If you live in or near Rye's Milton Gardens – the rectangular block between Milton Road and Newberry Place (and Oakland Beach and Dearborn Avenue) close to Rye Town Park, John Christopher Leavitt of Woodstock, Connecticut has created a historical treasure trove just for you.
Leavitt found a box of family photos and documents earlier this year belonging to his grandfather Leland Magill. His grandfather lived in Milton Gardens in the 1920s and 30s and he has created a web site – complete with excellent historical photos:
"A few months ago in early 2010 I was cleaning out June (Magill) and Peter Leavitt’s house in Woodstock CT when I found documents and pictures that belonged to Leland Magill, my mother’s father and my grandfather. [June (90) and Peter (97) now live with me, their eldest son, and my wife Becki.] I had never seen these materials before and have known very little about my grandfather’s life before the 1940s, although my mother has often reminisced about her childhood at Milton Gardens.
The vague picture I developed of Milton Gardens was that it was a place in Rye NY where grandfather built homes and where my mother lived in the 1920s before the stock market crash of October,1929, leading to the onset of the Great Depression. From brief discussions over the years I was left with the impression that all was immediately lost shortly after the crash; but this was not the case at all.
The Magills lived at Milton Gardens until some time in 1935 or 36 when grandfather Leland was able to get an architectural position with the Veterans Administration in Washington DC. In the five or six years following the crash, it has now become clear that grandfather went through a very difficult five or six years trying the sell the houses that he had built and rented at Milton Gardens, as well as at other locations surrounding Milton Gardens and in nearby towns like Greenwich CT. It must have been a wrenching experience. I never fully comprehended the length of time of this decline until I saw the documentation now published at this site."