The Milton Historical Society has plans to expand.
The board hopes to raise funds to purchase a historic home at 214 Union St. in an effort to grow the society's footprint in Milton's historic downtown district. But there's a deadline.
A group of private donors has committed about half of what is needed to purchase the property, giving the organization until Sunday, May 7, to raise the remainder, about $71,000.
“It's exciting,” said Milton Historical Society Executive Director Kim Fabbri. “I think we're a great community. It's going to be a challenge, but I do think it's doable.”
If that goal is met, the two-story, three-bedroom home could be used for office, meeting, teaching and exhibit space, as well as a gift shop, art gallery or cafe. The backyard would provide space for events and outdoor seating, Fabbri said.
“It would provide us with a number of different opportunities to expand our offerings,” she said.
The National Register of Historic Places lists the property as the David T. Atkins house, which was built in the early 19th century with mid-19th century alterations.
Milton historian Russ McCabe said David T. Atkins was a member of the prominent Atkins family, many of whom were shopkeepers. His father, Thomas J. Atkins, moved to Milton from Zoar in 1851, where he became known as a talented cabinet maker and later an undertaker. David T. Atkins was his oldest son; he went on to become a shipbuilder.
The home's most recent occupant, Carol Thomas, resided at the historic home for at least three decades, McCabe said. She passed away in 2016.
“There's a story that the house once stood a little further up the hill there, and that they moved it and placed it there,” McCabe said. “It's a cool house, and it would be really convenient if the historical society could get it. Imagine what you could do with a place like that.”
Purchasing the property would free up space in the Lydia B. Cannon Museum next door, Fabbri said, allowing Milton Historical Society to expand programming and events, and display more historic art.
“To be able to use that space to accommodate more visitors and engage more visitors is something that's very exciting,” Fabbri said. “I think it will allow us to meet the needs of more guests in a new and unique way.”
To make a donation or help with fundraising efforts, email Milton Historical Society Executive Director Kimberly Fabbri at email@example.com. If you are related to David T. Atkins or Carol Thomas, contact Maddy Lauria at firstname.lastname@example.org or 302-645-7700 Ext. 321.