The original house, built in 1880, started as a small three-room home. Joseph and Rosine Woldstein 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. This 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 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 member of the family, died at the age of 91 and left her estate to the Dayton Historical Depot Society. Miss Boldman’s will directed that her 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, continues to carry 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 rooms were remodeled to serve as a museum office and storage area.
The house and its contents form an extraordinary and unique time capsule. Because everything in the house belonged to one nuclear family of savers, the variety and volume of these artifacts give a unique and detailed history of a family and how they lived and interacted with the community and the changing times.
Artifacts Architectural Consulting of Tacoma guided 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. Caring for and preserving the 130+ year old house continues. Cataloging and care of the extensive collection of artifacts is still underway.