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.
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.
The portico (front entrance):
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:
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:
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”):
The 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:
A spiral staircase leads to the observation room at the top of the 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!):
The view from the observation room at the top, looking out over the lawn and parking area:
The formal front of the house, which looks out over Milford:
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.
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