The following are some of the district’s key historic landmarks:    


North Main Street (south to north)     


Opera House  (339, 341 North Main).  Milford's two-story Opera House was built in 1875 by Samuel Ferguson and succeeded two former entertainment halls farther north on North Main Street.  The first floor consisted of two stores, the larger of which housed Ferguson's furniture business and the smaller of which housed Miss Mary Crawford's Toy & Fancy Goods Shop.  The second floor was designed and "fitted up" as a Public Hall, first known as Ferguson's Hall and then as Ferguson's Opera House.  As ownership changed it was later called Thornhill's Opera House and then Wilson's Opera House.  The Hall served Milford as a place for everything from public meetings to social events and entertainments.  It had a stage at the back, running the entire width of the building, with drop curtains, flies and painted scenery.    The Italianate store, constructed of red brick, retains its wooden bracketed cornice and window caps over large four-over-four windows on the front and the back of the second story.  The first floor front has been altered through the years and its iron columns are no longer visible.  The original two stores have been combined into one book store.  A recent restoration returned the first floor front to a more authentic classical appearance, with bracketed cornice.  The second floor, the "Hall," has been converted into an apartment.  The stage now serves as a dining area and kitchen, looking out through the original tall windows to the Lower Mill Pond and the railroad tracks at the rear of the building.  Two of the original doors remain on the main floor entries.    


Arms & Lovejoy Stores (361-367 North Main).  These two  two-story brick store buildings were both constructed in 1881 by Lowell & Greig, the south store for William A. Arms and the north store for Charles E. Lovejoy.  William A. Arms was the younger brother and partner in Arms Brothers Store, the first store in Milford.  The original store was founded in South Milford in 1836 and the business is listed as Michigan's oldest men's clothing store. The business itself was conducted in several other store buildings before ending up in this building in 1881.  It is still known as Arms Brothers.  Charles E. Lovejoy was a partner with his father in a bakery business in 1871, and later conducted a grocery business in several buildings on North Main Street before building this store in 1881.  He was also the President of Milford Village for some years. The buildings shared a common wall, were built by the same builders and were virtually identical in appearance, with wooden bracketed and dentiled cornices at the top of both first and second stories, ornate wooden window caps, cast iron pillars and similar first-floor fenestration.   The Arms building, at 361 North Main Street, retains its original cornices and window caps but has had alteration of its first floor front,  the entry and the glass panel above having been added in 1926.  The cast iron columns are no longer there.  The Lovejoy building, at 367 North Main Street, was drastically altered and lost all of its original trim.  In the 1980's it was restored to much of its original appearance.  The facing brick, however, is quite different from the original, as is the first floor front.     


Weaver & Watkins Block (371, 401, 405  North Main).  The three brick two-story Italianate stores making up this "block" were built in 1897 for Weaver & Watkins by Mr. Bovee of Northville.  The owners, John Weaver and John Watkins, were grocers who retired from this business when the block was finished and used the front part of the north store (405) as an office for their produce business.  The middle store (401) was rented by Newton B. Babcock for a grocery and crockery business.  Frank B. Hatch rented the south store (371) for his hardware business.  The three buildings forming the Weaver & Watkins Block are two-story brick Italianate structures with metal window caps and metal bracketed cornices above the second floor with finials at each building juncture. The middle store also has a date stone stating "Weaver & Watkins 1897."     The second story on the north store was extensively damaged in a 1953 tornado and has been repaired with new brick.  It also has a new cornice above the first floor.   


Hovey Building (432 North Main).  Dr. William F. Hovey, a physician from Fenton, had this commercial building built in 1868.  Dr. Hovey had his residence and his office on the second floor and rented the first floor to John S. Hewitt for a drugstore.  After Hewitt moved into his new drugstore next door north in 1872, Dr. Hovey rented his store to Mr. Orr for a clothing store.  In the next five years a total of four different clothing companies leased the store.   The red brick Italianate structure features arched brick caps set above its three windows and decorative corbeling at its cornice, which was added in 1871 to  correspond with that of the adjoining building being constructed next door north by druggist John S. Hewitt.  The windows retain some of their four-over-four sash.  The cast iron support columns are visible at the first floor front, though the wood cornice above the first floor and the original display windows are gone.  


Hewitt Building (436 North Main).  In 1871 J.S. Hewitt, a local druggist, began construction of this new brick store, next door to Dr. Hovey's brick building on the south where he had been doing business.  He moved his drugstore business into this store in March of 1872.  The fine graining and painting of its interior was done by S.M. Browne of the village.  The building remained a drugstore from that date until the 1970's, over one hundred years, through the ownership of William Porter and later of Ed Foster.  After Foster sold the building it became the offices of The Milford Times.  It has had a number of different tenants in recent years.  The Italianate structure still features decorative corbeling at its cornice and arched brick caps set above the three front windows.  The first floor front has been remodeled and no longer exhibits its cast iron support columns.   


St. John Building (440 North Main).  The only three-story building in Milford's commercial district, this store was built in 1871 by Oliver H. St. John, a jeweler.  The red brick Italianate building has two entrances, one on the front facing North Main Street and one on the side facing East Commerce Street.  Both entrances are crowned with elaborate bracketed cornices and the Commerce Street entrance retains its original display windows.  Elegant reeded iron columns are visible on both entrances.  The building had two entrances because Mr. St. John conducted his jewelry business in the front part of the building and Mr. J.L. Andrews occupied the rear part with his Exchange Bank.  This arrangement lasted only until 1875 when Mr. Andrews moved his bank to his newly constructed building at 319 North Main Street.  The building featured elaborate iron window caps and an iron cornice.  The original four-over-four windows, with their iron window caps intact, are visible on the Commerce Street side, but, unfortunately, a 1953 tornado badly damaged the front of the building.   The entire third floor front of the building was destroyed. A new cornice was built and new brick installed on the front of the third floor, keeping only two of the three windows. In repairing the damage the second floor window caps were not replaced. Mr. St. John left the jewelry business in 1875 and his store was leased to a number of different businesses through the years, even serving as the Milford post office for a time.  Interestingly enough, the first floor now serves again as a jewelry store.  The first tenants of the second floor were milliners.  A second-story exterior door, seen on the  Commerce Street side of the building, indicates the first use of the third floor.  Mr. St. John fitted it out for meeting and entertainment purposes and it was called St. John's Hall.  He purchased the settees from Tenny & Greig's Hall, located on the second floor of another three-story building which had been the local entertainment hall for several years.  These same settees were moved in 1875 to the new Opera House at 339 North Main Street, and went from there to the G.A.R. Hall on the lower end of North Main Street.  St. John's Hall was reached by climbing an outside set of stairs to the second-story door on the Commerce Street side of the building and then crossing the second floor to an inside set of stairs leading to the third floor.  Many years later the editor of The Milford  Times commented on the danger of this arrangement in case of fire, and remarked that this would not be allowed in modern times.  St. John's Hall was no longer used for such purposes after the Opera House was built in 1875.  Many years later the second and third floors were used by the Masonic order and now serve as living quarters and jewelry studio and workshop for the present owners.   


Dunning-Schoenemann House (514 North Main).  This story-and-a-half brick Greek Revival building was built in 1847 by George Dunning.  It is the first brick structure built in Milford Village.  John Sherwood  learned brick-making from his father in England, emigrated to America in 1844, purchased a farm west of Milford Village, and started a brickyard on his farm in 1845.  Bricks manufactured there were used to build this small structure.  The building was used as a home for many years, serving the Schoenemann family during the time that they ran a cooper shop just north of the house.  In the 1940's the building became "The Milford Style Shop" and was extensively remodeled, with large show windows replacing the original windows on the front, the rear return eaves removed and a large window placed in the front gable.  A small window was inserted into the entablature on the north side.  The building remained empty for seventeen years and was badly treated until it was condemned by the Village Council.  At that time the Foley brothers, whose aunt had been the last tenant, fully restored the house and returned it to useful life.  They removed the large display windows on the front and recreated six-over-six windows to match those remaining in other parts of the house, filling in the front between the windows with actual Sherwood bricks, made at the Sherwood brickyard and recovered from the home of John Sherwood's son when that house was razed.  An authentic window was restored to the front gable and the small window in the entablature was removed.  The return eaves on the rear were recreated, copying those remaining on the front.   Besides the features mentioned above, the house exhibits elaborate gable molding on the front and rear, return eaves and entablature under the eaves on both sides, with dentils on each element.  Since no pictures remained showing the original door frames, new frames were created, using examples from Early Homes of Ohio by I.T. Frary, published by Dover Publications, Inc., New York.  An interesting original feature of the house is the below-grade room in the front of the cellar, which served as a kitchen.  There were a door and two flanking windows, originally nine-over-six,  in the front of the coursed cobble foundation with a stair leading down to this entrance.   This room originally was plastered and had floor boards and an opening for a stovepipe.  The door, windows and stairs have been restored and the room used for businesses. The building has served as a commercial structure for a number of businesses since its restoration.            


East Commerce Street (west to east)  


Catholic Church, Our Lady, Queen of the Snows  (219 East Commerce).  Milford's Catholic congregation first met in the home of, and then above the store of, Daniel Morrison, a local merchant.  Their first church building was a wood frame structure built in 1868 on First Street at Summit Street, at the top of what came to called "Catholic Hill."   In 1903 the congregation moved the wood frame Greek Revival house which stood on the northwest corner of East Commerce and Hickory Streets, and which served as the Catholic rectory, to the north, where it still stands, and began the construction of this striking Gothic style edifice. It was constructed of local field stone with artificial stone trimmings and a slate roof.   The stones were brought from the fields of neighboring farmers in horse-drawn wagons and skilled stonecutters were engaged to create this unique edifice.  The plans, drawn by Architect Harry J. Rill of Detroit, were accepted April 1, 1903, and the contract was let some weeks later to Adolphus Kuehnle of Howell, who carried on the work of construction during the summer. Before the end of the season, however, Kuehnle became bankrupt and forfeited his contract, after which the contract was carried on mostly by the day, H.A. Lowell overseeing the carpenter work and John Maloney and W.J. Cochran doing a  large share of the stone work. There was also a change of architects, the work being completed under the direction of Donaldson & Meier. It was not completed until 1907.  The ground plan is mainly a parallelogram with slight extensions on either side toward the north, giving it the modified cruciform effect.  The stone work has projecting points at the corners and forms small stone buttresses along the front and both sides.  The windows are of cathedral glass with three large rose windows, one each on the south, east and west sides.  Stone arched stained-glass memorial windows line the front and each side.   The interior woodwork is of red oak and the vestibule is tiled.  The front of the building features a 60 foot, square stone tower with three arched windows on each face.  This edifice served the Catholic congregation until 1966, when a new church was built east of Milford.  It was the church of the Assembly of God until the 1990's, when it was sold. It no longer serves as a religious structure and is now used as a fitness studio and offices.  


H.J. Lee House (322 East Commerce).  In 1906 H.J. Lee, a hardware dealer, moved the small wood frame one-and-a-half story Greek Revival house that stood on the southwest corner of East Commerce and East Streets to the next lot south and had this two-and-a-half story cement block house built in its place.  The house is a hip-roofed American Foursquare style structure that utilized the new textured cement blocks that had just arrived in Milford. There are bracketed wood eaves on the roof.  The house features a first story porch on the front supported by painted round wood pillars, with a bracketed triangular pediment.  There is a projecting bracketed bay window on the west side and three hip-roofed dormers in the roof.  The house is "a modern one and equipped with all the up-to-date conveniences." (The Milford Times June 2, 1906)  It is 30 by 30 feet square, with three good-sized rooms and reception hall below and four bedrooms and bath above.  


Wheeler/Hubbell House (522 East Commerce).  Harry Wheeler, a local teacher, had this  two-story wood frame Late Victorian upright-and-wing house built in 1880.  Then, in 1897, Frank Hubbell, a local merchant who did much to promote and update his hometown, made extensive alterations to the structure, transforming it into an excellent example of a Queen Anne house.  He added a large curved veranda with turned balusters and support columns on the north and west sides of the west wing, with a bracketed triangular pediment above, and added decorative scrollwork in the original gables on the front and west side.  A collection of gables of varying pitch break up the roof line in typical Queen Anne style.  Above the porch and above a projecting bay on the second floor are gables with carved sunbursts. Another gable has a surface of decorative fish-scale shingles. A hip-roofed dormer is in the roof which was added to the west wing.  There is an early wood frame barn on the property.   


P.F. Wells House (800 East Commerce).  One of Milford's outstanding examples of the Italianate Villa style, so popular in the 1850's and 1860's, is this graceful wood frame house built by Phillip F. Wells in 1869.  Wells was the son of Phillip Wells who, with the Hebbard Brothers, developed the Upper Mill Pond in 1846 and used its water power for his foundry on North Main Street.  (His two sons, Phillip F. and Daniel Webster Wells, moved the foundry south to the Huron River in 1865, where it stood for many years.)    It is a hip-roofed asymmetric house with elaborate bracketing under the eaves and on the bays, classical pilasters and support pillars on the porches and a double-leafed door with transom lights.  With its east and west wings it has a modified cruciform shape.  The house features three porches, a small one at the front entry and two side porches on the west, all with classical support pillars and with railed balconies above.   Classical pilasters are found at each corner.   There is a projecting bay on the front beside the entry with brackets above and panels below.  Unusual tasseled drip moldings top the four-over-four windows and the doorways.                     Inside, the house retains its wide, open stairway that rises to a huge hallway above, the original wide-plank floors and the intricate carved moldings.  There is a modern wing added to the rear of the house.      


Hebbard House (819 East Commerce Street).  The four Hebbard brothers, William Bradford, Ira, Alvah and Sterling, came to Milford in the 1840's and were instrumental in developing the Upper Pettibone water power, the Pettibone Grist Mill, the woolen mill and the early stagecoach inn.  Ira Hebbard built this Greek Revival house, probably in 1856, on a 26-acre farm on the east side of Milford.  Hebbard sold it to Thomas Chappell, and Chappell sold it in 1872 to Hiram M. Van Leuven, who ran a general store on Main Street.  The house remained in the Van Leuven family for many years.  The house is a story-and-a-half upright-and-wing house which features typical Greek Revival elements such as gable molding, return eaves, entablature with eyebrow windows, six-over-six windows and a porch across the front of the east wing.  The front porch, which has flush siding like that on the porch of the Hibbard Tavern), has been restored to its original appearance with square wood support pillars.    Inside, the removal of carpeting revealed wide-board pine floors, and early pine wainscoting was discovered under layers of paint and wallpaper.  Throughout the house are early batten doors and two-panel doors with original latches.  Much of the old glass in the windows has survived.  The west part of the kitchen was once a parlor off the back of the house and was "swung around" to its present location.    Upstairs, the master bedroom gets its only daylight from the three small eyebrow windows.    There is a small early wood frame barn behind the house.    


East Liberty Street (west to east)  


Barton House (311 East Liberty).  Milford's only example of the Chateauesque Style, sometimes referred to as the Richardson Romanesque Style, is really a very eclectic house whose design also shows evidence of Queen Anne and Colonial Revival  influence.  Built in 1899 by George Barton, who owned an ice business and a monument company in Milford, the house has a massive cylindrical tower topped with a conical, "candle-snuffer" roof with a finial at its peak.  The shingle siding on the tower is typical of the style, but the second story bay and beveled corners owe  more to the Queen Anne Style as does the brick and stone veranda with round wood columns.  Beneath the porch is decorative cut-out wood screening.  The Palladian and cross-shaped windows in the four gables in the top story herald the beginning of the Colonial Revival.  In front of the house are the original carriage step at the curb with the Barton name, and a sidewalk block with "Liberty St." cut into it in the front walk.  The house rests on a raised cut-stone foundation. The sidewalk running past the house is of cut stone.  Inside, the house still has an Italian marble corner fireplace with wood panels, mirror, pedestals, columns, scrolls and a Franklin coal grate.  The original light fixtures with cut and frosted glass globes are intact as is the wooden fretwork above four interior archways.  There are also an "indoor outhouse" and a floor-to-ceiling ice box with an outside opening for ice


Byrne House (312 East Liberty).  Patrick Byrne, who owned the lumber yard at N. Main and W. Liberty, built this story-and-a-half wood frame Dutch Colonial Revival house in 1908.  It features the gambrel roof typical of this style, with gambrel gables on three sides and a large triangular gable and a small dormer on the west side.  The cement block and stone recessed porch across the front has a projecting triangular pediment with a sunburst above the steps, and is supported by round painted-wood columns.  The gambrel gables are filled with fish-scale shingles and form triangular pediments at the top, in which are small, latticed windows.  There are projecting bay window on the east side and west side and leaded glass windows.  The house rests on a cut-stone foundation.    Inside, the paneled staircase and the original oak woodwork in the living room and dining room survive and the woodwork in the den has been milled to match.  The original oak mantel in the living room and the chair rail in the dining room have been reinstalled.   


Hill House (317 East Liberty).  A Milford example of the popular Bungalow style of architecture is this house, built in 1913 by G. Fred Hill, a Milford Township farmer, as his retirement home.  It is a charming mix of Bungalow and Period Revival styles.  It exhibits the wide overhanging eaves, which form a broad front porch, and the stucco surface, both of which are Bungalow elements, but the half-timbering appearance in the second floor derives from the Stick Style, which sometimes imitated English Tudor houses.  The Palladian windows in the top story reflect the Georgian Revival and the sidelights beside the front door recall the Greek revival.  The house and porch have a cobblestone foundation, stained and polished wood porch columns, a pediment above the entry on the porch and a cobblestone chimney.  There are projecting bays on the porch and on the east side and a small projecting bay on the west at the landing of the inside staircase.  Most windows display leaded or stained glass. Inside is found most of the original oak woodwork, a lovely oak staircase and the original oak fireplace with ceramic tiles.  


A.V. Austin House (401 East Liberty).  Andrew V. Austin, a local grocer who also served in the state legislature and in the Civil War, built this house in the Victorian Gothic style in 1872.  It was at that time a gabled-ell building with a one-story wing, fronting on East Street, with porches in both ells. Then, in 1897, he completely remodeled the house, turning it into an excellent example of the Queen Anne style At that time he raised the one-story portion to the height of the main part and made many other changes, mainly in the elaborate wood ornamentation of the exterior.  He also added another gable above the second story, giving the house a typical Queen Anne look.  Inside he set up a new mantel and had tiling laid for the grate.  The house underwent ill treatment and much remodeling through the years until it was close to a demand for demolishing.  The present owners have carried out a complete restoration, utilizing a photo of the house taken shortly after its 1897 remodeling.  Reconstruction of the extensive wood scroll trim and the spandrels on both porches and the railing on the hip-roofed dormer above the west side porch has been completed and the house now looks as it did in 1897.  Eastlake wood trim occupies  each gable and the front porch gable exhibits fish-scale shingles.  The large, slightly projecting windows on the south and west wings are original to the 1897 remodeling,  as are the three small windows with colored panes on the one-story east wing.  The interior shutters on these small windows are original.