458 Meylert St Laporte PA 18626
The Sullivan County Historical Society began restoration of the Baldwin House in 1995 to enable the visitor to step back in time to the 1800’s. The Society was fortunate that the house had less modernization than many places of that age, probably because there had been only three families who had lived here. After the Baldwins had purchased the house in 1946, they installed drywall throughout and added the fireplace in the parlor. They also divided what had been a long room facing the patio in half, using one section for a small kitchen. The rest, located between the parlor in front and modernized kitchen in the back, is now the entry for the Baldwin House Museum, referred to as the pantry. The Baldwins also removed a porch which extended the length of the house facing Muncy Street, substituting it with the present portico.
The house is constructed with posts and beans and plank walls. It appears to have been built in at least three sections. The main part is rectangular, facing Muncy Street, and dates 1850. A long, narrow addition was constructed on the south side behind the main house before 1872 as a kitchen. The rest of the kitchen wing was probably added in the 1870’s.
In restoring the interior of the house to the time between the 1860’s and the 1880’s, research was conducted to discover what paint colors and wallpapers had been used here. Based on this research, the woodwork throughout the house is painted gray, and the kitchen is yellow. Wallpapers are typical of the period and resemble those used in the house.
While doing repairs in the kitchen above the plank wainscoting, it was discovered that the upper walls were made of tongue and groove beaded boards and that they had been wallpapered over at least seven times. The first layer was a lining consisting of newspapers in most areas and oilcloth in others. The earliest newspaper date was 1882, and it can be assumed that the paper was added no earlier than 1883 or 1884. Because of this, the choice was made to restore the walls to the natural finish, as they had never been painted. All the drywall in the kitchen was then removed to accomplish what you see today.
Furnishings for the house generally date between 1859 and 1880. They reflect the life of a family over a period of years and tend to show how a reasonably prosperous village house would develop as circumstances improved. From the 1872 inventory prepared after B.L. Cheney’s death, we know the house contained a parlor with carpet, curtains, a couch, a rocking chair, other chairs, a center table, stove and lamp. There was also a well equipped dining room, kitchen and three bedrooms. Other items now present in the home are a trunk, rope bed with tickings, wash stand and bowl with pitcher, human hair wreath framed, day couch, crank cradle, metal bath tub, kitchen ware and more.
Copyright 2012 Sullivan County PA Historical Society and Museum. All rights reserved.
The Sullivan County PA Historical Society and Museum is a registered 501(c)(3).