In May the historic Causey Mansion in downtown Milford received two new owners as Joe Phillips and Jan Broulik purchased the property from the Connolley family. Already creating several aesthetically pleasing improvements to the property that sits at the southern end of Milford’s downtown district, Phillips and Broulik will continue the operations of the bed and breakfast and are excited to be actively involved with the local community.
Raised in Bladensburg, MD, Phillips served in the United States Navy for 22 years as a dental technician retiring in 2001 and was the manager of the Edgemoor Club in Bethesda, MD from 2001 until moving to Milford. Broulik, a self-proclaimed “Navy brat”, was born in Charleston, SC but spent most of his life in Chevy Chase, MD. He received a degree in Music with a minor in Art from George Washington University in DC. The two met in DC 20 years ago and ever since have shared a love for historical properties, collections of unique antiques and architectural pieces. Phillips and Broulik are previous owners of Rossdhu Gate in Chevy Chase, MD, the surviving gatehouse to a demolished 30 room Scottish-inspired castle that was built by the early 20th century socialite Daisy Calhoun. While the couple was enticed by Delaware’s low property taxes, the grandeur of the Causey Mansion brought them to Milford.
“When we saw the house we loved it, the land, the style and the history were very attractive,” commented Phillips. “We like Milford because it is quiet and it is nice to be able to walk everywhere, we had enough of the DC crowds and traffic.”
The Causey Mansion, which was built in 1763 for landowner, magistrate and vestryman Levin Crapper, has the distinction of housing two of Delaware’s Governors; Governor Rogers and Causey. Placed on the The National Register by the U.S. Department of Interior, the bright yellow exterior and brilliant white columns take visitors back to antebellum Delaware and the feel of life on a plantation, as during Crapper’s lifetime the mansion was a working farm. The home stands on a triangle of land where Causey Avenue, South Walnut Street and Southeast Second Street meet. The Joseph Holland family called the mansion home in 1901 until Captain Wilson M. Vinyard purchased the property in 1931. Captain Vinyard owned and operated the Vinyard Shipyard in Milford.
The Causey Mansion is a testament to the desire of many Milford residents to not only preserve the history of the town but to share that history with others. Phillips and Broulik are excited to be part of the history of the property’s preservation efforts and have already carried out efforts to help beautify the grounds by planting trees and flowers that highlight the mix of Georgian and Greek Revival architecture. The formal boxwood garden and grounds of the three-acre historic site host eight bedrooms, four of which are guest rooms, a drawing room, music room, library and formal dining room. The new owners will continue a recent tradition of the estate as the property will remain a bed and breakfast and be available for special occasions, such as weddings.
“We want to make the grounds a showcase, hosting weddings and other events,” said Broulik. “Hopefully this will attract people here to Milford.”
Already becoming an active part of the local community, Phillips and Broulik have been involved with organizations such as Downtown Milford Inc. and the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford and have enjoyed community events including the Farmers’ Market and the Milford Community Parade. Now homeowners and businessmen in a new town, the two have stated that they have been welcomed with open arms by the residents of Milford.
“We’ve enjoyed meeting the local people while we are out working in the yard. I’m amazed how nice everyone is. Walking down the street everyone says hello,” commented Broulik. “The passers-by give us a thumbs up for our efforts, so we’d like to return the favor and give Milford a thumbs up.”