Historic marker to be placed at Peter Prudden site
The Milford Preservation Trust, the First United Church of Christ, members of the Botsford Family Association and the Freelove Baldwin Stow Chapter of the DAR will unveil a roadside marker commemorating Rev. Peter Prudden at 55 Prospect St. on Friday, May 12 at 5 p.m. The public is invited.
Prudden, 1601-1656, is the founder of Milford and his original home lot, consisting of seven acres, was located at 67 and 55 Prospect Street.
Light refreshments will be served.
Earlier article (Published 4-13-17 in the Milford Mirror)
Preservationists worried about historic house on Prospect Street
by Jill K. Dion
Two historic preservation groups and some residents have their eye on an historic house in downtown Milford they fear may be suffering from neglect.
The Milford Preservation Trust and the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), along with several concerned neighbors, are monitoring the David Baldwin House at 67 Prospect Street “with growing alarm,” said Preservation Trust President Michele Kramer.
Kramer said there is speculation that the owner is letting it fall into disrepair so it can be demolished. The owner, Dan Boynton, who preservationists say is a local real estate developer, did not return a call for comment on the matter.
According to city historians, the house and property are important to Milford because the lot is the original home lot of the Rev. Peter Prudden (1601-1656), leader of the Hertfordshire Group that founded Milford in 1639 and first pastor of the First United Church of Christ.
Also, Milford’s first burying ground was Prudden’s garden and was located at the rear of the lot.
While the current house at 67 Prospect Street is on the Prudden property, it was built more than 100 years after Peter Prudden died. According to the state’s Historic Resources Inventory, on which the house is listed, David L. Baldwin built the house in 1835. A genealogical website called geni.com says that David Lewis Baldwin, who was born in Milford in 1785 and died in 1877, was town clerk of Milford for 27 years, and clerk of probate for Milford for 12 years.
The house is also noted for its architecture. The Historic Resources Inventory describes it as a “two-story Greek Revival-style house.”
“The house is significant and well preserved and a good example of a Greek-Revival style house,” the inventory states. “The style was so widely employed in the United States between 1830 and 1860 that it came to be known as the National Style.”
City records indicate that Christina Smyth and Dan Boynton bought the house for $444,500 in 2015. Ownership is also listed as 67 Prospect Street LLC, with an address in New York City, on Milford records.
Kramer said she called Boynton after noticing that an historic marker had been removed from the property, raising eyebrows with some of the neighbors.
“Dan assured me that he was interested in renovating the property and perhaps renting to a lawyer, Realtor, etc., and making the upper floor into an apartment,” Kramer said.
But Kramer said that next she was told that the thermostat was set too low and pipes had burst in the house, and after that the owner stopped returning calls from her and former City Historian Richard Platt.
Neighbors reportedly filed a blight complaint. Deepa Joseph, director of public health, said a blight complaint was received and is still under investigation. There won’t be any information to release until the investigation closes in about another week, she said.
Ardienne Damicis, historian for First Church and an active member of DAR, said the house is an important property in Milford history.
“The present house was built in 1835 and was lovingly cared for until a few years ago,” Damicis said. “Today the hedges are overgrown and the fence along the side is in disrepair. There was a plaque on a stone near the driveway stating that this was Rev. Prudden’s home lot but it was pried off and stolen a few weeks ago.”