A HOUSE WITH HISTORY
The Stowell family, well known wholesale grocers in Ithaca, NY commissioned William Henry Miller to build their home. When the foundation wasn’t just exactly right, Ithaca newspapers reported that that original foundation was ripped out and begun again. The Stowell’s lived at 303 North Aurora Street until 1914.
After more than three decades of living in the house, R.C. Osborn bought it for his wife and children. Sadly, the pandemic flu of 1918 took the lives of R.C’s wife and one of his children.
In 1922, R.C. married Agda Swenson, a Cornell pre-med student from New Jersey and they continued to live in the house on the corner with his children and their two children, Ruth and John.
R.C. passed away in 1954 but Agda continued to live here, often with step daughter Lois and granddaughter Agda Lowe. Mrs. Osborn was the Grande Dame of Ithaca and a pillar of the community. When she saw a need, she acted upon it founding four different organizations: The Hangar Theatre, Family and Children’s Service, The Cornell’s Women’s Club and The City Federation of Women’s Organizations. Those organizations continue to enrich Ithaca to this day.
In the mid 60’s, the county approached Mrs. Osborn and asked permission to purchase the 5500 square foot house. Their intent was to demolish it and erect the Tompkins County Library. She instructed them to leave her home. Thankfully she did!
In 1996, Mrs. Osborn passed away. Lynnette Scofield and her former husband purchased the house on October 27 1998. Work began immediately and within four months, seven and a half bathrooms; sprinkler system; all new plumbing; all new electrical; fire safety equipment; new entrance; wheel chair lift; new bedroom; rebuilding of two stairways; all new paper and paint and furnishing took place.
The doors of The William Henry Miller Inn opened on March 4 1999. And, as they say, the rest is history.
In June 2019, Amy Fuhr, and her business partner, Christopher Anderson, purchased the Inn, becoming just the 4th owners since its construction in 1880.
William Henry Miller, Architect
When William Henry Miller left the small town of Barneveld New York outside of Utica to come to Cornell University in 1868, there was no architecture program.
Andrew Dickson White, Cornell’s first president, took young Miller under his tutelage and the architecture program was born. Miller’s love of the profession became apparent and with so many commissions, he didn’t graduate from Cornell but went right to work practicing his craft.
Learn more about William Henry Miller on Wikipedia.