Park Street at Pleasant Valley Road, Peterboro, New York | Officially Marked Monument
Elizabeth Smith Miller (1822–1911) was the daughter of abolitionist philanthropist Gerrit Smith and his wife Ann Carroll Fitzhugh Smith. Elizabeth lived in this house with her husband, Charles Dudley Miller, from 1851 to 1869. The house was a gift to the couple from Gerrit Smith; it was called the "House on the Green" because it faced the Gerrit Smith Estate across Peterboro’s central, grassy strip of parkland. In 1869, the couple moved into the lakeside estate Lochland at Geneva, which was also a gift from Gerrit Smith.
Miller was an activist and financial supporter of woman’s rights/suffrage causes. (Nineteenth-century practice was to use the singular, woman's, when referring to women as a class; later practice was to use the plural, women's.) She is best known as a dress reform pioneer. Shortly after moving into this house, she invented the practical knee-length skirt over pantaloons that became known as "Bloomers." The name, bestowed by less-than-friendly newspaper reporters, acknowledged activist Amelia Bloomer, who did not invent the style but popularized it in her temperance and woman’s rights periodical, The Lily.
The Elizabeth Smith Miller house is a private residence and is not open to the public, though there is a historical marker in its side yard. The house is across the old village green from the Gerrit Smith Estate, which is open on weekends.
Front view, looking across Park Street at the Miller home.
Side view of the Miller home, viewed
from across Pleasant Valley Road.
This strangely composed historical marker (with Miller's birth and death dates, rather than her name, at the top) was placed by the State of New York during the administration of Governor George Pataki (1995–2006).