Dayton Historical Depot Society
222 E. Commercial Street
Dayton, Washington 99328
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Call 509-382-2026

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The Boldman House Museum Print E-mail
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A Unique Victorian House & Garden

Boldman House Museum
410 North First Street
Dayton, WA 99328

The Boldman House Museum is owned and managed by the Dayton Historical Depot Society. Tours may be scheduled by contacting the Boldman House Museum at 509-382-1548 or emailing your request to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Hours of Operation:
Winter Hours (October - April) are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 1 to 4 pm, and Summer Hours (May - September) are Wednesdays through Saturday 11 - 4.  Individual or group tours during other times are available by appointment. We will be closed on holidays.

Mission Statement

The Boldman House Museum and Garden's mission is to bring life to the family home of Miss Gladys M. Boldman through restoration, conservation, interpretation, and education. It is listed on the Local, State and National Historic Registers as the Brining/Boldman House.

History of the Boldman House

The original house, built in 1880, started as a small three-room home. Joseph and Rosine Wolfstein owned it until 1883, when it was sold to John and Ella Brining. John Brining was a respected Dayton man who started in the sheep business, became a salesman with the Dayton Woolen Mill, later was a retailer, and then moved into real estate. He was elected to the city council, served as City Treasurer, and donated land for the city hospital.

By 1891 Brining had enlarged the house by adding a two-story section, a basement, and extending the back of the house. The house was sold to Oath Long in 1900, then to C.C. Hubbard in 1904.

Sometime between 1896 and 1909 the bay windows, the second floor balcony, and the entry foyer were added. These additions reflect the Queen Anne style popular at the time, and make the house the graceful Victorian home we see today.
In 1912, Stephen A. Boldman and his wife, Blanche Porter Boldman, purchased the house. Stephen Boldman was a local farmer. He and Blanche moved with their four daughters - Minnie, Marie, Goldie, and Gladys - from their Columbia County farm to the house in town.

For the next 87 years, the Boldman family lived in the house. Minnie, the oldest daughter, died in the flu epidemic of 1919. When Mr. Boldman passed away in 1954, Goldie and Gladys, the youngest daughter, were the only remaining family members and they continued to live in the house.

In 1999, Miss Gladys M. Boldman, the last surviving Boldman, died at the age of 91 and left her estate to the Dayton Historical Depot Society. Miss Boldman's will directed that her family home be restored to its original (1912) condition, and that it become a community resource and educational "showplace".

A Boldman House Committee, established by and under the direction of the Dayton Historical Depot Society, is carrying out Miss Boldman's requests. The house remains much the same as it did in 1912 and is one of Dayton's significant examples of the Queen Anne style. The only changes are a new entrance to the basement, and the back room was remodeled to serve as a museum workroom and storage area.

The house and its contents is an extraordinary and unique time capsule. Because everything in the house belonged to this one family of savers, the variety and volume of these artifacts give us a unique and detailed history of a family and their friends, and how they lived and interacted with the community and changing times.

The restoration, renovation, and preservation of the Boldman House Museum is a work-in-progress. Artifacts Architectural Consulting of Tacoma was retained to guide the restoration and needed repairs of the structure. Dedicated volunteers received training and attended seminars to learn how to preserve and care for the collection of artifacts.

Each room was restored and decorated using items found in the house. Original wallpaper patterns have been reproduced for the majority of the rooms. Early light fixtures and lamps grace many rooms.

Restoration has been completed, but caring for the 130+ year old house continues. Cataloging and care of the extensive artifacts is still under way.

More About Miss Gladys Boldman

Born in 1908, Gladys M. Boldman was 4 years old when her family moved to the Dayton house. She graduated from Dayton High school in 1926, and then attended business college in Walla Walla. Miss Boldman became a career woman and worked as a secretary at the Marcus Whitman Hotel, the Governor Hotel in Olympia, and at the Boise Hotel in Idaho. Of the four Boldman daughters, Gladys was the only one to move outside the Dayton area. By the 1940s Mr. and Mrs. Boldman were ailing and Gladys was called home to care for them with their only other surviving daughter, Goldie.

Although Goldie and Gladys were quiet and reserved, they were active in Pythian Sisters and did seasonal work at the Dayton Green Giant cannery. Both were proud of their pioneer heritage and community roots, and enjoyed traveling. Gladys particularly liked Switzerland.

Miss Boldman lived in the family home until her death. Besides the bequest to the Dayton Historical Depot Society, her will also bequeathed funds for the care and preservation of the Pioneer Cemetery in Dayton. Miss Boldman, together with her family, is buried there.

The Boldman House Garden

The Boldman House Garden Committee, an all-volunteer group dedicated to the restoration of the Boldman grounds, has been working hard to restore the yard to replicate a 1910-1920 era American garden. A complete garden plan was developed in 2002.

The committee worked both from the garden plan and information received from Miss Boldman before her death, to purchase available heirloom plant species. Occasionally they had to substitute an improved variety more disease resistant. The 2002 Garden Plan is now completed.

Donations by gift and in memory of loved ones have funded the garden project. Funds from the Boldman House Self-sustaining Endowment provide maintenance of the grounds.

The garden will serve as an educational resource as visitors learn more about the history and requirements of the plants and about American gardening. An informational brochure lists the plants, their placement in the garden, and the names of donors.

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The Restoration Project - Wallpaper

During the removal of wallpaper, the Society discovered that the wallpaper had been installed on muslin over wood plank walls. The Smithsonian Institute helped identify the origin of the papers. The rosebud-strewn paper in the bedroom was purchased from Sears in 1925. The hall and kitchen paper date to the 1890's which is when the house became a Queen Anne Victorian.

Samples of the faded original wallpapers were reproduced by Wolffe House Art Papers and Jim Yates of Historic Wallpaper Specialties, who specializes in installing wallpaper on muslin, was contracted for the installation. From a photo of the original paper, the Stair/Hall paper was installed to mirror that of the original paperhanger.

This reproduction wallpaper may be purchased for individual use at Gary's Paint and Decorating, 114 S. 2nd Ave, Walla Walla, WA, 99362; 509-525-1553.

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