The Usher H. Miller Residence at 25 Alexandra Street in Saint John is recognized as a part of the Douglas Avenue Preservation Area. Douglas Avenue Preservation Area was recognized as a protected historic streetscape because of its fine mixture of working class tenements along with more substantial homes of the middle and wealthy classes, many of which have long-standing family connections spanning multiple generations.
Douglas Avenue is known for its community atmosphere created, in part, by the spacious lawn frontage, making it a choice location for suburban living in the late 1800’s.
Douglas Avenue was built in the mid 1850’s to connect Main Street with the newly constructed suspension bridge at Reversing Falls. This area was formerly a part of the City of Portland before that city amalgamated with Saint John in 1889.
Alexandra Street branches off Douglas Avenue and was included in this preservation area because of its fine display of Arts and Crafts homes combined with other post Victorian homes. As a result of easier transportation due to motorized vehicles and the presence of the street car, which started operation on Douglas Avenue in 1902, the area around Alexandra Street began drawing the working class. Alexandra Street was built about 1910 and most of the homes standing on this street today were built at that time. The Usher H. Miller Residence is an example of Queen Anne Revival residential architecture within this district.
The Usher H. Miller Residence is also recognized for its association with its former occupants. The residence was built about 1910 and the first occupancies by Parker Baker and Howard Ellis were short. The building has a long time association with Usher H. Miller. He was a key figure to charities and the welfare of children for many years in the City of Saint John.
From 1908 to 1917, he was a manufacturer of lumber and lime. From 1915 to 1925, he acted as forwarding agent for shippers of hay and feed to the West Indies.
His greatest work was in connection with the New Brunswick Protestant Orphans Home, of which he was Secretary-Treasurer for a quarter of a century, from 1919 to 1944. During that period, an orphanage on Manawagonish Road was built, and two orphanage bodies were united. He was also president of the Children’s Aid Society for many years. He was only the second president in the history of this society and it greatly expanded under his regime. He was also director of the Family Welfare Association for many years and every organization engaged in welfare work had Mr. Miller’s support. Miller lived in this residence from about 1918 until his death in 1951.
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