To the Editor:
As the festivities marking the 375th anniversary of Milford’s founding draw to a conclusion — with parades and galas behind us — Milford residents would do well to take note of the city’s dwindling collection of 18th century homes.
We should ask ourselves how much of Milford’s colonial heritage will be on display for the 400th anniversary. When residents and visitors gather in 2039, will they have to rely on photographs of our built heritage? What will our streetscapes look like when Dutch gambrels and 18th century saltboxes have been replaced by overscale apartment complexes?
Two houses on Gulf Street, #234 and #250, are in jeopardy right now; lying outside of the two historic districts, they are not protected and homeowners are free to do what they will. Number 250 Gulf Street is scheduled for demolition in mid September.
Though they lie outside Historic District #1 and the South of the Green Historic District, doesn’t it stand to reason that homes dating back to the year 1740 or 1760 deserve protection and stewardship? Isn’t it incumbent upon the owner of such a house to preserve it for future generations? Why else buy one, if not for an appreciation of antique homes and a keen interest in history?
In these challenging times, when many are struggling to make ends meet, it is easy to dismiss historic preservation as a “luxury issue” best left to dilettantes, dabblers and retirees. Yet those gaping holes where a 17th or 18th century home once stood diminish us all: Our New England small towns are simply not the same, and will never be the same, without them.
As the observation of the 375th anniversary of Milford’s founding draws to a close, let us all vow to cherish and protect what remains.
Milford Preservation Trust