The Victorian-Era consideration of privacy and moral virtue precluded middle-class residents from ostensibly living with strangers under one roof and sharing walls. As a result, most apartments at the late 19th century catered to low-income residents, transients and others deemed outside the realm of the middle class.
However, Bill Miller Apartments featured privacy and amenities specifically designed to attract middle-class professionals, including enjoying classical decoration. Apartments before the Bell Miller development shared exterior designs similar to commercial buildings and possessed few, if any, indoor decor or amenities. In contrast, the Ben Miller rooms included central steam heat, telephone accessibility, electric and gas lighting, indoor plumbing, fireplaces, crystal chandeliers and ornate crown moldings.
As such, the Ben Miller apartments denote a shift in attitudes by Americans, notably as the nation moved into the 20th century and increasingly urbanized. Convenience, access to phones and electricity and growing city entertainment and shopping options made city life more appealing. Indeed, by 1920, nearly 50% of Americans lived in urban regions whereas only 25% had done so during the 1870s. Thus, a need for apartments arose, but apartments also had to meet the standards of the Middle Class. Therefore Bell Miller and other luxury apartments turned increasingly attractive to Americans.