The David Bradford House
Located in Washington, Pennsylvania, and built in 1788, the David Bradford House is the former home of lawyer and Deputy Attorney General of Washington County. Bradford was also one of the leaders of the failed Whiskey Rebellion of 1794. The home is a magnificent example of late 18th century, Georgian architecture.
Backstory and Context
Construction on the house began in 1786 and, upon its completion, the stone house was considered mansion-like for the time period and its frontier location. Built from stone quarried nearby, the house also contains a solid mahogany staircase, exquisite woodworking and fixtures that had to be imported from as far away as Philadelphia.
The Bradford family only lived in the home until 1794 as Bradford, and later his family, fled to Spanish held West Florida rather than face government retribution for his role in the Whiskey Rebellion. The rebellion was in response to a high excise tax placed on whiskey which the frontiersmen refused to pay, going so far as to run off tax collectors. President Washington then responded by dispatching 13,000 troops to the county that would be, ironically, named after him.
The house fell into disrepair after serving as a furniture and coffin shop in the early 20th century. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission acquired control of the property in 1959 and promptly had the site restored to its 18th century glory. It was during these renovations that a secret tunnel that led to a nearby ravine was discovered, which probably was meant to serve as an escape route. Period furnishings, landscaping, a well house, and a detached log kitchen have since been added to the site. The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1983.