605 HICKORY STREET
In 1866, Charles T. Riley, a local grocer, built this small Victorian Gothic Home. Charles came to Milford in 1845 from England with his first wife, Sarah. He married his second wife, Mary Ann Potts, in Milford in 1877 (her third marriage). Charles and Mary Ann lived here until selling the house to James Watkins in 1881.
Watkins was a partner in Weaver & Watkins, grocers and grain dealers. James Watkins started as a farmer, outside of Milford. He moved to town when he went into business with Weaver. The house was passed on to his son, John.
Other owners have included the bachelor Duffy brothers, then Mr. and Charlotte (Darling) Vradenburg. Charlotte (known as “Toot”) operated a beauty salon in the main parlor for years.
425 HICKORY STREET
This home started as a log cabin built by Simon Grattan for his son, Alvin, a minor in 1842. Alvin took ownership the next year. The Grattan’s moved to Iowa within the decade.
In 1872, E. Bend is listed as owner. The house was remodeled into a small Greek Revival, retaining parts of the original cabin, such as the south wall. The front room was then two rooms, with a pipe stove in the south and stairs in the dining area. The dining room was added later.
405 EAST COMMERCE STREET
Purchasing the land from William Hebbard in 1851, Charles Doolittle Childs built this house and moved in with his second wife, Louisa Hamilton Childs, his daughter Harriet (b: 1845) and son George (B: 1847) .
Dr. Wm. Baughn bought the house in 1877. One of the more tragic stories from this home’s history is that of Dr. William D. Baughn, a dentist and his wife Ann Eliza, who lived here with their only son, Thurman. Thurman was a very gifted young man who did sketches for the Milford Times and in 1892 was the first to ride a bicycle in Milford! In 1893, at the age of 16, Thurman was the salutatorian of his Milford High School class.
Unfortunately, young Thurman was shot while hunting with friends in fall of 1893, contracted lockjaw and died. There is a large family monument to his memory in Milford’s Oak Grove Cemetery.
1003 E. COMMERCE STREET
Louis A. Nicholson, an electrician, and his wife Johanna purchased Lot 29 in Moore’s subdivision. In 1937, Louis and Johanna built the house at 1003 E. Commerce and lived in it until 1944. Nicholson purchased Lot 30 before 1940, but did not build on it.
The house at 1003 Commerce has always had that address, although the front door has had three locations, two of which faced the side on East Street. The foundations are an amalgam of at least three major building periods, as is the roof, with its unusual pattern. For much of its life, it was a rental property and was once owned by the Episcopalian church.
323 EAST COMMERCE STREET
Philo Slaughter owned the entire south end of Block 17, Phelps plat from 1865-
Dr. Johnston’s house is an Italianate style. It is the only house in Milford with a “widow’s walk”, “cupola” or “observatory” on top. The Milford Times reported on Dec. 3, 1881 that “Dr. Johnston is having an observatory built on his residence, which will add much to the architectural appearance on his place.”
In 1896, Johnston sold 60 frontage feet of land west of his house to George B. Johns who built the homes still standing on that lot.