History of the home
Construction on this beautiful brick Italian Victorian home began in 1866-67 by Ambrose G. Howard, who resided across the street, on the corner of Noyes, for Charles and Jane Quait Millar. Mr. Howard was also a nurseryman, and after the house was completed, he planted many unusual plants, shrubs and trees on the property.
In 1870, the Millars went to Switzerland, taking their three daughters with them to enhance the girls’ education. It was during this time that the house was finally completed. Mr. Millar signed the necessary papers to purchase the house at the Office of the American Minister in Italy.
Mr. Millar was a very wealthy Industrialist. He owned Lead Pipe Works on Main Street, Utica Pipe Foundry Company, Gas and Water Pipe Foundry on the corner of Gilbert Street and Hutchinson Avenue, Soil Pipe Foundry on Dwyer Avenue, and he also owned a cotton mill, which was later purchased by J.P. Stevens. Mr. Millar was also involved with Savage Arms.
We have been told by Millar family members that one of Mr. Millar’s daughters was married to one of General Sherman’s sons, and that Vice President Sherman, Thomas Edison and President Taft have been guests here.
The Millar’s took possession on February 27th, 1872. Prior to their moving to this house, they resided at 73 Blandina Street.
An early description of this house: The house is of brick, masonry construction, with a wooden wing or ell to the right and rear of the house. The general plan of the house is as follows: Front door and hall in the center of the building, with a large drawing room on the right which runs almost the length of the brick section of the house. Behind that was a music room and two more rooms, then two large greenhouses, attached to the house. These two conservatories housed many interesting and exotic plants and were on of Mr. Millar’s absorbing interests. On the left side of the hall were two rooms, behind them the kitchen and servants quarters. Upstairs were six bedrooms and one bathroom. The third story was a full story, with high ceilings.
Charles (1808-1890) and Jane Millar (1813-1908) were the first occupants. Then in 1909-1911, the house was occupied solely by Louisa A. Millar. Russell and Frances Wheeler moved in in 1912. Russell died in 1931 and Louisa died in 1932 leaving Mrs. Russell (Frances) Wheeler alone in the big house. In 1933 J. Francis Day and his wife Fanny W. moved in with Mrs. Wheeler and remained there until 1942. It was during this time that Mrs. Wheeler converted the house into apartments. In 1943 the house was vacant except for Mrs. Wheeler. From 1944 through 1977 the house was listed as occupied by Mrs. Russell Wheeler and six additional apartments. In September 1977, Mrs. Wheeler moved out and the house was scheduled to be demolished.
From 1978 until Brenda and Bob Michaels purchased the home from Charles Gaetano in May of 1997, the Millar estate had been renovated into office space. It took 15 months of intensive restoration efforts to repair everything from plaster moldings to all new plumbing and electrical improvements. The Michaels opened the inn for business on August 15th of 1998.
On July 22, 2004 we, Rita and Bob Sleys, purchased the Inn from the Michaels and continue to operate it as a 7 room bed and breakfast.
Clair and Roger, NJ