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Milton Center Historic District

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Canton Ave.
  • Milton Center Historic District (Keith Morgan)

Although historically and geographically the town center, this cluster of religious and governmental buildings never generated a traditional village with a concentration of shops and houses. On the west side stands the First Parish Church, Unitarian (535 Canton Avenue), erected in 1788 but turned 90° and substantially remodeled in 1835 with a Greek Revival facade below its original tower. In 1833 the Congregationalists added a similar church (495 Canton Avenue) on the other side of the green. In neither case has the architectbuilder been identified. In 1937, the Unitarians remodeled a former school as the “Children's Church” for the wife of the minister, who was also ordained.

Next to the Congregational Church, the Town of Milton erected in 1925 a World War I memorial, “In Flanders Field” by Daniel Chester French. In 1934 the Thomas F. McGann Company, a well-known art foundry, executed the Civil War Memorial on the other side of the green. The cluster around the green also includes a stone powder house built in 1811 and relocated here in 1978. Between the two churches, the town erected a two-story concrete frame and tan brick gabled office building (1970, Richard C. Stauffer and Associates, 525 Canton Avenue) heavily screened by plantings.

Across the road from the two churches and town hall Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge designed the Milton Public Library (476 Canton Avenue), built in 1902. Constructed of red brick and limestone, the library repeats the formula common in small towns across the nation of an architectural jewel box on a raised site. Nathaniel Kidder, the major contributor, later gave land for branch libraries in East Milton and Mattapan.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Milton Center Historic District", [Milton, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 547-547.

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