industry is located a short distance to the north. The boundary of the 1704 House has been drawn to include open fields around the house, excluding modern development in an effort to maintain some environment for the once rural farm house, beginning at the southern property line of the 1704 House which is marked by posts and trees, at the point of its intersection with Oakland Road then continuing north along Oakland Road no the rear or north line which is marked by trees, about 70 feet to the north of the house, then east along this line of trees in a straight line to the edge of the bluff at Route 202, then south along this bluff line to a point in line with the point of beginning, then west along this line to the point of beginning. There is also a small stone outbuilding to the northeast and two barn-like structures also to the northeast. The small stone building is included in the landmark but the two barn structures do not contribute to the national significance of the landmark and are not included in the boundary.
Constructed in 1704, this farmhouse, named for its date, was built of stone from a nearby quarry and serves as an illustration of the early manor house in the Delaware Valley. As restored, the house is an oblong two and a half story structure with a full cellar and a brick chimney at each end. The steep roof has six dormer windows and there are pent eaves over the first floor windows on the north and south sides of the house. As an example of a comfortable country house in the early Pennsylvania settlement, the 1704 House provides an interesting example of the blending of English 17th-century house design with local Pennsylvania building traditions.
The house was built by William Brinton the younger for his growing family in 1704. After his death, the house was occupied by his son Edward, his grandson George, and his great-grandson Joseph. The house remained in the family until 1860.
After several owners and alterations the house was purchased in 1947 by Mr. and Mrs. Francis D. Brinton, descendants of the original owners, and donated to the Chester County Historical Society. With money raised by the Brinton Family Association, extensive restoration was undertaken in 1954 to return the house to its original form.