Volunteers at the 181o House have been busy shaking off the winter dust and finishing up their spring cleaning to reopen for the season.
The 1810 House, located at 1926 Waller St., is a historic farm homestead that represents a piece of Portsmouth’s rich history.
After Aaron and Mary Kinney moved from Pennsylvania in 1797, they moved to Portsmouth and purchased the land for the house in 1804. A temporary cabin was built to house the couple and their four children until the completion of the main structure in 1810. Nine more children were born to the couple with the last child dying two weeks after her birth.
As the Kinney children grew up, they became active leaders in the Portsmouth community and six Kinney Homes were built in Portsmouth. With the exception of the 1810 House on Waller, all the Kinney homes are now privately owned.
The Kinney’s son Henry occupied the house and then Henry’s daughter, Isabel, resided in the house until her death in 1946.
The original structure had only four rooms — two upstairs and two downstairs. In 1812, additions were made but the most drastic renovations occurred in 1913 when the front door and windows were shifted toward the west, facing Waller Street. The tall porch columns were added to update the farmhouse, matching the other city homes that were being built.
After Isabel Kinney died, the Scioto County Historical Society purchased the house from All Saints Episcopal Church and it opened to the public in the 1970s.
The house is currently run by volunteers and serves as a small museum.
Instead of walking through showrooms of glass panes and roped-off areas, visitors can walk the same floors that the home’s residents walked for decades.
“You could spend hours here, there are just so many things to see and each object has a story, you look at these things and you just think ‘what happened to them?’ They all belonged to someone and now they’re here,” Volunteer Dorothy Justus said.
The home featured the first Franklin stove, the first vineyard and it was the first to feature carpet. The Kinney’s had the first military funeral in the area, and one of the Kinney’s daughters married the first doctor, Dr. Waller.
The items on display range from the 17th century all the way up until 1946, the year Isabel Kinney died. All of the items were either originally owned by the Kinney’s or donations from the time period made community members.
The house is open Sunday afternoons, from 2 until 4 p.m. until December. There is no cost for admission, however donations are always appreciated and needed for the upkeep of the house. Group tours can be arranged by calling Dorothy Justus, at 740-876-4050.
If you’re interested in learning more about the 1810 house, or becoming a volunteer, the annual meeting will be held May 21, at 10 a.m. If you can’t attend the meeting, but still want to volunteer, you can find more information by contacting Lindsey Kegley at 740-353-2994 or Sue Burke at 740-354-1621.
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-353-3101 ext 1932 or via Twitter @PDT_Ciara