Milford was a major center for wood ship building in the 19th century and has a rich and fascinating history and architectural legacy.

The Towers History

The Towers has a rich history. Among its notable residents was the early 19th Century poet John Lofland, who was a rival to Edgar Allen Poe. It was also the home of William Burton, Delaware's Governor from 1859 to 1863, who tried unsuccessfully to keep Delaware out of the Civil War.  Click here to download a short history of the Towers.

For those interested in architectural history, the Towers has many interesting aspects. While in appearance it is the epitome of a late 19th century Victorian "painted lady" (and is featured in the book America's Painted Ladies: The Ultimate Celebration of Our Victorians by Elizabeth Pomada and Michael Larsen) the underlying structure is a colonial building constructed during the Revolutionary War. Governor Burton's daughter, Rhoda Roudebush, started remodeling the house when she moved back to Milford from New York in 1887. She hired an Italian cabinet maker to design the elaborate woodwork and hired skilled carpenters from Milford's shipyards to execute the designs. What you see today took four years of work and $40,000 (approximately equal to $1.2 million at today's prices) to complete. During this renovation the original exterior chimney on the east side of the building was refaced and two dates--1783 and 1891--were lain in blackened brick. This is the only documentation we have of the date when the original colonial structure was constructed.

The Towers is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the North Milford Historic District.

All of the downloadable documents are in PDF format and require Acrobat Reader to download.  Click here to download free Acrobat Reader software from Adobe.