Historic Preservation Committee Awards Grant

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img_0703By Terry Rogers

On Tuesday, October 11, Milford Historic Preservation Committee awarded a grant for up to $4,000 to Frank and Mary Alice Mott, owners of the historic home located at 209 S. Walnut Street. According to Patti Persia, chairperson of the committee, only two applications were received for the grant that was implemented this year through Downtown Milford Inc.

“We were looking for someone in need, with a historic home that was their personal residence,” Ms. Persia said. “The Mott’s were chosen because they were obviously in need of help and we felt it would make a huge impact on our downtown area. 

The Mott’s were surprised with the news that they had been awarded the grant when they were invited to attend the regular meeting of the Milford Historic Preservation Committee meeting. The Mott’s said that they were working on the house using their own funds and had done extensive work to the interior when Ms. Mott lost her job and they were unable to complete any work on the outside.

“We have lived here since 2001 and we really have done a lot of work on the inside,” Ms. Mott said. “We are so appreciative. My husband will attest to the fact that it has been my number one waking and sleeping frustration that we could not make the outside of this house look as good as the inside.”

The Milford Historic Preservation Committee has been working for three years to raise money for the grant fund that is designed to repair the façade of historic homes in the area. Ms. Persia said that several members of the committee, including one who owns a construction business, will sit down with the Mott’s to discuss what the committee will be able to do.

“We plan to work with the homeowners to determine their actual needs, but most likely it will be painting the porch and front of the home,” Ms. Persia said. “We may also be able to replace or repair trim and do some landscaping out front.”
Alphonso and Ruth Humes were married in 1928 and lived in the Mulholland Apartments in what is now the parking lot behind the old M&T Bank Building, according to Harry and Carolyn Humes. Harry Humes is the son of Alphonso and Ruth. They moved to 209 S. Walnut Street, a home that was originally built by Sam Evens, a jeweler. Mr. Evans built a new home at 207 S. Walnut Street where the DMI office is now located.

Mr. Humes remembers Mr. Evens who was his neighbor for many years. He said that Mr. Evens was a jeweler and optician whose store was located what was Pettyjohn’s Pharmacy on North Walnut Street.

screen-shot-2016-10-22-at-10-51-44-am“He sold silver items for weddings as well as silverware,” Mr. Humes said. “He would measure your eyes and make your eye glasses. He as an outstanding member of the First Presbyterian Church. He loved classical music for hours.” Mr. Humes said that there was a sun porch on the north side of the house where Mr. Evens and his wife, Cora, would sit and read.

In addition to sitting in the sun porch, Mr. and Mrs. Evens would sit on the front porch and entertain friends and neighbors. Mr. Humes remembered a man tying his horse and buggy to the telephone pole in front of the house, then walking downtown do his shopping or go to a movie.

Mr. Humes said that he remembered Mr. Evens as a very kind man. He said that towards the end of Mr. Evens life, he told Mr. Humes’ mother that he thought he was a “perfect Christian” to which Mrs. Humes replied that no one was perfect.

“I believe Harry’s parents bought it around 1930 because his sister, Ruthie, was born in 1929,” Mrs. Humes said. “Al and Ruth moved to Newport, Rhode Island, to live with their daughter, Claire, sometime around 1987 or 1988.” Alphonso grew up in the home located at 404 S. Walnut Street which was built by his father, James Harry Humes, for his bride, Clara Small of Lincoln.

The Milford Historic Preservation Committee hopes to begin work on the façade of the Mott home in the next few months.

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