History is the fabric and foundation from which the present social environment has evolved. Located on the southwest corner of Combs and Baldwin Streets in one of Milton’s old but treasured neighborhoods, sits a charming old Craftsman-style historic home resting peacefully as if anticipating a new family to fall in love with it and adopt it as their own.
Although steeped in history, the old home has been completely renovated inside to reflect all the modern conveniences a new individual or family could expect. Well built with beautifully aged cedar lap siding, the home was reportedly included in the 1880 census, making it proud as well as beautiful. Current property records, however, date it as more current, a few years short of a century.
Just a step upon its inviting, cozy porch is all it takes to send one on an imaginary trip back in time. The ground front door with a modest, period knocker invites you into a great room with soaring ceilings, bead boarding, and a richly stained staircase leading to a lofty second story bedroom. The central hallway with scrolling wood corbels and parquet flooring leads to the dining and newly renovated kitchen area.
The master suite has a newly remodeled bathroom with a claw-foot tub reminiscent of another era, small black and white patterned tile, new vanity, and a double-sized closet with engineered storage system. Downstairs there is an additional bed room with walk-in closet and ceiling fan. The upstairs bedroom shows roof lines and nooks for lots of storage. Updated in the last ten years, the home has smooth, finished sheetrock throughout. Also updated in recent years are modern lighting, fans, carpeting, and vinyl and tile flooring, Vaulted ceilings are true to the era and 13-foot at apex.
Architectural roof and central heat and air were replaced as late as 2005 along with insulated walls and floors.
All in all, the home reflects the culture of the times and engenders memories of just how important the area was in its prime. The home is situated on a wooded lot now, on property considered to have housed some of the most important industrial activity in the City of Milton’s history.
The People’s Ice Plant formerly on the block was considered to produce a vital commodity for everyone’s home. The ice plant was a hub of activity in the neighborhood where ice was manufactured. The ice was sold, for instance, in blocks of 25, 50, and 100 pound blocks that were carried home to refrigerate food and use for various other refrigeration needs. It was also headquarters for fishermen who needed ice to preserve their catch from the Blackwater River. An original slab from the plant is still in place on the block, according to Nancy Brown who is familiar with the area.
The S. G. Collins Cotton Gennery operated on the block between the house and Henry Street as late as 1910. Mrs. Doreen Cato who lives across the street from the property and who is familiar with the history of the neighborhood said that Mr. Collins who owned the Cotton Ginnary had a warehouse on the block and did construction work in different places. And just a block or so away the Santa Rosa County High School was built in 1012. That building, which is now the home of the Santa Rosa County School Board, once served as the only high school in Santa Rosa County. During those years Henry Street, as now, was the only street crossing the railroad, another factor in favor of the area.
Standard Oil Company maintained an Industrial site a block to the south near the railroad, and probably the most impressive industry of historic value connected to the area was the Ford Carriage Works that operated at the site.
Knowing more about it and appreciating where we’ve been will certainly have a positive impact on our future. And the historic home at 6832 Baldwin Street in Milton is an example of how we can connect to the past.