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35 Washington Street
The Issac Dayton House is a small, two-story house with three bays and a gable roof. It was built c.1725 and is on the original site. The Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) purchased the building in 1969 and restored it in 1971-72.
The house has what is essentially an enclosed end chimney that heats two rooms on each floor. In the northwest corner, the entry/stairway displays a tight, steep set of twisting stairs to the second floor. Attic space is accessed by an enclosed straight-run, almost ladder-like staircase. While there may have been small, unheated rooms on each floor in the southeast corner, no conclusive evidence was found for a partition on either floor that would have created such rooms. As a result, the tiny house was restored with a single room across the back on each floor.
When NRF purchased the building, an assorted group of nineteenth- and twentieth-century additions sprouted from the back and north gable end of the house. When these were removed, it was apparent that extensive fire damage had occurred in the original early house. Repairs to the early house after the fire, coupled with the way in which the nineteenth- and twentieth-century additions were built, resulted in the removal of the entire rear timber frame. Most original roof rafters had been removed and replaced with a less than structurally sound system, which covered the original house and the addition with a new, broad gable roof.
Part of the original chimney remained, but in a much deteriorated condition. This gave the placement and dimensions that were used to repair and rebuild a safe, structurally sound chimney. Also in evidence, on the front planking, was the use of early, narrow nine-over-nine windows and construction techniques that support a build date of c.1725. Areas of original flooring were found beneath inches of plywood and linoleum, and beaded wall sheathing appeared behind nineteenth-century lath and plaster, as well as remnants of a deep, boxed cornice at the front of the house. These discoveries assisted with the rebuilding and restoration of this very small, first-quarter house.
Records indicate that Isaac Dayton owned the building sometime before 1769. George Munro is listed as the owner in 1793. Very little information on these and other owners has been found, and to date no record of ownership exists for a time prior Dayton's ownership.
The Stiles Map of 1758 shows two, two-story houses at this location on the east side of Washington Street and it is not certain if 35 Washington Street is indeed one of these structures. Perhaps in time further research will uncover more information regarding the Dayton house and this area of Washington Street during the first and second quarters of the eighteenth century.