Long before the Grundy family moved to Bristol, a brick house with two sycamore trees in the rear was here on Radcliffe Street. This original house was built around 1818, by William Heiss, a coppersmith. His house appears to have been a typical Federal style side hall house. The semi-circular window on the attic floor of the North façade is likely original to the 1818 structure.
By 1834, the house had passed onto a second owner, Captain Joseph B. Hutchinson, who built an addition onto the Southside of the house, which is today the Drawing Room. When the Captain died in 1875, he did not have a will, and the settling of the estate took several years. During this time, the William and Mary Grundy and their two children rented the property, finally being able to purchase it from the estate in 1884.
William Grundy was a modern minded man and undertook a year-long endeavor to implement extensive renovations that brought in all of the latest technology available at the time. The house featured gas lighting, running hot and cold water on four stories, large glass windows and a forced hot air furnace. This same thoroughness was shown to the finishing of the house, especially in its extremely fine wood work and Eastlake inspired designs.The house was enlarged, with rooms built to the east and west of Captain Hutchinson’s addition. The new remodel created a compact, well designed Queen Anne home which was new and very popular. The Grundy’s spent a year remodeling the house and it appears it all didn’t go as smoothly as planned. In a letter dated August 1885, Joseph laments to his sister Margaret that they might have been better off if they had just torn down the original house and started from scratch!
Today the rooms of the house are appointed in the finest décor of the Gilded Age as if the family had just stepped out for the afternoon.