Historic house comes down: Preservationists lose battle to save 1790 building

An historic house on Gulf Street was demolished this week.

The house was expected to be demolished last week, but the owners were waiting for a demolition permit to be approved.

The home is the Elijah Bryan House, built about 1790, and located at 250 Gulf Street. The current owner applied for a demolition permit in June, and Milford’s city historian imposed a 90-day delay on the demolition, which provided a short window of time for concerned parties to seek out alternative solutions, such as finding a buyer for the house.

Former City Historian Richard Platt said the house was significant because of its architecture, which is a Dutch half gambrel, similar to the Sanford-Bristol house on North Street that was saved from demolition at the beginning of the year.

“It’s one of six historically significant houses in Milford,” Platt said. “Three of them are on Gulf Street.”

According to city records, the house was owned by the late Donald and June Poland. A demolition sign in front of the house noted that it is owned by the couple’s son, Lance Poland, who has not yet been reached for comment.

Milford preservationists had been trying to save the house. Sources said the preservationists recently raised more than $200,000 in 24 hours, with the understanding that the owners might sell for that price. The deal fell through, though.

Platt said he planned to avoid Gulf Street because he didn’t want to see the house coming down.

He hopes the family will give local preservationists or the historical society a piece of the house — something historic — to remain in city hands as a reminder of the historic building.

Michele Chesson Kramer, president of the Milford Preservation Trust, said, “The loss of the Elijah Bryan House is a loss for the entire city of Milford. This house withstood the American Revolution, the Civil War and countless storms. Ultimately what it could not withstand is indifference. Indifference, to history and heritage, is what the Milford Preservation Trust is trying to combat.”