NRF promotes and invests in the architectural heritage of the Newport community, the traditional building trades, and Doris Duke’s fine and decorative arts collections, for the enjoyment, education and inspiration of all.
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25 Walnut Street
The William & Joseph Wanton House is a somewhat modified four-bay house with a gable roof. Built c.1770, it sits on the original site. The Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) purchased the building in 1972 and restored it in 1974-75.
Very little original fabric remained in the house when it was purchased. During the restoration, modern porches and additions were removed and house details were reproduced based on fragments of original moldings, doors, chair rail pieces, and a mantle that was period appropriate. Other mantles and panels added to the house came from NRF inventory of eighteenth-century woodwork.
Records show that in 1725, the lot (Quaker lot #153) was owned by William Goff, although there is no indication of a building existing there at that time. The Stiles Map of 1758 shows the lot still without a building. The Blaskowitz Map of 1777, however, does show a structure on this site.
Other information indicates that William and Joseph Wanton had been paying the Quaker rental fees on a lot, as well as on a house, throughout the 1770s. To date, little else is known of the two Wanton brothers, although Wanton was a Newport family name of prominence in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
The house sits high on raised land, which may indicate that the building was moved to the site or that it was raised on its existing site to provide a dry cellar. Raising of houses on their foundations occurred fairly often in the Point section from the late eighteenth century and into the twentieth, owing to the generally wet nature of the area.
Photo of the house before restoration.