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By Myrl C. Gilchrist

MILESTONES VOL. 7 NO. 2--Spring 1982

The present house at 908 Western Avenue, Brighton Township in Beaver County was built by John Wolf Jr. in two stages. He acquired the land in 1805 for a fee of $10.63

The bricks used in this structure were made on the location. The right portion, as viewed from the front, was built in 1808 and consisted of one room -- used as a living room, dining room and kitchen. A large hall with stairs leads to a small hall bedroom and a large bedroom directly over the living room. Another stairway leads from the upper hall to a large lathed and plastered attic.

The living room-kitchen had a large open fireplace with cranes and other devices for suspending cooking vessels over the open fire. This fireplace was sealed when a central (hot air) heating system was installed in later years.

The hewn joists used for the first floor of the initial project were believed to be taken from Fort McIntosh. (John Wolf Jr. had lived in a part of the old fort while he built or helped build houses in Beaver.)

During a second construction phase what is now called the parlor was built with a large bedroom above. The hewn joists for the first floor of this part were also taken from a part of the fort.

The fireplace in the "new" part is a device manufactured with cast iron shaker grates, steel dampers and ornamented cast steel enclosure parts. The firebox is lined with fire tile. This device is in one piece and can easily be moved out of the chimney opening for cleaning or repair. Most likely this was a large open, log-burning fireplace originally and equipped later with the present more sophisticated device. An open fireplace also exists in the second floor bedroom.

Flooring for both parts of the house consists of tongue-and-groove random width boards a full one inch thick. Where the floor boards meet end to end they are cut at a forty-five degree slant. It is believed by some authorities that the flooring is of cucumber wood.

An artist's sketch in Caldwell's Beaver County Atlas published in 1976, shows a tiny front porch and a replaced by a frame addition, also two stories high. This original house. It is known that at one time a dug well existed at a point near the center of the present kitchen.

The back door of the original kitchen opened near this well which, of course, has been filled in. This door was well grooved by claw scratches, evidently made by a large dog signaling to be let in from the cold. The door was removed and is carefully preserved in the attic together with the original hardware.

A two-story ell to the back was later removed and replaced by a frame addition, also two stories high. This frame ell consisted of a dining room and kitchen below and a bedroom and large bathroom above. It had a double chimney and the stove could be used in all four rooms. The upper rooms were reached by the central hall stairway with a four-step flight from the landing into a hall from which access was obtained to the bedroom and bathroom.