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47 Poplar Street
The William Lawton House is a small, simple house with two stories and a gable roof. It has an interior chimney that is original to the building, though much restoration work was necessary to make the chimney function safely. The house was built c.1758 and is on the original site. The Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) purchased the building in 1978 and restored it in 1979-80.
This house does not really fit any of the standard eighteenth-century plans generally seen in Newport. It had been modified over the years and some of those changes were retained when NRF restored it. There were also several small additions to the house, but only the one on the northeast corner was kept during restoration.
On the interior, the front door enters into the living room (or parlor) with the stairway open to the room. Most houses built in this period had at least some sort of a small entry hall to protect the heated rooms from the rush of cold air when the exterior doors were opened. On the second floor, walls separate the stairs and hall space from the chambers and this is probably how the first floor was originally laid out. The current configuration was most likely created to give a feeling of additional space.
Records indicate that William Lawton owned this lot (#115 of the Quaker Lands) prior to the Revolution. The Stiles Map of 1758 shows a two-story house on the site. A building also appears on the Blascowitz Map of 1777.