The House That Went Missing

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:

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.

The William G. Fearing House at the corner of Union and Chandler Streets (photo courtesy of the Milton Historical Society)

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.

March 7, 1962, looking downtown from Welch’s store (courtesy Milton Historical Society)

PS: I invite classic car buffs to identify the make and model of the automobile parked on Chandler Street in the first photo.

9 thoughts on “The House That Went Missing

  • Jack Hudson

    The house was actually torn down in the 50s.

    • Phil Martin

      Jack, do you know of any way to pinpoint the year? Right now, the horizontal tail fins on the car parked on Chandler St are the only clue, and that points to late 1958 – 1959 (winter) as the earliest time period that the photo could have been taken. I looked at photos of cars that had horizontal tail fins in the 50’s, and all of them are in the ’58 or ’59 model year.

      • Conrad Welch

        Go Phil, 1959 and 1960 had that taillight configuration.
        So it seems that the house was torn down in late 1960 to 1961.

        • Phil Martin

          We’re still trying to nail the year down, but it couldn’t be earlier than 1959 (or late 1958, say in December). No cars had horizontal tail fins prior to then. As to whether it was 1960 or 1961, we’ll have to find another source of information to settle that question. At least we’ve narrowed the time span down to 3 years as opposed to an unknown period.

          • Conrad Welch

            Phil,From what I can see it’s a Buick. I googled it and that rear end was only on the 59 and 60.
            From what I see the house was raised either in 59 or early 60.
            Hope this helps.

          • Phil Martin

            Thanks Conrad; the Welch house keeps pumping out more stories!

  • John Lank

    The car in the picture is a 1960 Buick LeSabre. I remember that house as a teenager but not sure when it was removed.

    • Phil Martin

      Yep, we have three votes for Buick, in the model years ’58 – ’60. One was unspecified, the other was Electra, and yours the LeSabre. The roof line looks like the Electra, which has a slight overhang, while the Lesabre roof line merges smoothly into the glass. Either way, those are the right years.

  • John Lank

    Confirmed! Good eye. I missed that detail on the back glass.

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