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The Blackwater River Foundation believes that historic preservation is the
one form of economic development that is simultaneously community development. We protect the environment by reusing and restoring resources, and choose to live by example. Since 2003, the Foundation has been striving to preserve historical, cultural and environmental resources. Please read below for details of our notable accomplishments.
T.W. Jones House
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The Blackwater River Foundation is embarking on the completion of an eight-year rehabilitation of the historic T.W. Jones House in Milton, Florida. The house will be used for nonprofit offices and will serve as the Blackwater Education Center, providing programming and educational opportunities for the public to learn about the vast historical, cultural and environmental resources within the Blackwater River Watershed.
Before (2003) Today (2010)
The stately old house that stand prominently on Henry Street was once home to Thomas W. "Tom" Jones and his wife Alice. The story of the Jones family is one of public service and of prominent historical significance with the family's connections to shipbuilding and lumbering industries in and around Milton. Mr. and Mrs. Jones lived in the house from the time they were newlyweds in 1897 until their deaths in 1951.
Alice Jones (left), a friend (center) and T.W. Jones (right) on the front porch of the house in the mid-1920s.
Mr. Jones was a downtown Milton merchant and served as the Clerk of the Court in Santa Rosa County for three terms from 1920 until 1932. Mr. Jones hosted many social gatherings in the house, including a ceremony honoring the last remaining Civil War veterans in Santa Rosa County. The Joneses were known throughout the Northwest Florida and South Alabama region for thier vast collections of camelias and varius flowers.
The architectural significance of the house is one unique from all others in the downtown Milton area and perhaps anywhere. The house is a one-of-a-kind bunglow. Originally built sometime in the late 1870s as a one-and-a-half story Creole Cottage, the house was converted into a one-story Craftsman Bungalow in 1922. The only evidence of its 1870s existence is found inside the house with its central hall, four-square layout, servant's wing, distinctive construction technique, and evidence of a staircase in the ceiling joists of the central hallway.
Newspaper artciles indicate Mrs. Jones had been hospitalized in Mobile for a serious and lengthy illness in the early 1920s. Within months of her return home and while she was recovering, Mr. Jones created his wife's dream house -- a Craftsman Bunglow -- by altering their existing 19th Century cottage to include "modern" ammenities.
Throughout the 1920s and 1930s Mr. Jones built many of the bungalows near his home and throughout downtown Milton as rental properties. "Architectural signatures" link these houses in stylisms unique to Mr. Jones. Many of these houses still stand today.
After years of abandonment and termite infestation, this historic property was donated to the Blackwater River Foundation in 2003 to be restored and to serve as a public facility.
This project has been financed in part through monetary and in-kind contributions by the Zarrow Families Foundation, the Jelks Family Foundation, The Home Depot Foundation, and Historic Preservation Grant Assistance provided by the Bureau of Historic Preservation, Division of Historical Resources, Florida Department of State, assisted by the Florida Historical Commission.