“Paradise Frost” – What Are We Looking At?

A few weeks ago the Milton Historical Society put on an exhibition titled “Paradise Frost: Milton’s Frozen History” which focused on economic activities such as ice harvesting and winter recreation such as ice skating in Milton. Until the advent of affordable refrigerators, entrepreneurs such as J. Handy Prettyman cut blocks of ice out of Wagamon’s Pond when it iced over, delivering it in specific sizes around town to people with ice boxes.

A “banner” or placard for the exhibition was put together with the photograph below.


Winter scene, Milton, ca. 1906

The street and structures were not identified, but anyone familiar with the town’s history can recognize some structures that help locate the position at which the photograph was taken.


Looking north on Union Street from the bridge over the Broadkill

Arrows 1 and 2 point to the bell tower of the Milton Methodist Protestant Church (today the Lydia B. Cannon Museum) and the end of one of the railings on the bridge over the Broadkill River, respectively. These two immediately orient the photograph facing north on Union Street. Arrow 3 points to 133 Union Street, which is still standing, and arrow 4 points to 129 Union Street, also still standing. The house on the left side of the street, in the upper half of the photograph, is no longer in existence. Behind the building identified by arrow 4 is Chandler Street (not clearly visible in the photo) and on its far side another house that no longer exists or was moved; the location today is a vacant lot.

Two other clues help us to pin down the period of time in which the photograph was taken: the bell tower of the Milton M. P. Church has no steeple, and there are electric wires on poles along the street. This dates the photograph sometime after 1906, the year in which the steeple came down and electricity was brought to Milton. Although hard to see without magnification, there is a street lamp visible just below arrow 1.

Magnified section of photograph showing details of the bell tower and an electric street lamp near the center of the picture.

2 thoughts on ““Paradise Frost” – What Are We Looking At?

  • Roberta Hagen

    Thanks so much for sharing the photo. The house now gone, which was on the corner of Union and Chandler Streets across from #4, was located where I now have my “Bowling Ball Garden”, next to the house where the Welch Pharmacy was located. By the way, we think the original home and Pharmacy were built in 1875, and stayed in the same family for 3 generations, until I bought it about five years ago.

  • Phil Martin

    I will make the correction here; the lot on the far side of Chandler Street, viewed from the “Iron Bridge” over the Broadkill, where a house once stood as in the photograph, is Roberta Hagen’s colorful garden in season, not a vacant lot.

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