South Milford Village Historic District
Oakland County, Michigan
The agriculture and mill settlement of Milford developed on the western edge of
Oakland County during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The historic core of
the village is located on both sides of a bend of the Huron River at the point where
Pettibone Creek flows into the Huron. The Huron River originates in a series of
lakes in Commerce Township, east of Milford Township, runs, at its entrance into
the township, in a northwesterly direction, thence at the village westerly, and thence
south and southwesterly through Kent Lake, and eventually through Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti
and into Lake Erie. Pettibone Creek originates in a series of lakes north of Milford
in Highland Township and enters the Huron River approximately in the center of Milford
Village. Both the Huron River and Pettibone Creek furnished water power to the early
settlers, with three water powers on the Huron and five on Pettibone Creek. The Village
is situated in a valley surrounded by hills covered with oak in early days. The land
surrounding the Village was primarily farmland, but has now been developed into large
residential lots and subdivisions, with one-
The primary approaches to the Village of Milford are South Milford Road running
north from the I-
The South Milford Village Historic District consists of the south part
of the historic commercial district and the early residential development of South
Milford, Michigan. The district includes the historic commercial area along one
block of South Main Street, residential areas along four east-
The commercial buildings are found on two blocks of South Main Street
and on Huron Street and are representative of Milford's first era of settlement and
second era of prosperity sparked by the arrival of the railroad in 1872.. South of
the Huron River are two two-
The historical residential area of the Village is found on the southern
part of South Main Street, on two east-
Running south from the Huron River along South Main Street is a block of commercial structures, followed by four blocks of wood frame and stone Greek Revival, Italianate, Victorian Gothic and Bungalow style houses and one brick school building, now a home. Five of these buildings are individually eligible for the National Register on their own merit. The district terminates just south of Second Street on the east side of South Main Street, including the brick school on Second Street, and a half block south of Washington Street on the west side of South Main Street.
Starting at the Huron River on the east and running west along Huron Street are five blocks containing commercial buildings and wood frame and brick Greek Revival, Italianate, Victorian Gothic and Bungalow style houses. One of these buildings is on the National Register and another is eligible for the National Register on its own merit. The district ends at the Huron River on the west at the site of the Fuller gristmill and woolen mill. Three houses on General Motors Road, branching off from West Huron Street, are included. On the south side of West Huron Street the district ends at Mill Street.
Washington Street, running east and west from South Main Street is a residential street of wood frame Greek Revival and Victorian Gothic houses. The district ends at the railroad track on the east and at Mill Street on the west and includes the site of the first cemetery in Milford.
Oakland Street runs east from South Main Street, terminating half a block east of South Main Street. It includes three Victorian Gothic houses.
The building remains in essentially original condition. It is a gable-
remains, with wrought iron hinges and latch, and a smaller similar door on the rear.
North Bridgeman Store (218 S. Main St.). Richard Bridgeman, a local grocer, built
South Bridgeman Store (222 S. Main St.). Richard Bridgeman, a local grocer, built
moves were occasioned by the construction of new buildings, a hotel in 1874 and this building in 1878.
NPS Form 10-
United States Department of the Interior
National Park Service
National Register of Historic Places
Section number 7 page 5 of 68
South Milford Village Historic District
Oakland County, Michigan
The building is similar to its neighbor on the north, built two years later by the
same man. It is somewhat narrower than the later building, but has the same bracketed
and dentilled wood cornices above both stories, the same three arched two-
the entry in this narrower storefront have only two panes each. This is one of only two original storefronts in Milford.
Mr. Bridgeman's store is 22' x 65' with a double cellar. He was his own architect. The building cost $2000 to $3000 in 1878.
physicians, and was known for many years as the Mowry house, though Mowry's first
house was on East Liberty Street in North Milford. The building is a two-
Ward School (104 Second St.). Palmer & Coe built the Ward School in 1881 to serve
the children of South Milford. Harry Wheeler was the first teacher in this building.
An earlier southside school was located on Washington Street. An attempt was made
to close the Ward School in 1898 because of low enrollment, but South Milford would
not hear of giving up its school and sending its children across the river to the
Union School on North Hickory Street, fearing that they would never get it back.
There was much rivalry between North and South Milford at that time, so the school
remained open until 1916. Mr. Drake bought it in 1926 and turned it into a home,
which it has been ever since. The building is a story-
Huron Street (east to west)
Dr. Foote House (213 W. Huron St.). This glorious Greek Revival house
was built in 1858 on the same lot on which Dr. Henry Foote, Milford's first physician
had built a small three-
Lingham House (335 W. Huron St.). Henry Lingham and his partner, Osborn,
proprietors of an elevator on the south side of the river, dealt in wool, grain and
produce In 1874 Lingham selected as the site for his new house the spot where Milford's
first store once stood. Ansley S. Arms came to Milford in 1836 representing his soon-
him a house and a store. The house, the first frame house in Milford, still stands
on the west side of the Public Square, but the store, called Mead & Arms for Ansley
and his brother-
Crawford House, (414 W. Huron St.). Henderson Crawford came to Milford
in 1845. He conducted a private school for Milford youth for 15 years and served
as Justice of the Peace and as a member of the State Legislature. During the 1865
session of that body. Mr. Crawford succeeded in procuring an enabling act which brought
the Holly, Wayne and Monroe Railway to Milford. He was elected chairman of the Board
of Commissioners for the subscription of stock for the building of that road. Although
he probably considered this act his greatest achievement, it is probable that his
most precious gift to the town was his diligent effort to save Milford's history
by interviewing the original pioneers and by gathering data which would someday prove
an invaluable resource to the community. Mr. Crawford is believed responsible for
the information contained in Milford's entry in the History of Oakland County, Michigan: