NEW MILFORD — The white colonial at 34 Main St. now stands as the last residential property around the Town Green, but when it was built in 1774, it was one of the first.

The home was built by the neighboring First Congregational Church’s second minister, Rev. Nathaniel Taylor, for his eldest son, Revolutionary War Col. Nathaniel Taylor.

“(The Taylors) came very early in the birth of New Milford,” said Lisa Roush, New Milford Historical Society’s curator. “His house was one of the earlier houses that were built on the green and other houses followed. The church was always the center of town.”

The younger Taylor was “a player” in the Revolutionary War, traveling to dine with Gen. George Washington at least once, Roush said.

At the New Milford home, he would host military personnel traveling through town, including Lt. Gen. Marquis de Lafayette and Gen. Jean-Baptiste de Rochambeau, commanders of the French troops that fought alongside the continental army against the British.

The house would stay in the Taylor family until 1860 and by the 1930s had been converted into four apartments. It was restored to its original state in 1940.

It was this history that gained the attention of its last owner, Charles Beach Barlow, who would buy the home in 1972 and live there until he passed away in 2016.

Barlow, an avid historian and former president of the C.M. Beach Company on Bridge Street, had grown up in another house on the green — now a funeral home — and returned to New Milford after working as a banker in London, Philadelphia, Waterbury and in Worcester, Mass.

“When he came back to New Milford, the fact that there was a historical property as important as that — he was very anxious to buy it,” Roush said.

Mark Malkin, Barlow’s friend and the executor of his estate, said that staying on the green, where he grew up, was important to Barlow.

Those who knew him recall Barlow as a “formal gentleman” who, even in his 80s, would wear a suit and tie each day.

He became well known in town for his involvement in community organizations — more than a dozen in New Milford and throughout the state — and his ability to recall historical details at the drop of a hat.

“He was passionate about anything he got involved in,” Malkin said. “He was an extraordinary man and had an incredible memory. I would sit with him and he’d be telling me stories of his childhood. His recollection was amazing.”

Barlow’s passion for history can also be found in the extensive collections he left behind, part of which will become available at an auction later this month.

The auction will be held in two parts because of the number of items that were found on display or “tucked away” in Barlow’s home, said Mitchell Borenstein, of Applebrook Auctions.

More than 200 items — including rugs, artwork, sterling and Barlow’s collection of British royal memorabilia — will be featured in the first auction on April 26.

“This was literally like stepping back into a wonderful time that no longer exists,” Borenstein said. “That formal (kind of collecting) — it’s a house you would’ve seen in a movie in a different time.”

The full collection can be found on Applebrook Auctions’ website. The home, and parts of Barlow’s estate not included in the auction, will be donated to a nonprofit, Malkin said. The organization has asked not to be named yet, but has indicated they will continue to use the home.

aquinn@newstimes.com