Welcome to the Bradford House.
David Bradford's home was known not only by its size, but by its fittings- the magnificent mahogany staircase and the interior wood finishing, which show remarkable craftmanship. The stone for the exterior was quarried near Washington, in what is now known as the Washington Cemetery; the interior decorations came from the east coast and had to be transported across the mountains at great expense. The interior woodwork was all imported from England.
The furniture in this house, while not David Bradford's is typical of that a wealthy western Pennsylvanian family would have had in the late 1700's. David Bradford and his family lived in this house from 1788 to 1794. The furniture was all made in Pennsylvania before the year 1800. Mr. Bradford, being a lawyer would meet with his clients in the parlor (above and below).
The desk in the parlor
The Dining room is where the adults would eat. The children would eat in the kitchen with the servants. After dinner the women would leave and let the men talk politics or business. They would probably also have a drink of something stronger than wine and have a smoke. After everyone was finished, all the silver, glasses, and anything else of value was locked up.
As you can see, the dining room has two cupboards. When this house was built, the Spanish were counting cupboards as rooms for tax purposes. This is why there are only two cupboards in the whole house. The Bradford's were also taxed on the number of LITES or windows in the house and the larger the glass the higher the tax. After David Bradford fled to New Orleans, no one wanted to buy the house because of the number of windows present. David Bradford returned to Washington in 1799, after he was pardoned, to make arrangements to rent the house to Dr. Brent. The tax was dropped in 1800 and the house was purchased by Dr. Brent in 1803 for 230 barrels of flour delivered to Louisiana (there is some question about whether the total payment was ever made made).
Below is the warming kitchen. The actual working kitchen and stable was behind and separate from the house to prevent the ever present danger of fire from destroying the main house. Two servants and their two children lived in the working kitchen building and another couple lived in the room above the warming kitchen
The warming kitchen
The West Indian mahogany stairway may be the outstanding example of affluence found in the home. Mr. Bradford said he paid a guinea for each of the 43 steps (43 gold pieces or around $800) making this an outstanding mansion along the western frontier.
There are three bedrooms on the second floor of the home. The following pictures will show a few of the views seen upstairs.
Below is an image of part of the children's bedroom. The children slept two to three to a bed. All of the beds have feather ticks except the baby's which would have had disposable straw inside. The toys on the mahogany table came from Williamsburg. Most children of the time would have only had toys made or carved by their parents.
The master Bedroom shown below has a gentleman's highboy, in two sections for easier moving.
Bradford's second home was built about one hundred miles from New Orleans beginning in 1796 after David Bradford fled to escape from the federal troops.
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