Holiday house tour December 12 spotlights Milford’s historic homes

Fresh greens, lighted mantels and classic ornaments will be part of the Milford Historic Homes Holiday Open House Tour Saturday, spotlighting some of Milford’s oldest homes.

The holiday tour, which hasn’t taken place in Milford in about 20 years, is sponsored by the Milford Preservation Trust, and is set for Saturday, Dec. 12, from 2 to 5:30 p.m. The snow date is Sunday, Dec. 13.

People can tour historic homes along the duck pond: The six stopping points are the John Downs house and First Church; a circa 1880 home at 104 West River Street; the Abigail and Rev. Samuel Andrew house, circa. 1685, at 124 North Street; 133 North Street, which is the Harvey Beach House, circa 1860, and 61 North Street, the Buckingham House, circa 1640.

Michele Kramer and her family own the house at 104 West River Street, and this weekend she was ready to offer a sneak peek at what tour participants will see.

“Mine is probably the least interesting of the houses,” she quipped, pointing out that it is one of the “youngest” houses on the tour, dating back to 1880.

The cross gable with Queen Anne influence home features 11 rooms: The downstairs will be decorated with fresh greens and accents that Kramer has collected over the years. Mulled cider will be served on the porch outside, welcoming people to the home.

Elsie-Marie Clark’s 1639 seven-room saltbox on North Street, which is the Buckingham House, will offer visitors a view of some classic holiday decorations in the living room, dining room and library. Clark’s home is already bursting with the aroma and feel of the holidays, with fireplace mantels tastefully topped with angels and lights, and holiday decorations throughout.

“They are decorations that we collected over the years,” Clark said, noting that some of the pieces are handmade, like the huge wreath on the front door.

In addition to the holiday decor, visitors will get a chance to see a range of furnishings, including Federal style, Colonial style and modern pieces, reflecting the different periods this North Street house has seen.

The other properties will be similarly festive, with homeowners adding their own personal touches with information about their decor and the homes themselves.

The Mlford Preservation Trust, having fought battles in recent years to save historic homes in Milford, decided the best way to encourage preservation and appreciation for historic homes was to show them off.

“Some of the homes are absolutely period inside, and some are quite contemporary,” Kramer said.

Sometimes people shy away from buying homes in historic districts because they believe there are too many restrictions placed on style and customization. But historic district regulations only apply to the outside of the house, not the inside, Kramer said.

The upcoming tour will include docent-led walks through the six structures, and former City Historian Richard Platt will act as the roving historian, answering questions and offering historic commentary.

Local historian Tim Chaucer will man the John Downs house, also known as the Minuteman House. The city-owned property is the former home of John Downs, a Milford Minuteman who kept a diary of his days.

Volunteers, including local teenagers, will serve as escorts along the tour, and each house visit will include a brochure of the house with information about its history.

People can park and begin the tour at the John Downs house, 139 North Street, or the First Congregational Church, 34 West Main Street.

Tickets, $15, or $25 for a couple, can be purchased at Canvas Patch at 5 River Street; Why Not, 8 Broad Street, or online at Tickets also will be sold at the door at the John Downs house and the First Congregational Church.

Kramer said the Milford Preservation Trust would like to expand the tour in coming years to include Gulf Street and Woodmont properties.

For additional information contact: Milford Preservation Trust,, Michele Kramer at, or Elsie-Marie Clark at