William and Lydia Fearing’s House on Union Street
In the spring and summer, the flower garden at the northeast corner of Union and Chandler Streets is a delight to stroll by, practically exploding with exuberance. Decades ago, probably until the early 1960’s, there was a house on that spot, next door to the Welch family’s drug store. John Coard Hazzard’s 1886 survey of Milton shows that house as belonging to William G. Fearing, a trustee of the former Methodist Protestant church across the street. Mr. Fearing was a humble paper hanger and house painter, but his life story was well documented in his day; we know a great deal about him and his idiosyncrasies. You can read more about him by following this link: http://broadkillblogger.org/people/people-of-the-windows/william-g-fearing/.
Until recently, we had not been able to find a photograph of the house he lived in, which according to what I’ve heard was torn down sometime in the early 1960’s.
As it turns out, the Milton Historical Society has had a photograph of the house among a collection of Welch family snapshots and postcards; we just didn’t know what we were looking at. The photograph was labeled “Next Door,” but otherwise unidentified and undated. However, the large tail fins of the car either parked on or heading into Chandler Street tell us that the photograph dates to at least the later 1950’s or early 1960’s. The next house below Chandler Street has been extensively renovated recently and raised above the flood plain, but it is till there, as well as the next house beyond it (the Eva K. Smith house) which became the “Ogre’s Grove” a few years ago.
The photo below, also taken by a member of the Welch family, is proof positive that Mr. Fearing’s house was gone by March 7, 1962 – date of the great flood in downtown Milton. The tree that stood in front of the house still there in the 1962 photograph, is long gone.
PS: I invite classic car buffs to identify the make and model of the automobile parked on Chandler Street in the first photo.