Milford Preservation Trust Honors George Washington Victory Days

Milford Preservation Trust is honoring George Washington’s “Victory Days” this Saturday, October 15th, from 10 AM to 2 PM, at the historic John Downs homestead (“The Minuteman House”), 139 North Street, Milford, Connecticut.

Milford's John Downs House (Photo Credit: Tim Chaucer).

Milford’s John Downs House (Photo Credit: Tim Chaucer).

According to Milford Presentation Trust’s Tim Chaucer, who organizes activities at the John Downs House, “October is notable and worthy of celebration, as the month which saw an entire British Army surrender at Saratoga, New York, on October 17, 1777, as well as the month which saw the decisive surrender of British General Lord Cornwallis to General George Washington, at Yorktown, Virginia, on October 19, 1781.

(Photo Credit: Tim Chaucer)

(Photo Credit: Tim Chaucer)

“Our gathering at the John Downs House this Saturday honors the men and women who helped bring these victories about. An actor portraying Joseph Plumb Martin, who was heroic at the battle of Yorktown, will convey the story of what happened there. Milford’s John Downs, who rebuilt the house, very likely was the man who imparted Martin’s gift for the written word, as his teacher during the long winter months”, Chaucer added.

Washington on an early American pitcher, one of many historic artifacts on display at the John Downs House (Photo Credit: Tim Chaucer).

Washington on an early American pitcher, one of many historic artifacts to be displayed  (Photo Credit: Tim Chaucer).

Visitors can tour the home, and view the collection of antiques, period artifacts, and historical prints on display. Light refreshments will also be on hand.

An actual Revolutionary War cannon ball, also on display (Photo Credit: Tim Chaucer).

An actual Revolutionary War cannon ball, also on display (Photo Credit: Tim Chaucer).

This event is free. However, modest (tax deductible) donations will gladly be accepted, to raise money for restoring the home to its 1775 glory. Apple pies are also being sold to raise funds, as well.  Hope to see you there!

Here’s Milford Mirror’s coverage of this event.

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Connecticut Open House Day

Just a reminder that this coming Saturday, June 11th, 2016, is Connecticut Open House Day, when scores of Connecticut history organizations and museums will be opening their doors to the general public.


The Derby Historical Society will be celebrating Connecticut Open House Day, as usual, at the Gen. David Humphreys House, 37 Elm Street, Ansonia, Connecticut, from 10 AM until 3 PM. Admission is free to the public, of course, but any donations are always appreciated!

According to the Derby Historical Society:

“Visitors will be able to join in the offerings of tours of the David Humphreys House museum and/or take a self-guided tour outside of the historic district, weather permitting. There will be demonstrations of colonial crafts and skills, musket firing and drills by the 6th Connecticut Regiment, and much more.

“Our on-site building that houses “Derby Junction”, which is a model train layout depicting the cities of Ansonia, Derby, and Shelton, c. 1918, will again be open for viewing. This wonderful layout was donated to us by Mr. Benjamin Bacon in 2001. A colonial plant sale is planned, and other items may be available for sale from the Derby Historical Society. The gift shop will be open. Free Admission to this event — donations always appreciated.”

This is always a fun, educational, and very family friendly event, so I highly recommend that if you’re looking for something enjoyable to do this Saturday, please stop by and visit the Derby Historical Society on Connecticut Open House Day!

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Historic Tax Credits Workshop

The New Haven Preservation Trust will be hosting a free workshop on the State of Connecticut’s Historic Homes Rehabilitation Tax Credits program, on Saturday, September 19th, 2015, from 9:30 to 11:30 AM, at the Fair Haven Library, 182 Grand Ave, New Haven, CT 06513.

Registration is required. Please register via email:



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Rare Colonial Sampler Display: 23 May 2015

The Milford Preservation Trust will be hosting a display of rare, colonial samplers this coming Saturday, May 23rd, from 9AM to 12 noon, at Milford’s John Downs House (aka, “The Minute Man House”), 139 North Street, Milford. This is a fund raiser for restoring the Downs House — a $5 donation is requested. Please attend!

See attached press release for more details. Thank you!

Image of the John Downs House, Milford, Connecticut.

The John Downs House (c. 1790 or earlier), Milford, Connecticut.


The Milford Preservation Trust is holding a fundraiser to raise funds to restore the Minuteman House, aka John Downs House, at 139 North Street. The House will be open Memorial weekend on Saturday, May 23 from 9 A.M. to noon.

John Downs was a minuteman who with his musket responded to Alarms in New Haven, Fairfield, and New York City during the Revolutionary War. He was also a weaver, teacher, diarist, and farmer. The Trust will have a rare 18th century sampler on display done by a Huntington girl named Permelia Allis and completed on February 12, 1796. Undoubtedly Downs wove linen which was used by young girls to practice their numbers and letters.

A Sampler done by Ann Fowler , age 11, a well known Milford name will be on display. This sampler was completed in 1840. The Jane Kipp Sampler will be displayed: It reads “Jane Kipp is my name, New York is my station, Heaven is my dwelling place and Christ is my salvation”. Jane was 12 when this sampler was completed.

Other samplers will be on display. $5.00 tax deductible donation is asked to help restore Down’s home.

Call Michele Kramer, Trust President, at 203-314-9016 or Regina Cahill, Trust Vice President at 203-974-3542 for further info. or if you have a sampler to display or share on May 23.

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CIA Lobby Day: 13 May 2015, 12N – 3PM

Please join supporters of the Community Investment Act and Connecticut State Legislators this Wednesday, 13 May 2015, for the Community Investment Act Lobby Day! Help express our concerns over proposed cuts to this very important and highly successful community and cultural funding source!

When: 13 May 2015, 12:00 noon to 3:00 PM

Where: Legislative Office Building, Room 1D, 300 Capitol Ave, Hartford, CT 06510


From Helen Higgins, of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation:

“A diverse group of individuals and organizations will gather with legislators in Hartford this Wednesday, May 13 to advocate for protection of Community Investment Act funding, which is at risk of being swept under the Governor’s proposed biennial budget. Enacted in 2005 with bipartisan support and funded by a surcharge on local recording fees, the CIA provides dedicated funding to conserve open space, protect farmland, support dairy farmers, preserve historic properties and create affordable housing. To date, this hugely successful program has reinvested over $133 million in 1,100+ projects in 168 communities across the state.

“The Governor’s budget proposes to completely sweep the Community Investment Act account from January 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017, depositing all funds in the general fund over that time period.

“This unprecedented diversion would effectively end the Community Investment Act as we know it, directly impacting the character of our state”.

Image of Community Investment Act Logo

Also, please continue to email, call, or write your own Connecticut State Legislators to express your concerns over proposed Community Investment Act de-funding. Visit the Connecticut General Assembly’s Find Your Legislator webpage for help finding your legislators or their points of contact.

#CommunityInvestmentAct #CTPlacesMatter

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Working Lands Alliance Call To Action for 21 April 2015

As many of you are aware, drastic funding cuts have been proposed in Gov. Dan Malloy’s state budget for the next two years that will adversely affect a number of important public causes, including historic preservation, protection of farmlands and open spaces, and public housing. The Community Investment Act, which has long served as a highly successful funding channel for many programs in the above areas, stands to be completely de-funded by the proposed budget. This would have a devastating effect on the many Connecticut communities that have been well served by such programs.

Image of Community Investment Act Logo

Below is the text of an email just sent by the Working Lands Alliance that outlines calls to action and provides instructions on how to effectively express your opposition to Community Investment Act funding cuts. I’m hoping that all of you might be willing to follow the steps outlined below, in both providing testimony to the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee this coming Tuesday (April 21st, 2015), and also notifying your own state legislators of your opposition to these cuts.

Editor's note: to find your Connecticut State Legislators' email, and local and capitol mail addresses, please use the Connecticut General Assembly's Find Your Legislators page ]

Thank you very much for considering your own active participation in this important campaign! And please feel free to forward this information on to anybody else you know who’ll likewise consider this campaign critical.

Text of original email from the Working Lands Alliance

This Tuesday, the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee will be holding a hearing on HB 6825: An Act Making Deficiency Appropriations and Addressing the Deficit for the Current Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 2015.In Section 5 of this bill, the Governor proposes to divert $15.2 million in Community Investment Act (CIA) funds to address the budget deficit for the current fiscal year. This raid is in addition to the complete sweep of funds proposed for the FY 16 and 17 biennial budget – providing a series of devastating blows to this account.The proposal in HB 6825 takes $10 million in CIA money from the Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Program (and CIA is the only consistent source of funds for this program). The bill also proposes to sweep $5.1 million from historic preservation efforts, and $100,000 from the CT Food Policy Council.
Here’s the message we want to send to the Appropriations Committee and the leadership in both caucuses:
  • Since 2005, the Community Investment Act has made over $133 MILLION in investments across the 4 sectors who share these funds: Agriculture/Farmland Preservation, Open Space, Historic Preservation, and Affordable Housing. These investments (over 1100 projects in 168 towns) have benefitted almost EVERY COMMUNITY in our state – from rural to suburban to urban communities!
  • CIA was structured to be a dedicated fund outside of the budget that is continuously reinvesting in our communities across the four sectors.
  • We strongly oppose raiding CIA’s dedicated funds to address budget deficits. These unprecedented diversions will end the Community Investment Act as we know it, and will greatly impact the many worthwhile projects CIA funds across the state.

To see what investments have been made in your community, visit

To download the Community Investment Act fact sheet, click here

Help us defend this unprecedented diversion of CIA funds by testifying or emailing written testimony.If you are interested in testifying or submitting written testimony, see the directions below. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions about this bill.


All the best,
Lisa Bassani
WLA Project Director


Directions To Testify or Submit Written Testimony 
Appropriations Committee Hearing: Tuesday, April 21st at 2 pm
The Appropriations Committee’s hearing will be held on Tuesday, April 21st at 2 pm in Room 2C of the Legislative Office Building, 300 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, CT.Sign-up will begin at 11:00 A.M. in Room 2700 of the LOB. State agency representatives must register on the sign-up sheet to speak. Public speaker sign-up will be conducted on a first come, first served basis. The Committee requests that testimony be limited to matters related to the items on the Agenda.State agencies and public speakers should bring 60 copies of testimony to Room 2700 by 1:00 P.M. and should submit testimony electronically, in Word or PDF format, to Public speaker testimony will be limited to three minutes.
SUBJECT MATTER: State Agency Deficiencies
H.B. No. 6825 AN ACT MAKING DEFICIENCY APPROPRIATIONS AND ADDRESSING THE DEFICIT FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 2015.Please cc your legislators when you submit testimony to let them know that you care about this issue.We would appreciate it if you would also email a copy to us:

Working Lands Alliance
A Project of American Farmland Trust
775 Bloomfield Ave
Windsor, CT 06096


Working Lands Alliance | One Short Street | Northampton | MA | 01060
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#CTPlacesMatter Rally, April 8th

The #CTPlacesMatter rally to preserve public funding in Connecticut for historic preservation, humanities, and historical programs, is to be held tomorrow afternoon, April 8th, 2015, in Hartford, from 1PM to 5PM.

Jointly organized by the Connecticut Humanities Council, Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, Connecticut Historical Society, and the Connecticut League of History Organizations, the rally’s goal is to make citizens aware of the devastating impact Gov. Malloy’s proposed budget for the next two years will have on humanities and history programs throughout the state, and to send a message to state legislators that these cuts are not acceptable.

Connecticut Places Matter Image

A detailed timeline for the rally, published by the Connecticut Trust, is as follows:

1-2PM: Briefing and comments by the Connecticut Humanties Council, Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Connecticut Historical Society. Room 1D of the Legislative Office Building.

2-5PM: Meet with legislators — schedule this on your own, or join a group meeting coordinated by lobbyists.

3PM: Remarks at the Hall of Flags.

3:30-5PM: Reception and Special Exhibition of local artifacts at the Hall of Flags.

This will be followed by the Connecticut Trust’s 40th Annual Connecticut Preservation Awards celebration, at the Polish National Home, 60 Charter Oak Avenue, Hartford.

Please consider attending this very important rally to save public funding of cultural, history, and humanities programs throughout our state, and make your voice heard. For more information, please visit any of the following sites:

CT Places Matter website

Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation website

Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation Facebook page


Image of the Derby Historical Society's David Humphreys House, Ansonia, Connecticut

The Derby Historical Society’s David Humphreys House (c.1698), Ansonia, Connecticut, is just one of many examples of culturally important and publicly-funded historic Connecticut buildings that have benefited greatly from past state funding, and continue to rely largely on such funding for future operation and upkeep.

#CTPlacesMatter #ThisPlaceMatters #CTHistory

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Historic Tax Credits Session


Milford Preservation Trust will host a public information session on Connecticut’s Historic Homes Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program, on Sunday, 22 February 2015, from 2-4 PM, at the DAR Building, 55 Prospect Street, Milford, Connecticut.

The guest speaker will be Julie Carmelich, of the State Historic Preservation Office, who will discuss details of this program, which provides financial assistance to historic homeowners to rehabilitate their properties, and goes into effect in July, 2015.

Historic Tax Credits Presentation Flyer

All are invited and light refreshments will be served. A downloadable PDF version of the above flyer is available from the Milford Preservation Trust website.

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Saving Milford’s Historic Houses

Image of Eels-Stowe House, Milford, Connecticut

An old photo of the Milford Historical Society’s Eels-Stowe House (Image Source: Milford Historical Society)

The Milford Historical Society will be hosting the Milford Preservation Trust for a presentation entitled “Saving Milford’s Historic Houses”, on the evening of January 19th, 2015, at 7:00 PM, at Mary Taylor Methodist Church, 176 Broad Street, Milford, Connecticut. This event is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served.

Former Milford City Historian Richard Platt, Jr. will be discussing many of the historic homes of Milford that have been lost, as well as current efforts to preserve Milford’s remaining historic building stock.

Image of John Downs House, Milford, Connecticut

The John Downs House, Milford, Connecticut (photo by the author)

#ThisPlaceMatters #MilfordCT #CTHistory

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Downtown Derby Revitalization Study Update

A public information meeting on the City of Derby’s Downtown Derby Revitalization Study will be held this coming Wednesday evening, 7 January 2015, at 6:30 PM, in the Joan Williamson Aldermanic Chambers of Derby City Hall, One Elizabeth Street, Derby, Connecticut. All are invited, and Derby residents and business owners are especially encouraged to attend.

Derby VCI Flyer Image

Several consultants of CME Associates, Inc., which has been engaged by the City of Derby to perform this study, under a Vibrant Communities Initiative grant from the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, will be presenting their latest findings.

The Vibrant Communities Initiative assists municipalities in creating redevelopment plans for their underutilized historic buildings, in a manner that benefits economic and community growth, while preserving and enhancing the historic character of these properties and their neighborhoods.

Derby received its Vibrant Communities Initiative grant in late 2013, and the study was launched last March, guided by a steering committee comprising a number of local residents and business owners. A single, historic downtown property was finally selected for pro-forma analysis and an assessment of its preservation/ redevelopment/ re-utilization potential.

The desired outcome of all this is a successful showcase study that demonstrates the economic viability of historically-sensitive redevelopment, and as such, would hopefully encourage many of Derby’s downtown building owners to consider similar strategies for their own properties.

Hope to see you Wednesday night!

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