Built about 1886, The George V. Millett house is an outstanding example of Victorian-era “shingle style” architecture. Millett was born in 1846 and died in 1914. He was a partner in the company “Millett, Woodbury &Co., Shoes,” which was apparently located next to today’s Mercury Brewing on Brown Square.
In the 1896 Town Report, we read, “Millett & Woodbury have permitted us to use their whistle as a fire alarm, and have kept a steam pressure sufficient to blow at any time. To compensate them for coal burned, we suggest the town remit their water rates, about $16.”
The company closed its Ipswich plant in 1899 and moved to Beverly. Workers at the Beverly plant went on strike in June 1904 against a pay change from piece to day work at $15/ week for 55-60 hr. workweeks. The company partially dissolved, with Blake Allen & Co shoes of Pittsfield, NH leasing part of Woodbury Bros. shoe factory.
FL Burke & Son heel Manufacturers of Rowley purchased Millett Woodbury & Co’s shoe shop in Ipswich. The Depot Square building burned in a spectacular fire along with the Canney Lumber Company.
George V. Millett is buried at the Old South Cemetery in Ipswich.
The present owners of the George V. Millett house believe that it was designed built by Stanford White, who began working at the age of 18 as the principal assistant to Henry Hobson Richardson, the famous American architect of the day. White became a partner with McKim, Mead and White, and designed most of the private homes they commissioned. He was known for his sensualist instincts, breaking precedent and using new materials. Stanford’s “Colonial Revival” designs, such as this house, often included shingle siding and Gambrel roofs, pedimented porticoes, columns, dentil mouldings, and Federal-style entry doorways.
On the night of June 25th, 1906, Stanford White was murdered at Madison Square Garden by Harry Kendall Thaw over the affair between his wife, Evelyn Nesbit, and White. This resulted in a notorious trial, with a verdict of “Not Guilty” by reason of insanity.