Today, I drove past 111 North Street, Milford, Connecticut, and couldn’t help but notice the campaign signs adorning the front lawn of the doomed Sanford-Bristol House (c. 1790), promoting Bill Farrell’s run for a seat on Milford’s District Five Planning and Zoning Board (unfortunately, the signs didn’t come out very clearly in the photo below, so I’ve circled them in red; you can double click the image for an expanded view).
Now, it’s Mr. Farrell’s property, of course, and he’s free to do as he wants — who am I to take issue with this? But you’ve got to admit there’s a profound irony here, in that the guy who’s unflinching in his resolve to demolish a rare, 18th century home, also aspires to a position of influence over property use in the very same district. Not to mention that the only suitable (and final) use he’s found for his 223 year old home (which had well served its many generations of past owners) is to promote his campaign.
Equally ironic is that his rival for the P&Z seat, incumbent Terrence Copeland, lives right next door (that’s his “Blake for Milford” sign, near the curb). A local acquaintance of mine described Copeland as being “tepid” on historic preservation, and recalls him expressing approval of the proposed demolition in the June 24th public hearing.
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking on the Sanford-Bristol House. The current demolition delay runs out on October 13th. The season for elections is upon us, and not a single politician (with the exception of Ron Goldwyn, a District Two candidate) has taken any meaningful position on the state of historic preservation in Milford, Connecticut, including Ben Blake and Peter Spalthoff, the two mayoral candidates.
So, if you’re as befuddled as I am by Milford’s excessive tear down culture, perhaps you need not look any further than the current crop of politicians, who not only enable, but, in some cases, actively participate in, the ongoing destruction of Milford’s dwindling, vintage housing stock. Will these campaign signs remain on the front lawn while the backhoe goes to work on candidate Farrell’s house? That certainly would make for a painful collection of photos, but photos I’ll take, nonetheless, if things come down to that.