Glenn's Hometown News: A family's perfectly preserved history in - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Glenn's Hometown News: A family's perfectly preserved history in Dayton

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DAYTON, WA - For this edition of Glenn's Hometown News, Glenn Cassie visited the charming town of Dayton, Washington. Dayton was founded in the 1860's, and with a population 2,500. It hasn't changed much since then, with its streets still lined with many of the original buildings. 30 years ago, it underwent a $3 million restoration program and created a national historic district.

The Boldman House Museum, located just a few blocks off Main Street, has one mission - to bring to life the family home of the Boldmans, who lived here for 87 years. Sylvia Beuhler, the docent here for the past 4 years, says the museum is a special place.

"All of the stuff, all of the furniture, everything in the home is something that belonged to the Boldman family," Beuhler said.

The house was built in 1880, with the second story added on a bit later, as well as additional rooms and a full basement. The Boldmans, who were farmers, purchased the home in 1912, where they raised 4 daughters who lived here for nine decades. Before it became a museum, it needed a lot of work.

"Like the back of the house, some of the rooms back there were pulling away from the original house," Beuhler said. "The front porch needed to be replaced."

Gladys, the youngest daughter, willed the house and an endowment for the house's upkeep to the Dayton Historic Depot Society when she passed away at age 91, in 1999. In her will, she wanted the house restored to its original form, which took nearly 10 years to complete as the family saved everything: furniture, musical instruments, cookware, and sewing machines.

"One of my favorite pieces in the house is their father's easy chair. So, it's kind of a mid-1920's recliner with a foot rest."

The recliner sits in a sort of early 20th Century man-cave, complete with a phonograph, a pre-cursor to the phonograph, and a nearly mint-condition 100-year-old organ. Music was clearly a big part of the Boldman life.

There's also plenty of books, including some classics like Uncle Tom's Cabin and Gone With The Wind. 

"I think at that point in time, you had uh, 4 daughters, and the daughters, and part of their education was learning the music," said Beuhler.

The daughters saved everything, not just music-related items either. The house is adorned with all of the original furniture, light fixtures, the kitchen stove, old photos, and trinkets galore. There are some real treasures.

"My favorite thing right now is being able to read one of the diaries from the second daughter. And she's talking about daily life from 1931 to 1936, and it's fascinating."

With nearly 90 years of artifacts and personal belongings inside the home, there is much to see for the history buff. And it's all in flawless condition. One of Glenn's favorites, though, was a 1930's Chevrolet he found in the garage that still runs today. After an afternoon well spent, he asked Beuhler what she thinks draws people here.

"They do come in because it does remind them of their past," she said. "It reminds them of their grandparents. People my age come in and go, oh yes, I'm still using that."

The Dayton Historic Depot Society did an incredible job, as the house is stunning. The basement is full of newspapers and magazines that the Boldmans read, to greeting cards, and even receipts for nearly everything in the home, and it's all completely categorized by date. It truly is a remarkable place to visit your next time in Dayton.

If you have a great story waiting to be told in your hometown, send Glenn an email at glenn.cassie@nbcrightnow.com.

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