Located at 25 Alexandra Street in Saint John, the Usher H. Miller Residence is acknowledged as part of the Douglas Avenue Preservation Area. The area was designated a protected historic streetscape due to its unique blend of working-class tenements and more substantial homes belonging to middle and affluent classes, many of which have deep-rooted family ties spanning several generations.
Douglas Avenue is renowned for its community atmosphere, fostered in part by the expansive lawn frontage that made it a preferred location for suburban living in the late 1800s. Constructed in the mid-1850s, Douglas Avenue connected Main Street with the newly built suspension bridge at Reversing Falls. Previously part of the City of Portland, the area became part of Saint John after the two cities merged in 1889.
Branching off from Douglas Avenue, Alexandra Street was included in the preservation area due to its exceptional display of Arts and Crafts homes alongside other post-Victorian residences. With the advent of motorized vehicles and the introduction of streetcars on Douglas Avenue in 1902, the area surrounding Alexandra Street began to attract the working class. Established around 1910, most of the houses on Alexandra Street today were built during that time. The Usher H. Miller Residence serves as an example of Queen Anne Revival residential architecture within the district.
The residence is also notable for its association with its previous inhabitants. Constructed around 1910, the home’s initial occupants, Parker Baker and Howard Ellis, had brief tenures. The building is closely linked with Usher H. Miller, who significantly contributed to charities and child welfare in Saint John for many years.
Miller worked in lumber and lime manufacturing from 1908 to 1917, and from 1915 to 1925, he served as a forwarding agent for hay and feed shippers to the West Indies.
His most significant work was with the New Brunswick Protestant Orphans Home, where he held the position of Secretary-Treasurer for 25 years, from 1919 to 1944. During his tenure, an orphanage was built on Manawagonish Road, and two orphanage organizations were united. Miller also presided over the Children’s Aid Society for numerous years, overseeing its expansion as only the second president in the society’s history. Additionally, he served as a director of the Family Welfare Association for several years, and every welfare-focused organization had Miller’s support. He resided in this home from around 1918 until his passing in 1951.
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