This month’s Small Museum of the Month is the Brinton 1704 House in Delaware County near West Chester, Pennsylvania. The house has just gone through a major restoration process and has just reopened.
The William Brinton 1704 House is a restored Quaker home located in Delaware County near West Chester, Pennsylvania. The Brinton 1704 House is operated as a historic house museum and is open for tours on Saturdays and Sundays from May 1 to October 31. The house, grounds, buildings, and collections are overseen by the Brinton Association of America, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history of the Brinton family that arrived in Pennsylvania in the late 1600s.
The Brinton 1704 House is one of the oldest restored houses in the United States, and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1968. It was originally built by William Brinton the Builder in 1704 after his family had immigrated from Staffordshire, England in 1684 to escape religious persecution. The interior of the house is furnished authentically according to an inventory taken in the 1750s. As much as possible, the house is furnished with Brinton family pieces or local pieces.
In the early 1950s, members of the Brinton Family Association engaged restoration architect G. Edwin Brumbaugh to restore the 1704 House to its earliest and most authentic appearance. The project took four years. Using architectural, archaeological and historical evidence, Brumbaugh discovered elements of the original 18th century structure that remained hidden beneath an elaborate mask of 19th century alterations. Brumbaugh’s meticulous research resulted in an accurate restoration of the House and provided the BAA with a wonderful opportunity, and obligation, to share this piece of Early American history with the public. 60 years after this initial restoration, the physical fabric of the historic structure that Brumbaugh so carefully restored was in need of significant conservation and repair. The Brinton 1704 House is currently undergoing a massive restoration effort that will conclude in December 2017. This is a unique opportunity to see a piece of Brinton 1704 House history in progress.
William Brinton, Jr. (1670 – 1751) built the Brinton 1704 House in Pennsylvania for his growing family — his wife Jane, and their six children, four sons and two daughters. Each of William and Jane’s children married and their descendants make up most of the Brinton Family in America today. Brinton family members are now located all over the country, clustered mostly in four regions- East, West, Central, and Mountain. The Brinton family and the BAA have published multiple genealogy books, and beginning in 1913, have hosted family reunions every few years. Because of the active and growing family involvement, genealogy is part of the organization’s mission. We welcome Brinton family members to research their genealogical history at the historic site using our databases and resources. Our membership base is made up mostly of history lovers, local community members, and Brinton family descendants.