When a Sunday evening fire damaged much of the Milford Inn in May 1959, it was not necessarily seen as a huge loss. The late ‘50s were largely an era of architectural destruction, not renovation, and many were just as happy to see something modern erected in place of the gutted hotel. One of the oldest frame buildings in Milford and a fixture in Union Square since 1786, the inn (which had also been known as Buxton’s Tavern and Hotel Howison) was not in great shape by the time of the blaze and was the home for single male boarders, not hotel guests.
Still, if there is one bygone building from Milford’s past that I would wish to save, it might well be this one. Looking back more than 60 years later, one can imagine how the inn might have become a glorious asset to the west side of the Oval if it had survived into the recent age of historic renovation. Such charming inns in the Massachusetts towns of Concord and Groton come to mind and a restored Milford Inn would certainly have been an aesthetic step up over the current muffler shop. Then again, the site of the old inn also includes the current Riverhouse Cafe and I’m sure nobody would be happy to see such “damn good grub” missing from the town menu.
The Milford Inn at the turn of the century.