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96 Park Avenue

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96 Park Avenue
Brockport, N.Y. 

History written by Carol L. Hannan, June 2014 
Photo Credit and Produced by Pamela Ketchum
© Copyright by Carol L. Hannan – June 2014. All rights reserved.

Owner/builder (?): about 1900 to about 1930 

Built about the turn of the century as a duplex, this home’s lot was originally part of the land owned by Myrick Oglvie Randall and eventually his daughter, Lucy Bianca Randall Muller. Bianca, as she was known, lived in Brockport with her husband, before moving south with him. She sold the land inherited from her father and probably moved from the village before this house was constructed. For the first several decades, the house was rented by families or individuals who eventually settled elsewhere, leaving little or no impact on the village. An exception was the brief occupancy of John P. Davis, a village merchant, who shortly afterward bought a home on Park Avenue and lived there for the rest of his life. Also well-known to village residents and remembered for his many years of service to Brockport was attorney Henry E. MacArthur.

Henry Edward MacArthur and his wife Leota Robinson lived in Brockport for the majority of their lives. Born in Mt. Morris, Henry studied law with Theodore S. Dean, Esq., a village attorney, after graduating from Brockport Normal in 1898. He lived with the Dean family on South Avenue, as his sister was Mrs. Dean. Upon Dean’s death, Henry remained in Brockport where he practiced law for nearly fifty years.

MacArthur served as clerk and also village attorney for many years. He authored Ordinances of the Village of Brockport in 1908. His many local clients included the 1st National Bank of Brockport. From 1934 to 1935, MacArthur served as President of the Brockport Normal Alumni Association. He was particularly active in the Brockport Kiwanis Club, an original organizer and member, as well as its President in 1928 and 1929. MacArthur was eventually elected Lieutenant Governor of the Fifth Division of the New York State Kiwanis Club. He was active in the Sweden Republican Party, a Mason and a member of the First Presbyterian Church in the village. 

Leota Belle Robinson, daughter of the Reverend William Braids Robinson and Ella Leota French, was born in Illinois. Her family eventually moved to Brockport, where Reverend Robinson was pastor of the First Presbyterian Church. She and Henry had no children. They feted his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Albert MacArthur on their 60th anniversary at the same time her parents celebrated their 50th anniversary, milestones Leota and Henry, sadly, would not reach. Henry passed away in 1949. Leota, who lived a very long life, eventually moved to Rochester. She and her husband were likely reunited in death, but the location of their final resting place is unknown.

Leon Warren and Ethel Brodie Milliman
Owners: about 1930 to 1953

Starting as tenants in this rental about 1925, Leon and Ethel became owners of the property by 1930 and remained the owner/occupants until Leon’s death in 1954. 

Leon Milliman, born in Attica, Wyoming County, was the son of Frederick Milliman and Gertrude F. Dersam, both immigrants from Germany. By 1910, Leon was living in Warsaw, New York and working as a clerk in a clothing store. At the outbreak of World War I, 29 year old Leon was inducted into the army and served a year overseas in Battery D of the 307th Engineers.

Why he moved to Brockport is unknown, but on July 11, 1922, Leon and village native Ethel Brodie were married before a gathering at her mother’s home on Park Avenue. Ethel wore a gown of white canton crepe and carried a “shower bouquet” of roses and sweet peas. Fashionable brides of that time wore short dresses and carried
enormous flower bouquets with ribbons streaming from them – hence the term “shower bouquets.” It was a ceremony performed by Reverend Henry Stevens, pastor of the Baptist Church, to which Ethel belonged. 

Leon Milliman opened a grocery store and carried on as a village merchant until ill health forced him to close his Main Street business in 1954. A newspaper article in September of 1925 recorded his food prices: Crisco sold for 27 cents/lb., White House Coffee for 47 cents/lb. and Kellogg’s Corn Flakes for 10 cents a package. Yes, those days are long gone! 

Park Avenue was Ethel Milliman’s childhood neighborhood. She grew up just across the street. Ethel was a book keeper before her marriage but afterward, was a housewife. She and Leon had no children. They lived in one side of the duplex and rented the other, for many years to tenant Sarah Shafer, a widow. Ethel was active in community affairs; managing the Brockport Chapter of the Red Cross Drive in 1924, for example. She remained, along with her husband, a member of the Brockport Baptist Church. Ethel Brodie Milliman lived a long life, surviving her husband by decades, before passing away at age 84 in 1977. Leon Milliman, a veteran and member of the American Legion, the Capen Hose Company, the Brockport Yacht Club and Brockport Masonic Temple, died two years after his retirement from his grocery business, in 1956. Both he and his wife are buried in the Brodie family plot at Lakeview Cemetery, Town of Sweden. 

Epilogue 2014

This house, built as a duplex, remains a rental today. When originally constructed, we know the home was sided with dark stained shingles, as is shown in a surviving photograph. Today, those shingles have been covered with white siding, which gives the structure an entirely different look. There may have, at some time, been a small addition built at the back of the home. Otherwise, the house appears to have had no substantial exterior alterations made over the years.

© Copyright by Carol L. Hannan - June 2014. All rights reserved.