Preservationists want to save Gulf Street house from demolition

The Milford Preservation Trust is taking the lead in attempting to save an historic Gulf Street house slated for demolition.

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 provides 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 is 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.”

The Sanford-Bristol house had a couple of things going for it that the Elijah Bryan house doesn’t, and those could prove significant, according to preservationists who want to save it.

The Sanford-Bristol house was located in a city historic district. Gulf Street is not an historic district, though ironically a group has been working to have it designated as one.

Also, the Sanford-Bristol house was listed on at least one historic register, and the Elijah Bryan house is not.

“The only option is to appeal to the homeowner,” Platt said.

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

Although one of the preservationists trying to save the house said the owner wants to raze the house due to its condition, city records show that the house and property appraised at $351,000 last year. Also, Platt said he’s been told that the late owners kept it in good condition.

Historic district

“One of the reasons there is so little anyone can do about the demolition is that we don't have an historic district designation along Gulf Street,” said Alice Oliver, who is chairing a committee to establish it as an historic district. “If we had an historic district here, it could have legally prevented the demolition. But we don't, because residents along the Gulf Street corridor are not overwhelmingly in favor of establishing one.”

Milford Preservation Trust President Michele Kramer is expected to hold a meeting this week to talk more about what can be done to save the house.

Lance Poland, homeowner, applied for demolition on June 26, due to the "current condition" of the house, Kramer said. Milford’s new city historian, Carol LaBrake, imposed a 90-day delay on the demolition after being notified about the plans to raze it. That delay runs out Sept. 28.

Time, therefore, is running out, she and others said.

Kramer said the house at 234 Gulf Street is also in jeopardy; it is currently owned by a bank.

The house at 234 Gulf Street also dates back to 1790.

“So there is a lot of work to be done,” Kramer said.

Platt said preservationists were lucky with the Sanford-Bristol house because “an angel” — resident Lesley Mills — stepped forward to buy it and restore it.

Platt is hoping for another angel to save the Elijah Bryan house.