My Visit to the Victorian Promont House in Ohio

by hookedonhouses on October 19, 2009

Julia at Promont

Last weekend I had the opportunity to tour the historic Promont House in Milford, Ohio. Promont (which means “house on a hill”) is a stunning three-story home that was built in 1865 in grand Italianate Victorian style. What makes it special–besides the fact that it was a beautiful old house in its own right–is that this was where Governor John Pattison, the 43rd Governor of Ohio, lived with his family from 1879-1906.

Promont-exterior back tower

One of Promont’s distinguishing features is its tower, which rises 5 stories from the basement to the observation room. They say that only 5% of Victorian homes featured towers like this.

Promont fountain

The portico (front entrance):

front door

Promont was painstakingly restored by the Greater Milford Area Historical Society as a house museum. It is decorated to look much as it did when the governor lived there, so it’s like stepping back in time.

The front hall features brightly painted ceilings that really show off the moldings and ceiling medallions:

front hall

Victorian entry halls were considered active living space and held furniture that the family regularly used.

The grand staircase has 23 steps to the second floor. At the top of the steps you can see a “Tree of Life” stained glass window. Apparently a former owner didn’t like the window and had it removed. The historical society discovered it lying in the basement years later:


In the newel post is a marble “mortgage button.” Victorians often stored mortgage papers in the hollow of the newel post. When a house was finally paid off, the papers were placed in the post and the mortgage button was sealed forever. (I imagine we no longer practice this tradition because so few people ever actually finish paying their mortgages!)

The dining room features a Duncan Phyfe table that seats 14:

dining room-Promont

There was a sliding panel in the dining room closet through which the cook could slide the prepared dishes.

The original plaster ceiling medallion and fruit border were restored and hand-painted:


This is the formal front parlor, where children were not allowed (they were relegated to the “back parlor”):

Promont Front Rm

Promont front rm 2

The master bedroom:

Promont master bedroom

Indoor plumbing was not added to the house until 1911. As the tour guide put it, “Back then, even the governor had to go outside.”

In this display, you can see photos of Governor Pattison and the house as it looked when he lived there:

old photos

A spiral staircase leads to the observation room at the top of the tower:

stairs to tower

Looking down the stairs from the top of the tower, into the basement (we got our exercise that day, walking up and down the stairs!):

View down staircase

The view from the observation room at the top, looking out over the lawn and parking area:

view from tower

The formal front of the house, which looks out over Milford:

Promont-exterior front

I hope you enjoyed tagging along with me on this tour. Many thanks to the GMAHS, which works tirelessly to keep the house alive and well. It’s a big job–I was told that the utility bills each month alone are shockingly expensive.

The bedroom and dining room photos came from the Promont website, which has even more information about the house and its former inhabitants.


P.S. These may look like hamburgers, but they’re actually a dessert. Visit my yummy sponsor Party Cupcake Ideas to see what really went into making them!

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AnNicole@OurSuburbanCottage October 19, 2009 at 8:18 pm

Wowza – that’s one gorgeous house. It amazes me how you’re constantly able to find gems like this.
.-= AnNicole@OurSuburbanCottage´s last blog ..Can I Paint My Shower Door Surround? – Experiment Results..dun, dun, dun =-.

Shelia October 19, 2009 at 8:46 pm

What a glorious olden home! I love it – inside and out!
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)
.-= Shelia´s last blog ..Gargoyles of Notre Dame =-.

Carmen October 19, 2009 at 9:28 pm

So beautiful! I just love old Victorian homes.
.-= Carmen´s last blog ..More pumpkin ideas… =-.

Paula October 19, 2009 at 9:55 pm

Amazing!! Thanks for sharing your visit!

greenie October 19, 2009 at 10:18 pm

Beautiful house!
Would LOVE to see this decorated for Halloween! :-)

Why S? October 20, 2009 at 3:01 am

Thanks for the tour. I loved the tradition about storing the mortgage papers. I’ll start looking for a place in my home to do the same. The next 25 years will fly by before I know it.
.-= Why S?´s last blog ..It Happened to Someone I Know! =-.

Amanda @ Serenity Now October 20, 2009 at 7:04 am

Julia, I love all of the historical details you gave us rather than just showing us the house. :) The mortgage papers tradition is pretty neat…something I’d never heard of. I loved the photo taken from the tower looking down the stairs–pretty cool. Thanks for taking us along on your tour. :)
.-= Amanda @ Serenity Now´s last blog ..Déja Vu =-.

Stephanie October 20, 2009 at 7:07 am
Sheila October 20, 2009 at 7:37 am

Hello, I love your site and have you on facebook to follow. After seeing the Itallinate Victorian that you have posted, it resembles the Itallianate Victorian I have listed in Mt. Jackson Virginia on the Shenandoah River. The one I have is larger with even more ornate details….I think you will find this worth the time to look.. or go to my website and scroll down to the victorian $735,000 (under recent apprasied value)

Sheila October 20, 2009 at 7:51 am

Julia, I would love to preview in person some of the wonderful homes you share with the world. You have an AWESOME site and thank you so much. I look forward every morning to looking at your site to see what is new.

Annie@A View on Design October 20, 2009 at 9:12 am

the heritage homes are just amazing aren’t they – the pics don’t do them justice, imagine living like that… I just did a post on a heritage home in Perth, Aus.
.-= Annie@A View on Design´s last blog ..A New Take on Heritage 20mins from Perth =-.

Jen @ After The Alter October 20, 2009 at 11:11 am

How fun! I love old houses but I don’t think I’d every have the patience to own one…but at least I can appreciate the ones that others take care of!
.-= Jen @ After The Alter´s last blog ..In The Spirit of Full Disclosure =-.

Trish@TheOldPostRoad October 20, 2009 at 11:38 am

Beautiful home!

The Italianate tower actually looks like an “afterthought,” doesn’t it?

Fernandina Beach, Florida has quite a few victorian/italianate homes with towers, including the Pippi Longstocking house from the movie – I posted about it back in May – (Forgive me -I am NOT trying to advertise for my site – just sharing photos!!)
.-= Trish@TheOldPostRoad´s last blog ..Dining Room Re-Do!! =-.

Wil @ Spot Cool Design October 20, 2009 at 12:12 pm

It is so great that there are local historical societies to restore houses like this.

I’m I understanding that the tower was added just for fun? When I first saw the photo at the top of this post I thought this building was a church.
.-= Wil @ Spot Cool Design´s last blog ..Have Wood Burning Spa Will Travel =-.

Slowish Food October 20, 2009 at 12:19 pm

This house is absolutely lovely! Thanks for the tour. And the little tidbit about mortgage buttons. I’d never heard of those, but want to install one somewhere in our house… maybe I’ll bust up the concrete in the basement under the cat’s litter box. :)
.-= Slowish Food´s last blog ..Bake-Through Entry 1: Barcelona Brownies =-.

bungalowbliss October 20, 2009 at 1:39 pm

Ah, that staircase! Great pic of you and your autumn-inspired scarf. Love it!
.-= bungalowbliss´s last blog ..No More Black Sheep =-.

Suzy October 20, 2009 at 5:44 pm

I love those old Victorians. I was told the top is called a Widows Peak. Because the wives would watch at the lookout point on top for their husbands to return from the Civil War. Did they mention something about that?
.-= Suzy´s last blog ..Fall Cookies from the Cookie Jar… =-.

Pat October 20, 2009 at 6:28 pm

This beautiful house really caught my attention, it’s in the same town that my husbands aunt and uncle lived in for many years, and the same town in which he spent many summer vacations.
I love to see the workmanship that went into homes like this, its so amazing. Marshall Michigan has a home tour every September that features many homes like this. I haven’t gone in a couple of years, but I’d love to go again next year….Lord willing!
You scarf also caught my eye – perfect!!

rue October 20, 2009 at 8:21 pm

Now THAT is one gorgeous home Julia! We’re only about an hour away from there, so maybe I can talk Rich into going on a tour ;)

.-= rue´s last blog ..A trip to the pumpkin "farm" =-.

anna see October 20, 2009 at 8:27 pm

Fun pics of a neat house! A bed similar to the one in the MB has been in my fam for many, many years. My grandpa liked to brag how he bought it for $10 from a lady who didn’t know what a treasure it was.
.-= anna see´s last blog ..Bubble Boy =-.

Marlene October 20, 2009 at 8:35 pm

Loved seeing Promont on your site! I live in Milford, and love all the old homes here. Promont is a real treasure, it is just a shame that most of the land surrounding it was developed years ago into retail and commercial sites. It would have been nice for more of the original estate to be kept with the house. Your readers who expressed an interest in seeing Promont will find many other neat places nearby as well. Plus, there are a lot of great little shops down in Old Milford, and the Bike Trail comes thru here, too. Lots to do for visitors!

belledame October 20, 2009 at 11:54 pm

if you’re into old ohio governor’s residences, stop by 322 Fifth Street in Marietta. it’s a sorority house now, but is said to be haunted by the first governor, george white. i can’t confirm this, but one night when i was the only sister moved in for the year, i did have a dream of a man in a white suit speaking to me from my bedroom door. that is as close to believing in george as i have ever come. it’s an old house, doors will pop open from time to time.

(the sisters had it added to local historical register about fifteen years ago)

janice | Sharing the Journey October 21, 2009 at 8:20 am

Thanks for this one and the Tom Ford one. I love peeking, but more than that, after every glimpse of these restored & ornate or expensive & sleek houses, my passion for simple and cosy, seaside and airy – with a courtyard pool thrown in ;) – gets stronger. Your site is life affirming; don’t let anyone tell you it’s just about catering for addicts like us who are hooked on houses!

The Countess of Nassau County October 24, 2009 at 10:09 am

Wow. I would never live in house like this, but it’s really fun to look. Thanks for the great tour.
.-= The Countess of Nassau County´s last blog ..The Sunday Stunner – Durango =-.

laura @ the shore house October 27, 2009 at 5:14 pm

The facade of that house is simply stunning! I’ve never seen a shape exactly like that…and I love it.
.-= laura @ the shore house´s last blog ..Southern living, New Jersey-style. =-.

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