Architectural story:

18 Thames Street is a two story, gable roofed building with its end to the street, It was originally built ca.1706 on the hall/chamber plan, but it  reflects three distinct periods of early architectural style. The house was purchased by NRF in 1969, and it was restored from 1971-72. 

The first period is indicated in the earliest section of the current house, where there are heavy framing timbers. The second period involves the style of joinery found in the addition east of the chimney, indicating that a change to the building took place sometime between 1740 and 1760. This addition effectively doubled the size of the house. The third style period (1785 to 1795) included changes to the stairway on the interior and to the windows, doorway, and roof treatment on the exterior. 

Restoration story:

At the time of the restoration, we dated the building to approximately the year 1700, based on the framing and architectural detail existing in the building. In 2003 and 2004, NRF began a project to determine whether using dendrochronology (tree-ring dating) could be used to understand a timeline for the usage of oak in Newport buildings. Based on the results, we updated the date of the house to 1706.

People story:

Mention of the house first appears when Miriam Johnson offered the house for sale in the Newport Mercury of August 29, 1774. It may have been that the Revolution prevented the sales of the house and it was not until 1788 that the house again appears on record as having been sold by Johnson to David Braman, a caulker, for “thirty Spanish silver milled dollars.” From that date forward, the house remained in the Braman family until it was sold to NRF in the 1960s. At the time of sale, Braman descendants were not living in the house, but using it instead as income property with multiple apartments. 

Nineteenth and twentieth century residents included  an electrician, a baker, a mason, a teamster, tinsmith, laborers, a gardener, and homemakers. We are looking forward to uncovering more about the people who lived and worked in the house.

Before and After