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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Welcome Milford Past, Present & Future

8 Mayor’s Letter 10 Chairman’s Letter 14 In Memory

24 Postcards of the Past 74 Milford A-Z 78 Future Thoughts

Milford Through the Years 16 1600’s 28 1700’s 40 1800’s 52 1900’s 66 2000’s

Milford Postcards A

ll through our long history, Milford has offered respite for

and beachgoers from corners across the globe. Fortunately for us, Henry

visitors. George Washington dined downtown as vacationers do

“Buster” Walsh amassed a vast postcard collection that highlights the

to this day. Fresh breezes off the Sound, and the community feel of our

landscape of our past. Together we look upon these special times of our

Green make for a most inviting place. Our shoreline beckons boaters

past and share them with one another today and in the future.

Milford Connecticut 24 Three Hundred Seventy-Five

Milford Connecticut 25 Three Hundred Seventy-Five

M i l f o r d L i v i n g

About the cover: For the cover and back cover of our Summer issue and 375th Milford Celebratory Milford is for Living

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Milford Connecticut 1 Three Hundred Seventy-Five

Summer

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Guide we view a reflection of the Memorial tower through the lens of JJ Richards, the image displayed reflects the imagery seen on our back cover. JJ Richard originally hails from New Zealand, but came to visit and fell in love with our beautiful city and is proud to now call Milford home. His work can be seen at http://www.singingwithlight.me and also on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Singingwithlight, if interested in either purchasing or displaying his fine work please contact singingwithlight@gmail.com


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Empowering Women for Life SUMMER 2014 VOLUME 11 • ISSUE 2

Publisher/President Suzanne Cahill Suzanne@milfordliving.com

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Advertising Manager Joy Haines

Account Executives

Art Director Ryan Swanson

Lisa Turner, Jeff Williams

Contributing Photographers

Ashley Avitabile, Bill Canfield, Chris Carveth, Lindsay Comer, Kevin Cole, Susan Carroll-Dwyer, Zak DePiero, Ann Doolittle, Ann Donnells, Lucy Dittman, Peter Eason, Bebe Gallo, Bob Harrington, Paul Hromjak, Sherry Lynn Johnson, Phil Kohan, Dana Laird, Kathryn Lutfy, Cathy Leite, Tom Mackin, Kathy Nemec-Lucas, George Mathews, Mary Hegarty Neschke, David McCarthy, John Powers, Phyllis Powers, JJ Richards, Robert Perron, Ed Steinerts, Robert J. Smith, Jesse Thompson, Eleanor Turkington, Lou Tibor, Nancy Unger, Filip Wolak

Contributing Editors

Jessica Avitabile, McKenzie Granata

Contributing Writers

“Be extraordinary. Try out for the musical. Write for the campus newspaper. Join the ice hockey team or French Club. You will be welcomed and motivated.”

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Milford Living Magazine 162 Bridgeport Avenue Milford CT 06460 203-283-5290 http://www.milfordliving.com

Milford Living Magazine (ISSN 1547-4429) is distributed quarterly by Red Mat Publishing. P.O. Box 2387 Milford, CT 06460. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the express written permission of the Publisher. Subscription Rates: U.S. $23.80. Newsstand: $5.95. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Milford Living Magazine P.O. Box 2387, Milford, CT 06460. Please allow six to eight weeks for subscription processing. Copyright 2003-2014 Red Mat Publishing. Opinions expressed in Milford Living Magazine articles and advertisements are those of the authors and advertisers, respectively, and should not be considered as expressions of  management or official policies of Milford Living Magazine. Printed in the USA.

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A Letter From Your Mayor e all know the Milford lore: on February 12, 1639,

W

our founding fathers journeyed to the Wepawaug and purchased land from the Paugusett chief,

Ansantawae, who had a village on the banks of the river. 375 years later, we commemorate the establishment of our great city—the sixth oldest in Connecticut—with a year-long celebration. We’ve already enjoyed the Opening Celebration and the Twig and Turf Ceremony re-enacting the founding fathers purchase; now we look forward to the upcoming speakers, exhibits, concerts, Founding Families Day, as well as the pomp, parades, illuminations, and other joyous activities. As a passionate student of Milford history, I am most excited about our community’s positive responses to these events. People are getting involved: from competing in design contests for 375th Anniversary logo and participating in re-enactments, to attending the special lectures and concerts, families and individuals want to know more—and do more—for our special city. So, please join me in thanking our energetic and enthusiastic 375th Anniversary Committee members for their tireless work, especially the officers: chairman Robert Gregory, retired director of community development; vice chairman

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Peter Smith, former State Representative and vice chairman of the 350th committee; secretary Alberta Jagoe, Milford’s Mayor during the 350th celebration; and treasurer Robert Berchem, principal and president of the Milford law firm of Berchem, Moses & Devlin. To the citizens of Milford, past and present, a heartfelt “thank you” for your contributions to the, “Small City with a Big Heart.”

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Chairman’s Letter

s you know, Milford is celebrating its 375th

A

birthday this year! To oversee the celebration, Mayor Ben Blake appointed a committee in

October of last year charged with remembering the past, celebrating in the present, and leaving memories for the future. Milford is a city of celebrations. Celebrating 375 years is a significant milestone in the history of our community, but the committee could not have planned and carried out this great celebration alone. We have enlisted many partners to assist in the festivities, and those whose partners have contributed with many events and special happenings. For example, the Milford Garden Club advocated and the Board of Aldermen approved an official flower for Milford…the coneflower. Leaving permanent memories is a legacy of past celebrations

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and this one will follow that tradition. Founders Walk will be created, thanks to Representative James Maroney and a state grant. It will be a walkway leading from the Memorial Bridge (a donation from Milford’s 1889 celebration) down to the harbor. Another lasting landmark is the new flagpole on the Green, courtesy of the Devon Rotary Club. It has been a privilege and an honor to serve as chairman of our celebration. There are so many people to thank, including Mayor Ben Blake for his support and enthusiasm; the volunteers who served on the committee for their many hours of dedicated service; and the sponsors, for without them this celebration would not have been possible. Most importantly, I thank you, our community—the citizens of Milford, who truly demonstrate the meaning of a

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Milford Connecticut 10 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


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375th Anniversary Committee Honorary Chair

Board of Education

Mayor Benjamin Blake

Kathy Bonetti, Earl Whiskeyman

Committee Chair

First Baptist Church Liason

Robert Gregory

Vice Chair Peter Smith

Treasurer

Robert Berchem

Secretary Alberta Jagoe

Jennyfer Holmes

First Church

Founding Families Day

Richard Platt, Jr., Art Stowe, Noelle Johnson, Deidre Taylor, Greg Thompson

Gala

Kathie Lutz,-Chair Lisa Hottin, Sharon Marrone

Celebration Week Chair

Milford Library Director

Communications Chair

Media News

City of Milford Liason

Merchandise/Souvenirs

Dan Worroll

Priscilla Lynn Julie Nash

Community Partners Chair Carmen Corvino

Devon Rotary Liaisons Jason Jenkins, Paul Otzel

Education-History

Jean Tsang, David Gregory

Bunny Elmore

Milford Historical Society

Adrienne Damicis, Barbara Ortoleva, Daniel Ortoleva, Marilyn May

Music

Bernadette Shouvlin, Robin Lewis, The Reverend Adam Eckhart, Lloyd Jacobs

Arts & Entertainment Paige Miglio

Milford Garden Club

Christine Angeli Diane Hurst

Bryan Anderson-Chair Ann Maher, Steve Rathbu, Paige Miglio Christine Allard, Carolyn Augur, Al May, Phyllis Legett, John O’Gorman, Julia Siegman, Michael Siegman, Janet Montalbano, Patricia Bryle, Jaime Simko, Elizabeth Herring

Milford Commemorative Publication Suzanne Cahill

James Baird, Dolores Hannon

Parade

Paul Piscitelli-Chair Vin DeRobertis, Russ Edwards, Tom Flowers, Martin Hardiman, Kathy Huber, William Kates, Captain Brandon Marschner and Sergeant Todd Richards-Milford Police, Brian Smith, Batalion Chief Ron Wetmore- MFD Fire

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Elizabeth Feser

Time Capsule

Deforest Smith-Chair, Tad Smith, Winthrop Smith, Jr., Winthrop Smith, Sr., Raymond Vitali, Danforth M. Smith, Deirdre Smith Dey, Dora Kubek, Jim Beard, Joe Barnes, Leo Carroll

Volunteer Coordinator Carolyn Augur

Webmaster

Jamie Rude, Web Support, Mike Smith

Committee Members

Chris Allard, James Amann, Joel Baldwin, Bert Bernardi, Samuel Bergami Jr. Thomas Beirne, Chris Carveth, Meghin Casey, Ken D’Ademo, Maryrose Field, Anthony Giannattasio, Alicia Gonzalez, Bob Joy, Karen & Marty Juliano, Karen Keane, Kathy Huber, Lloyd Jacobs, Ann Maher, Pat McAllen, Phyllis Mullins, JoAnne Neely, Jerry Patton, Laura Russo, Julia Siegman, Mike Siegman, Patrick Tozark, Julia Siegman, Mike Siegman, Brian Smith, Patrick Tozark, Raymond Vitali

Milford Connecticut 12 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


FOR THE PRIVILEGED FEW

Milford Connecticut 13 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


In Honor & Memory

Harriette C. Racz September 9, 1926 – January 14, 2014 arriette chaired Milford’s 350th Celebration, which

H

many have called “the greatest party the City ever had.” Although some felt that we should skip Milford’s 375th,

she was a staunch advocate for a similar celebration to be held in 2014 commemorating 375 years of Milford’s history. As we celebrate the 375th, let us remember Harriette for all the good things she did for the community, especially the great party during the 350th.

Happy 375th Anniversary, Milford! #milfordstrong

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Puritan Past

1639 -1699 75 years ago, on February

3

12, 1639, Edmund Trapp, Benjamin Fenn, Zachariah

Whitman, Alexander Bryan, and William Fowler set out to meet Ansantawae, a Sachem of the Paugusset Indians. For the purchase price of six coats, ten blankets, one kettle, twelve hatchets, twelve hoes, two dozen knives, and a dozen small mirrors, a tract of land known as Wepawaug, named for the river that flowed into an open harbor, is deeded to ife in Puritan Milford was led

L

these five men.

by church leaders who held a

is asked to build a mill (that would

One year later, on April 8, 1640,

someday bear his name) along the

strict fundamentalist view for “Godly”

Reverend Peter Prudden is ordained

Wepawaug River. On November 24,

behavior. Until 1702, the right to vote

the first pastor of the Milford Church.

1640, the General Court votes to rename

was determined by church membership

One of the “seven pillars” of this church

the land “Milford” and adopt the letters

and ownership of property. In 1641, a

was magistrate William Fowler, who

MF as the official seal.

40-foot square meeting house was built near the site of the current First United Church of Christ Congregational. A drum beat, not a bell, summoned men, women, and children, who walked silently to the meeting house at 9:00 am on the Sabbath. In front of the pulpit was an elevated seat for the ruling elder and lower, just behind the communion table, were seats for the deacons. George Clark Jr. had been rejected as a deacon since his wife “was afflicted with lightness in the head,” according to records. Religious tolerance slowly increased, with a Presbyterian church forming in 1741, and an Episcopal church in 1764.

Milford Connecticut 16 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


In the Beginning

With every turn of the mill wheel, there is progress. A school, then ferry service between Milford and Stratford, a town hall, and a tavern. Cemetery plots are laid out in Rev. Prudden’s garden. More mills—for grain, wood, and cider—necessitate regulations for trade and agriculture. To accommodate a busy seaport, a warehouse and wharf are built on Factory Lane (1645). By the time Regicides Whaley and Goffe (see page 19 for more) are forced to flee from Micah Tomkins’s Milford’s home, and the town’s own Robert Treat is appointed governor of the Colony of

fter refusing to sign an oath

A

who also had to know how to build their

swearing allegiance to the Church

own house and barn and make their own

of England, the Rev. John Davenport

tools. Practically all the food consumed

unraveling. And whether or not Captain

and his group of Puritan worshippers

by a man’s family was raised on his own

Kidd actually buried his treasure on

settled in the New Haven Colony in 1637.

or obtained by hunting and fishing. There

Charles Island in 1699, the town that is

They were accompanied by the Rev.

were few skilled artisans in Milford:

beginning to grow along the banks of

Peter Prudden and about 200 followers,

only one carpenter, George Clark Sr.,

Long Island Sound and the Housatonic

who stayed in New Haven for two years

one cooper, Nathaniel Baldwin, and one

River, is steeped in riches.

before making their way to the next

tailor, John Baldwin. Not until 1643 did a

good harbor—ten miles south along

blacksmith, John Smith, join the village.

an old Indian trail—in 1639. They called

Before that, all forging had to be done in

it “Wepowage” after the Indian name

New Haven.

Connecticut (1683), relations between the colonists and King Charles II are

for the harbor’s river. But they changed

Today, the three-house Milford

the name to Milford a year later when

Historical Society complex by the harbor

William Fowler installed the colony’s first

on lower High Street provides glimpses

mill at the head of the falls.

into life during Milford’s earliest days.

Prudden was the first pastor of the First

Among these is The Great Chair, on

Church of Milford, formed Aug. 22, 1639,

display at the circa 1700 Eells-Stowe

granting 44 church members (family

House, the town’s oldest. Made on a

heads those 200 settlers) the right to

lathe between 1640-1660, the simple

vote as “free planters.”

dark brown straight back chair with rush

Life in the village, bounded by 12-foot

seat (wound rope grass) half worn away

palisades to guard against Indian attack,

and decorated arm and backrests, was

was simple and arduous. No one was

made for Nicholas Camp, an original

very wealthy or poor. Most were farmers

1639 planter.

Milford Connecticut 17 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


Milford and the Indians

What’s in a Name? O

riginally known as Wepowage or Wepawaug (histories vary),

meaning crossing place, the town that became Milford was named in November 1640. There is a widely accepted belief that New England towns tended to be named after places in England, not necessarily because their settlers had come from that place, but because the name was descriptive of their location on this side of the Atlantic. But if such is the case with Milford, Connecticut, the connection has yet to be proved. What is known is that in March 1640, William Fowler was commissioned to build a gristmill on the Wepawaug River and was given perpetual use of the stream. It would be logical, therefore to name the town Milford later that year, since there was a mill at the ford (a place where a body of water is shallow enough to be crossed), just above the gorge where the river plunges into the harbor.

O

n February 23, 1639 for

northwest, but Ansantawae and his

a price that included coats, blankets,

hatchets, hoes, and a dozen small mirrors (all treasures in

family lodged on at Indian Point (near Welches Point Road) outside the transferred land. The threat of Indian attack

a day when everything was

was seen as a great danger

handmade), the title to the area

although no Milford settler’s

known as Wepowage passed

death by Indian action was

from Paugusett sachem

ever recorded. Relatives and

Ansantawae to a party of

descendants of Milford’s

English settlers. Most of

original native settlers, like

the natives moved to the

Milford Connecticut 18 Three Hundred Seventy-Five

the Golden Hill Paugussets


from Huntington and Schaghticoke from Litchfield County, still came to Milford to hunt, fish, and clam well into the 18th century. As late as 1831, Indians from Lake Champlain, led by an 80-year-old chief, encamped a fortnight at Milford Point. They said they had come for the

Building Ships T

he year 1690 records the first shipbuilding enterprise in

Milford, when a brig of 150 tons was

last time to the hunting-ground of their

built for Alexander Bryan. Several other

ancestors who lived at Poconoc Point.

ships were built, including Richard

The Search for Goffe & Whalley

Bryan’s “Sea Flower,” launched in 1717.

*

From that time until 1818, vessels and

Learn More

Claude Coffin was only fourteen when he picked up an Indian arrowhead while walking along a Milford beach in 1900 and began a lifelong hobby. The Milford Historical Society houses the Coffin Collection which includes some 3,000 native objects spanning 10,000 years. With many of the objects found in Milford, it is considered one of the finest archeological records ever gathered for Connecticut.

coasters were under construction. In 1843 the channel of the harbor filled in so much that the shipbuilding industry was forced to look elsewhere. primary event denoting religious

A

differences in 17th century Milford

was the village’s part in hiding William Goffe and Edward Whalley, two of fifty-nine English judges who sentenced King Charles I to death by beheading. The Oliver Cromwell rebellion resulted in

First Tavern

Charles’ execution in 1649. But when his son, Charles II, attained power, he vowed to hunt down the “regicides,” or men responsible. Goffe and Whalley fled to Boston, but relentless chase by the King’s men kept them moving from one hiding

he tavern, or public house, was

T

place to another. They moved south to

of great importance to the early

Hartford and later to New Haven where

settlers. Travel during this period required

they laid low in what is today called

stops for refreshment for man and beast

“Judge’s Cave” at West Rock. They next

at frequent intervals. In 1644, permission

moved to Milford where they reportedly

was given to Henry Tomlinson to

stayed from August 1661 to July 1664 in the

“undertake establishing a tavern speedily

house of Micah Tompkins on West River

so that the town might not be destitute

Street (marked by a plaque between the

of accommodations for travelers”. Even

Milford Superior Court House and Parsons

then, location along major paths favored

Complex building.) Goffe and Whalley later

this town called Milford.

fled to Hadley in Western Massachusetts.

Milford Connecticut 19 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


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Established in Milford, Ct., in 1971 and Services and Amenities Established in Milford , Ct.,from in 1971 and Hospital, Services and Amenities located directly across Milford • State-of-the-art equipment • Pharmaceutica located directly across from Milford Hospital, • State-of-the-art equipment • Pharmaceutical services Golden Hill Health Care Center is a 120-bed • In-room TV • APRN service Golden Hill Health Care Center is a 120-bed • In-room TV • APRN services state-of-the-art skilled health We state-of-the-art skilled health care facility.care We facility. • In-room telephone • In-room •telephone Case Management services • Case Manage • Therapy the services up •toTherapy• services Clinical pathway offeroffer short-term rehabilitation care, meeting the meeting up to programs • Clinical pathw short-term rehabilitation care, • Psychologist/psychiatrist/ seven days a week diverse needs of patients through comprehen• Psychologist/ seven days a week diverse needs of patients through comprehenlicensed clinical social • Physical, occupational and sive sub-acute medical services, 24-hour skilled licensed clinic • Physical, worker occupational services and speech therapy sive sub-acute medical services, 24-hour skilled nursing care and progressive rehabilitation worker service speech therapy • Next Step Home Program programs. Ourcare post-hospitalization care feanursing and progressive rehabilitation “A Specialized Home Preparation Program” turesprograms. daily physical, occupational and speech care fea• Next Step Home Program Our post-hospitalization therapy, as well as rehabilitative nursing. We Learn more about us ...take a tour.Home Preparation “A Specialized daily physical, occupational also tures provide outpatient rehabilitation services and speech “Observe experience at its best.” therapy, as well asbeen rehabilitative to those who have recently discharged nursing. We Learn more about us ...take a t fromalso the hospital andoutpatient for those who are having provide rehabilitation services Joint Commission Accredited “Observe experience at its be difficulty functioning at home. to those who have recently been discharged from the hospital and for those who PROGRAMS are having SPECIALTY Joint Commission Accre culty functioning • Intravenous Therapy • Orthopedic Recovery • diffi Post-Acute Recovery at home. • •

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Milford Postcards A

ll through our long history, Milford has offered respite for

Fortunately for us, Henry “Buster� Walsh amassed a vast postcard

visitors. George Washington dined downtown as vacationers

collection that highlights the landscape of our past. Through them, we

do to this day. Yet Milford has been home to many more people than

can look upon the days of our past and share them with one another

ever vacationed here, and it is that home that we celebrate this year.

today and in the future.

Milford Connecticut 24 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


Milford Connecticut 25 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


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Bring out your best smile

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Happy 375th Who Says Going Birthday Who Says Going To The Dentist Isn’t Milford! Dentist Isn’t Fun? Who Says Going To The Dentist Isn’t Fun?

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Who was Peter Pond?

1700 -1799

eter Pond was one of Canada’s

P

greatest 18th century explorers…

and he was born in Milford in 1740. The oldest of nine children, Pond left home, fought in the French and Indian War, and followed his father into the fur trade along the Mississippi. By all accounts a forceful brute of a man, Pond took well to the fur trade, earning respect from Indians and fear from any competitor. He returned to Milford in 1767, buried his mother in Milford Cemetery, married Susannah Newell, fathered two children, and left home again for eighteen years. In 1775 Pond headed to Canada and became the first white man to journey out of the Hudson Bay watershed into

quipped with an

E

sees no major battles. Yet key figures

excellent seaport and a

of the era pass through our history.

location on the Boston

In 1776, Nathan Hale sets sail from

Post Road connecting New York

Milford to Long Island on his ill-fated

and Boston, Milford grows.

spy mission. Charles Island is used

From planters to fishermen, the

to train a navigator for the first

westward flowing waters. In 1778, with

fertile land and fishing grounds provide

submarine (long before another

sixteen men and four canoes, Pond

a good, albeit hard, living. In the winter

Milfordite will use the town as his own

crossed the 12-mile Methye Portage,

of 1752, “some fifty oysterman” tough

sub base.) The following year, Captain

Canada’s longest paddle, to set up a post

it out while living in huts along the

Stephen Stow helps care for 200

near Lake Athabasca.

riverbanks. In the 1760s, ordinances

smallpox-infected Colonial soldiers

Pond’s reputation as a tough

imposing penalties for taking and

left ashore by the British. George

guy eventually got the best of him

planting bivalves are passed, along

Washington breakfasts at Clark’s

and he was replaced in business by

with laws pertaining to fishing rights.

Tavern.

Alexander MacKenzie, who took Pond’s

The crown’s construction of Fort

Nine years later, construction

information and made it to the Pacific

Trumbull in 1716 shields the town

commences for the first Washington

twelve years before Lewis and Clark.

from enemy fire fifty years later. By

Bridge over the Housatonic. And by

the Revolutionary War, Continental

1796, the first Post Office is established,

soldiers patrol the Fort, but Milford

with William Durand as postmaster.

Learn more by visiting www. peterpondsociety.com

Milford Connecticut 28 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


Charles Island

B

efore the white man

The current name comes from

settled Milford in 1639,

Charles Deal, a tobacco planter, who

Charles Island was called

bought the island in 1657 and used

Poquahaug. The settlers bought

it to warehouse his product. Since

Milford and the fifteen acre island a

then, Charles Island has seen a variety of uses: it has housed a resort hotel, served as a private estate, a prizefight arena, a retreat for Dominican monks, and—but for citizen outcry—almost became a

half-mile off shore from Chief Ansantawae who lived in a large tepee on

nuclear power site in the 1950s. It is now

from underneath Long Island

owned by the State of Connecticut.

Sound and for a few hours connects the

The legends surrounding Charles

Milford shore to the island, has been a

Island are numerous, the most famous

rite of passage for locals for centuries.

being that famed pirate Captain

Time it wrong and you could be

William Kidd buried treasure on the

sleeping on Charles Island…along with

island in 1699.

the the ghost of Captain Kidd or some

Crossing the tombolo—the half-mile

the island during the summer months.

land bridge—that emerges twice a day

other long departed legend that has been rumored to haunt it’s shores.

Milford Connecticut 29 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


Downs’ Diary “16 Clear & pleasant, I Spooled & warp & Sized Got the Doctor

17 Clear & warm, I tended my Dear Son John with the Canker [scarlet fever] 18 Clear & pleasant, I help tend John & he very Sick

C Clear & good weather. I at home my Son John Died

20 Clear & warm, I prepared and Buried my Son” Downs’ son John was only 2 ½ years

13, 1776 he and the other Milford men boarded the sloop of one Captain Pond for New York. Of his participation in the ill-fated Battle of Long Island, Downs noted: “We quit our station & flee to New York.” But on the 16th of September, at the Battle of Harlem Heights, he writes, “I join our Reg.t [regiment] at the line & a Smart fight, we beat them back. Downs was discharged from the militia on September 25 and returned to Milford on foot, noting he went out “a-squirreling & got 3 squirrels & 1 pigeon.” For all its succinctness, the diary captures much of everyday life in

ilford patriot John Downs

M

old when he died. (The letter “C” for

Milford during this period. Downs

was a weaver, a part-time

the 19th is a dominical letter used in

frequently tells of farming, killing hogs,

school teacher, and a

almanacs for Sundays.)

haying, hoeing corn, and helping his

best known for his diary of forty-seven

training with the local militia, and

years, from 1763 to 1810, recording daily

did eventually see action. On August

member of the colonial militia. He is

Downs frequently mentioned

father-in-law, Samuel Stone. John Downs’ house still stands at 139 North Street.

weather observations and telling, in very few words, what he did that day. The diary provides a picture of life in Milford during and after the American Revolution. Downs wrote a line every day, always documenting the weather, marking his attendance at church, and his activities in the town (which were many). Some entries go beyond the mundane and are downright poignant. During September 1773, we find the following entries:

Milford Connecticut 30 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


Mistress Merwin’s Ride

Steven Stow, The Milford Martyr

subsequently became a Revolutionary War heroine by hitching her wagon and, with her 21-month-old baby son Daniel under her arm, racing into town banging on a copper pot to raise the alarm within the community. Because of the actions of this one young mother, the Milford militia was alerted and all of Milford was prepared he year 1777 brought

T

to defend their homes. Local legend has

Milford its share of the

it that the swift response caused the

miseries of war, although

British to beat a hasty retreat.

British were stationed on bases on

devastation at the hands of the British,

They were cast adrift from a British

loyalist Long Island, seaborne raiders

thanks in no small part to the quick

ship in Long Island Sound on the cold

confiscated animals, burned crops,

thinking and bravery of Mistress

winter’s night of January 1, 1777. These

property, homes, and even towns along

Abigail Merwin.

men, most of whom were wounded

no battles took place. While the

Milford never suffered physical

ne of the most notable incidents

O

that occurred in Milford during

the Revolutionary War involved a large group of American prisoners-of-war.

the shore. Fearing these raids, Pond

and ill with smallpox, made their way

Point and Point Beach farmers moved

up Wharf Lane and awakened Captain

their livestock to a meadow sheltered

Stephen Stow, whose house was the

by rising ground and overhanging

first they came upon.

trees where proper watch and defense

Stow rallied the townspeople, who

could be made. It is an area that is now

offered shelter and what help they

known as Calf Pen Meadow.

could to the sick and dying men. Captain

On August 25, 1777, the HMS Swan

Stow himself stayed in the common

anchored about a mile off of Point

house to nurse the sick and eventually

Beach and a raiding party rowed

succumbed to the illness, along with

ashore. Abigail Merwin, a young wife

forty-six of the soldiers who were cast

and mother, was hanging clothes

off that night.

out to dry at her home atop the

They were buried in a common grave

hill on Pond Point Avenue when

and a monument, which stands to this

she spied the British ship landing

day, was raised in their memory in

raiders at Point Beach. She

Milford Cemetery.

Milford Connecticut 31 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


The Marshall Journal ormer Milford Library Board

F

president Amy Lettick knew she was confronting

something special when she was handed a tattered old manuscript in 1991 and began what she called “a rollercoaster journey back two centuries.” The mystery? Researching and, hopefully, determining the author

“This day is rendered memorable to us by the death of my Mother who departed this life a little before 7 o clock in the morning. 11 m The Bell Tolls.” revealed that the “widow of Joseph

century Milford that came to be known

Marshall,” Abigail Bryan, died on

as “The Marshall Journal.”

the date of the entry. So one of

Recounting daily weather reports and

her five children was the diarist:

day-to-day chores, the journal also makes

Joseph (b 1740), Jonathan (b 1743),

note of the funerals of such local greats

Samuel (b 1746), Abigail (b 1748),

as Jonathan Law and Robert Treat—both

or Bryan (b 1755).

are like those of October 1790:

“16 Sunshine. Went walnuting & got 6 qrts.” “19 Sunshine. A buffalo was carried through the Town to New Haven.” A campaign to mine the journal’s

Today the Milford Library has four non-circulating loose-leaf copies available of the diary, and a transcription, available to readers. The work is entitled “The Marshall Journal: A Daily Record of Life in Milford, Connecticut 1787, 1788, 1789, 1790”

Putting the pieces together

of the 118-page window onto life in 18th

early colonial governors. Typical entries

collector for the Episcopal Church.

The diarist being a woman was ruled out because the diary indicates the author’s possible occupations as being a tailor, a schoolteacher, or a bookkeeper—none of which were open to women of the time. That left the four sons. More research

significance included combing through

revealed the most

old land and death records. Filled with

likely author to be

few facts about the author, the journal

Joseph Marshall

did hold some clues, the most significant

Jr., a Milford

being an entry chronicling the death of

schoolteacher

the diarist’s mother:

and tax

Milford Connecticut 32 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


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Milford Marble

1800 -1899 he War of 1812 takes its

T

Road. Milford Savings Bank opens for

toll on Milford’s maritime

business in 1872.

embargos, blockades, and later, a severe

quality of life beginning in 1861, as men

1843 hurricane, the shipbuilding era ends

are pulled away from their families and

and oystering begins in earnest. 1857

businesses, often at too great a cost.

marks an important year in Milford’s

Some records suggest that Milford is a

oyster industry, as William M. Merwin

stop on the Underground Railroad.

economy. Due to trade

The Civil War greatly affects the

begins his first of three lab experiments planting oysters in Gulf Pond. In 1822, the northern and eastern

As the century draws to a close, Milford has twenty-two telephones and one newspaper. In the center of town,

sections of Milford incorporate as the

three future landmarks are constructed:

or a brief period in the early

town of Orange. Milford establishes its

the Taylor Memorial Library (gifted

19th century, the Milford Marble

first Fire Engine Company, constructs

to the town by local philanthropist

quarry was a place where green

trolley stops and a rail station to

Henry Taylor), the Soldiers and Sailors

serpentine “verde antique” marble was

welcome throngs of summer visitors.

Monument on the Town Green (1888),

fashioned into, among other things,

Local factories are humming. Straw

and The Memorial Bridge (1889),

beautiful mantelpieces for some of

hats, shoes, carriages, and wrought

dedicated to Governor Robert Treat

the most famous buildings in the land.

iron fences are manufactured; granite

and to commemorate Milford’s 250th

Located on the property that today

is quarried from a site along the Post

anniversary.

F

houses the Milford Crossing shopping plaza on Route 1, the quarry produced at least four mantelpieces that made their way to Washington during the rebuilding efforts of 1819 (the British burned it in 1814). One 1946 source notes that four Milford Marble mantles are located in the Capitol and that a fifth occupies the East Room of the White House. Firm evidence shows that Milford marble was, indeed, part of the Capitol, but less evidence exists on whether or not Milford marble ever made it into the White House. Nicely polished Milford Marble pieces are on display at the Peabody Museum in New Haven.

Milford Connecticut 40 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


Oystering

Milford’s Bravest efore the establishment of

B

the first fire department in

1838, Milford townspeople would form “bucket brigades”—filling, passing, and tossing water buckets in order to extinguish fires. So at the inaugural meeting of Milford’s first fire

department, held at the home of Nathan Merwin, members agreed to contribute seventy-five cents towards the purchase eing virtually surrounded

B

the shellfish lab has been joined by

by water, Milford was able

the State Aquaculture Division, both

to depend on salt and fresh

working to restore and maintain

was a bell inconveniently located—not

water fish for part of its livelihood.

good health for our oysters and

too conveniently—in the tower of the

Oystering began as a business about

clams. Milford celebrates its oystering

First Church. One too many destructive

1752 and became a major industry in

heritage each summer with one of the

fires led the Milford Water Company to

Milford by 1857 under the direction

largest one-day events in the state.

create a hydrant system linked to central

of William M. Merwin. In 1911, the

of a fire engine. Before 1899, the town’s only alarm

water mains.

oyster business passed from Merwin

A new central firehouse was built on

family hands to eventually become

Factory Lane in 1915; substations were

the Connecticut Oyster Farms Co.

built as the city grew. This structure

National recognition of Milford’s shell

(which currently houses Lee Lund Dance

fisheries came in 1918 when the United

Studio) welcomed Milford’s first full time

States Bureau of Fisheries established

paid firemen, who were drivers of the Artic

an experimental laboratory at the

engine. 100 years later, the department is

harbor’s edge to observe conditions of

comprised of 113 full time fire personnel, 8

clam and oyster culture. Now under

fire dispatchers, 5 civilian personnel and

the U. S. Department of the Interior,

consists of four active fire stations.

Milford Connecticut 41 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


1878

Our Medal of Honor Winner G eneral William George

Baird, sole Congressional Medal of Honor winner

buried in Milford Cemetery, had his left ear shot off during the Indian battle for which he won the nation’s highest military honor. Also shot through the arm, Baird, a seasoned Civil War veteran, was among

M

ilford resident George W. Coy

eight officers awarded the Medal of

was the first full-time telephone

Honor for action against Chief Joseph

operator. He also designed and built the

and the Nez Perce Indians at Bear

first commercial telephone exchange,

Paw Mountain, Montana

which opened in New Haven in 1878.

on September 30, 1877. At

The switchboard was built from

the time, Baird was a first

“carriage bolts, handles from teapot

lieutenant and adjutant to

lids and bustle wire.” It could handle

General Nelson A. Miles, the

two conversions simultaneously. With

famed Indian fighter who

“switch-pins” and “switch-plugs” the

would later round up

makings and breakings of connections

Geronimo, Sitting Bull, and

wore out the switch-pins quickly. An early

Crazy Horse.

improvement to the switchboard was a

wrote in his report, “George

Born in 1839, Baird went

two-hinged plate called the switch-jack,

to Yale and served during

and that’s why today we call the place

the Civil War as a Colonel of

where you plug in a telelphone a ‘jack.’

the 32nd Regiment of U.S. Colored

W. Baird was shot through the arm and had one ear carried away while bringing others to different parts of the battlefield.”

Troops. After the war he reenlisted, and

Among the treasures Baird acquired

by the summer and fall of 1877 was part

during his years on the frontier was his

of the troops pursuing Chief Joseph

Civil War jacket with black armband

and his Nez Perce tribe as they made

mourning Abraham Lincoln and Chief

for Chief Sitting Bull’s camp and the

Joseph’s rifle (most likely a gift from

freedom of the Canadian border. The

General Miles), which was donated by

cavalry caught up with Chief Joseph 40

the Baird family to the Museum of the

miles short of the border and, as Miles

American Indian in the 1940s.

Milford Connecticut 42 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


Morningside Glory with remarkably sophisticated features: running water supplied by a coal-generated pressurized hot air pump, an independently manufactured illuminating gas supply, a complex servants’ bell system, and a huge basement encompassing a milk room, laundry, furnace, engine/pump room, and ice room—plus areas for storing wine, mineral waters, cider, and vinegar. Surrounding “The Big House” was a carriage house, barn, superintendent’s quarters, tool house, greenhouse, grapery, outdoor ice house, pon sailing down the

U

and rolling fields formerly known as the

and ice pond.

Connecticut shore, New

Rock Farm. He hired local craftsman to

England industrialist Henry

construct a twenty-two room showplace

in 1903, the property passed through

G. Thompson knew he had discovered

at the crest between what is now

several owners before being purchased

the perfect spot to build his future

Thompson Hill Road and Manor Drive.

by the Yale Land Company in 1912.

Following Mr. Thompson’s death

summer home when he spied a high

“Because it faced the rising sun,

bluff on the Milford coast. So, in three

Mr. Thompson called his new estate

They swiftly subdivided the prime shorefront acreage into a residential

separate transactions with the Merwin

‘Morningside’.” So reads the text in

community, constructing roads,

family during the mid-1860s, Thompson

the Morningside Association’s historic

sewers, water mains, and planning for

purchased 91-plus acres of stone walls

records. The mansion was outfitted

additional utilities.

Milford Connecticut 43 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


Taylor Made Henry Taylor, like many men of his generation, went west to seek his fortune, eventually overseeing the construction of railroads in five states. In 1884, Henry and his children moved to Milford (his wife Mary died in 1878) where he leased the estate on High Street called Island View built by

M

ilford’s history of

Charles Hobby Pond in 1864. After five

giving is, quite literally,

years, Henry purchased Island View

engraved within the

and renamed it Lauralton Hall after

makeup of the city. The generosity

Laura his mother, and his daughter

of Henry Augustus Taylor and his

Laura, who died at the age of five.

family created landmarks including

Local history has it that Henry

the Mary Taylor Church, the Taylor

Taylor heard of the sad state of the

Library, (now the Milford Chamber of

Methodist Episcopal Church building

it; in 1891 he offered to donate for his

Commerce), and Lauralton Hall.

on River Street (now CafĂŠ Atlantique)

children a new church, in the name of

and decided to do something about

their departed mother, Mary Taylor.

Born April 8, 1839 in New York,

A year after construction began on the Mary Taylor Church, Henry Taylor purchased land on the corner of Broad and River Streets for $2,400 to build a new town library. The town agreed to contribute $1,000 per year, for fifty years, toward maintenance costs. A Tiffany bronze clock which sat upon the mantle of the fireplace in the main reading room was donated by Miss Mary Taylor, a gift from her grandfather, Daniel Drew, founder of the Drew Theological Seminary. Henry Augustus Taylor died in New York on April 8, 1899, his sixtieth birthday. His indelible presence on Milford remains, seen by all, but known by few.

Milford Connecticut 44 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


Woodmont

Trolley Tracks

lang, clang, clang, went the

C

trolley. Ding, ding, ding, went

the bell.” So went the old song from the Judy Garland film, Meet Me in St. Louis, and so it used to go in Milford. ucked between New

T

condos, the others are private homes.)

Haven Avenue and

In its heyday as a resort, Village

It was Milford resident and inventor Frank Julian Sprague who ushered in

Long Island Sound, on

Road was the main thoroughfare with

the age of the trolley in 1888, when he

sloping ground situated above sea

shops that sold everything vacationers

designed the first electric trolley system

level and the crashing waves of New

needed from swimsuits to nose plugs.

in Richmond, Virginia. By 1895, Milford

England nor’easters, is the Borough of

The rental cottage or summer homes

had its own trolley line zipping along its

Woodmont, population 1,493. Nearly

were built without basements and few

shores, over its bridges, and through its

a mile long and

had heat except for a

a half-mile wide,

fireplace. It was the

few neighborhood

post-War housing

or New Haven trolley lines, Milford’s

residents have to

shortage that finally

trolley system did run throughout a

walk more than three

led to Woodmont

wide area of the town.

blocks to dip their

becoming a year

toes in salt water.

round community.

Farmland and

Each year

neighborhoods. While not as extensive as theHartford

By 1934, with the growth in suburbs, the affordability of automobiles, and the added expense of maintaining trolley

swamp until the

Woodmonters

cars, tracks, and lines versus buses, trolley

late 1800s, it was

celebrate their

service from Stratford to Milford ended.

the trolley line that finally brought

community on the last Saturday

Three years later service from New Haven

Woodmont closer to the rest of town.

in July. Woodmont Day is a slice of

stopped, bringing an end to Milford’s

The result: a glorious summer resort

Americana—pie eating competitions,

trolley line. Remnants of the old trolley

with grand hotels like the Bonseline,

swim races, volleyball, rock skimming,

line can still be found today, and road

the Ella May, the Pembroke, and the

bands, food, and drink. Thousands visit,

construction sometimes digs up pieces of

Sanford House (the latter two are now

but the lucky residents get to stay.

the old rail.

Milford Connecticut 45 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


The Stone Bridge

Founder’s Day

n late 1889, ten months before

I

celebrating the 250th anniversary of

the founding of Milford, a town committee agreed that, “A special mark should be made in honor of the founders” of the town of Milford. The committee decided that this honor “could best be expressed in a bridge of stone over the river, upon whose banks their first habitations were placed, and near the spot where the first mill was erected.” A subsequent committee was formed, $3,000 in taxpayer funds earmarked, and a town meeting called to vote on the project that would become the Memorial Bridge. Designed by architect New York architect William Milne Grinnell, the

n Founder’s Day, August

joyous: a forty-two gun sunrise salute,

28, 1889, Milford celebrated

ringing bells, and blowing whistles

the 250 anniversary of the

could be heard from one end of town

O

th

town with the grand opening of the

to the other. Hundreds of residents

focal point of the bridge would be the

stately granite Memorial Bridge over

turned out in their Sunday best for a

40-foot tower topped by a roof of red

the Wepawaug River. The celebration

parade that began at 10:00 am. Isaac

tiles specially made in Akron, Ohio. Using

stretched over several days beginning on

Clark Smith, captain of the Governor’s

granite stone from Leete’s Island in

Sunday with day-long religious services,

Horse Guard, a veterinarian and cattle

Guilford, the bridge was completed in a

which included historical addresses

breeder who served as Milford’s first

scant four and a half months.

reviewing important events in the town’s

selectman from 1885 through 1890,

development, taking place at the First

was followed by the Milford Coronet

Memorial Bridge pays tribute to two early

Congregational Church. This anniversary

Band. Afterwards, residents enjoyed an

governors from Milford: Jonathan Law and

observance was also a celebration of the

afternoon of sports on Town Hall Green,

Robert Treat. A total fifty-four memorial

founding of the church, the springboard

and listened to Governor Phineas C.

stones were installed on the bridge—

that started the town.

Lounsbury give a speech at the First

In addition to honoring early settlers, the

twenty-nine for the first settlers or “free

One day after the religious services

Church at 3:00 pm. That evening

planters,” from Rev. Prudden’s church, seven

that marked the beginning on

featured the “Grand Illumination of the

in honor of first settlers not affiliated with

celebrations in August 1886, a social

Broad Street Park” (as the Green was

the church, and 14 so-called “after planters”

reunion took place, followed by a

then called) with a band concert and

who arrived before 1700. A plaque with

program involving pastors, visiting

fireworks display.

the names of eighteen additional original

ministers, and church members. By

settlers was added on the lawn east of the

the time Wednesday rolled around, the

day was the newly opened Memorial

bridge for the town’s 350 anniversary.

festivities had gotten louder and more

Bridge that still serves the city today.

th

But of course, the centerpiece of the

Milford Connecticut 46 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


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The Duck Ponds

1900 -1999

ilford’s three duck ponds all

M

flow from the same source at

the Wepawaug River. The largest is the Lower Duck Pond behind City Hall. Pond number two, the North Pond, is bordered by North Street and meanders up West River Street. The third pond, with a waterfall that supplied hydropower to Fowler’s Mill, is behind the Memorial Bridge. The North Street pond and bucolic

rom the Roaring Twenties

F

Entire sections of the coast are washed

until the Great Depression,

away and many lives are lost. After two

Milford is abuzz with

World Wars, the population surges, the

commercial development. A rebuilt Town

old summer cottages becoming year-

Hall, improved Broad Street, and a central

round residences.

park that surrounds it exists thanks

firehouse are unveiled just in time for the

During the Baby Boom, Cold War,

to the efforts of Mary Hepburn Smith,

city to switch on its first electric lights in

and post-Vietnam years, Bic, Shick, and

a First Regent of the Milford DAR.

1919. A silent film, replete with camels

Subway become household names.

Upset by the dilapidated factories and

from Barnum’s circus in Bridgeport, is

Beach kids roam the shore and in 1960

tenements that lined the river, she

shot on a cold winter’s day on Smith’s

Silver Sands State Park is created. We

bought the properties, and created the

Point Beach. Throughout the century,

drive on the Connecticut Turnpike in

park, transforming a town eyesore into a

Milford moviegoers line up to see talkies,

1958, adopt a Milford Flag in ‘64, launch

thing of beauty.

musicals, and action flicks at the Capitol

the Oyster Festival in ’75, but lose a bit of

Theatre on Daniel Street until it is closed

our quaint, small town feel. Before long,

in 1998.

the Connecticut Post Mall, highways,

Ponds below often necessitate bridges above. The Memorial Bridge is a Milford icon. The Jefferson Bridge behind City

The area witnesses many firsts:

and shopping centers replace farms,

Hall was named for President Thomas

Milford Hospital opens its doors, roads

trailer parks, and open spaces. Municipal

Jefferson. The Kissing Bridge above

are paved and widened, bridges built,

buildings, office parks, and fast food

the North pond may get its name from

and the Milford Historical Society forms.

joints spring up overnight. The 1980s

its origin as a covered bridge which

The New England Hurricane of 1938 hits

might mean good-bye to paying tolls on

discreetly shielded young lovers.

Milford hard, causing extensive damage.

I-95, but suburban sprawl is here to stay.

Milford Connecticut 52 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


Wish You Were Here P ut yourself in the shoes

summer away from the oppressive

summers rocking on the porches of

(or the bathing suit as it

heat of the cities in the relative cool

the great Milford guesthouses like The

were) of the beachgoers

of our coastal town? What was it like

Willard, the Idlewood, the Playridge,

who populate the postcard frames of

when men in straw hats and women in

and The Sea Lion Inn, or strolling the

crowded Milford beaches, circa 1907,

long gowns (and bathing “costumes”

sands of Cedar, Bayview, Myrtle, Silver,

1916, 1939, and beyond. What was it

that seem even longer) spent their

and Laurel beaches?

like to spend a summer in Milford one hundred or more years ago, when visitors from all over the world traveled to our beaches to spend a

* Learn More

Interested in seeing more of old Milford through a postcard view? We suggest you pick up Milford by Melville Hurd, one of the latest books in the Postcard History Series published by Arcadia, publishers of many local and regional history books. Milford features hundreds of postcard scenes from the past, organized by neighborhoods, and includes many scenes from Milford’s era as a beach resort town. Milford is available at area bookstores, independent retailers, online bookstores, or through Arcadia Publishing at www. arcadiapublishing.com.

Milford Connecticut 53 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


Fort Trumbull Beach N

A Model Community

ot to be confused with Fort Trumbull State Park in New

London, Milford’s Fort Trumbull was built as a port defense in 1775 and named for Jonathan Trumbull, Connecticut’s Revolutionary War governor. In the 1880s, prominent resident Henry August Taylor built The Gables (now a condo complex) as a summer home. By the early 1900s, summer cottages and hotels lined Fort Trumbull Beach where families spent idle summer days basking in the sun and playing lawn games. Weekenders and vacationers

t the turn of the last century,

A

around the Casino, the hub of the

Naugatuck industrialist

Laurel Beach social scene. The countless

J.H. Whittemore and his

formal and themed dances held in its

business associates hired the famed

huge ballroom are legendary. Parties,

New York architect Stanford White

dinners, weddings, bridge tournaments,

and developed the Merwin seed farm

children’s’ activities, canteen, and

overlooking Long Island Sound into a

duckpin bowling lanes provided more

model summer resort.

than a century’s worth of enjoyment.

Early postcards perfectly capture the Laurel Beach of the time: gentlemen and

To most of its current residents, Laurel Beach is still a model community.

ladies with parasols promenade on the boardwalk. Flags wave from the rooftops of the seashore cottages. Families emerge would travel by train from New York

from horse-drawn carriages to disembark

to frequent hotels like the Willard, Fort

at the Elsmere Hotel. After settling in,

Trumbull Beach, and Seabreeze. The

hotel guests relaxed in the parlor, feasted

late sportscaster Howard Cosell was a

on fresh-caught seafood, watched the

frequent visitor as were the silent film

sunset from the sweeping veranda, or

stars Lillian and Dorothy Gish. When

retired to one’s “sleeping room” to dress

the depression hit in the 1930s, many

for the evening’s festivities.

of the cottages became main homes.

Today, the Elsmere is The Laurel

Some hotels closed, others survived as

Beach Condos, and the community is a

rooming houses.

year-round home, but life still revolves

Laurel * The Beach Song Come ‘round any old time And make yourself at home Put your feet on the mantle shelf Open the cupboard and help yourself We don’t care if your friends Have left you all alone Rich or poor just knock on the door And make yourself at home

Milford Connecticut 54 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


On the Green

Villa Rosa f walls could talk, the cream

I

museum owner to variety show

stucco masonry surrounding

producer; vaudeville impresario to

the glorious Villa Rosa Poli

theatre owner—eventually becoming

in Woodmont would have many tales

an influential theatrical magnate with

to tell. They would speak, perhaps in a

an empire encompassing twenty-

distinctive old-world accent, of how a

eight vaudeville and movie theaters

young wax sculptor named Sylvester

throughout the Northeast. Through

Zefferino Poli emigrated from Lucca,

the foyer, around the parlor, and in all

Italy to America in 1881 and became a

fifteen rooms, hallways echo, stairwells

movie house mogul. They would boast

whisper, and vaulted ceilings sigh.

of how Poli built the Italianate villa

But mostly, the narrative of the

he long, narrow, grassy three-

T

and-a-half acre Milford Green

(finished in 1912) as a gift for his wife,

Poli’s elegant manse would be told as

Rosa, with whom he hosted legendary

a love story. He may have fêted the

Streets remains the most important

evening soirées and idyllic afternoon

likes of Clark Gable and W.C. Fields,

communal meet­ing place in town.

picnics. The boat house and gazebo

but Poli created Villa Rosa and its ten

would whisper of countless days and

“cottages” (built between 1912 and

Milford’s Green evolved accidentally,

nights on the private cove guarded by

1932), as a seaside haven for his five

its shape molded by settlers’ needs for

stone lion sentries.

beloved children and their families.

security, growth of food, and places to

S.Z. Poli died in 1935, Rosa in 1960, but

congregate, pray, and celebrate. As time

entrance gates, leaded glass windows

thanks to the loving stewardship of

passed, central elm-shaded areas, some

recite an epic poem, recounting Poli’s

the Yagovane family (who purchased

communally owned, served as pastures for

remarkable career arc: from sculptor’s

the mansion in 1976), Villa Rosa

livestock. Fences were placed around the

apprentice to skilled employee; wax

remains a place of dreams.

greens to prevent cattle from wandering

Beyond the formidable wrought iron

bounded by North and South Broad

Like other village greens or commons,

off. Taverns and churches grew up around the central streets and river. Eventually the grand houses that flanked the Green (or Milford Park as it was called) gave way to banks and businesses. Monuments went up, fencing came down. But still, the people come. Events of all kinds are held: weddings take place in the iconic Gazebo, parades pass by, military ceremonies are held, art is displayed, bands play, trees are lit, and oysters are celebrated.

Milford Connecticut 55 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


Simon Lake

Milford Hospital W

hen the Milford Hospital Society was formed in 1920 to provide

the man who initially inspired Lake.

non-profit healthcare, at the time

Flush with success he built the Lake

Milford had slightly more than 10,000

Submarine Company in Bridgeport,

residents. The first hospital opened the

and moved to Milford, purchasing

following year on Bridgeport Avenue in

the 1853 property that now serves as

what was called the Stockade House,

Smith & Sefcik Funeral Home.

fronting the current Milford Hospital.

A constant tinkerer, Lake’s sub

By the end of that first year the hospital

models often didn’t make it off the

had served some 275 patients. The cost

drawing board, and although two

of a private room was $21 per day, not

world wars gave way to the military

A

t least in the city of

industrial complex, Lake’s fortunes

Milford there is no debate

dimmed. He passed away in 1945,

over who the true father

of the modern submarine is. While John Holland is usually cited as its creator, many of the key developments associated with the modern submarine were instituted by Simon Lake. For more than fifty years Lake struggled to get his submarines built. In 1898 his Argonaut 1 was the first inexpensive, at a time when the average

sub to operate successfully in the

net income in Connecticut was was

open seas, prompting a fan letter

but thankfully his contributions to

$2,782.67 and the average property tax

from no less than author Jules Verne,

the development of the submarine

bill was $86.26. The first “modern” Milford Hospital

were not forgotten. In 1964, the U.S. Navy commissioned the submarine

was built at the present site in 1923

USS Simon Lake (AS-33), which stayed

at a cost of $65,000. It contained

in service until 1999. The Navy also

twenty-five beds, operating, and

named the submarine tender class of

accident rooms. By 1935 the number

vessels The Simon Lake Class. The last

of patients treated daily had risen so

submarine built by Lake, The Explorer,

dramatically that an addition was built

resides at Lisman Landing Marina on

to accommodate fifty beds.

Helwig Street.

Milford Connecticut 56 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


Crossing the River

Milford’s Finest A

s far back as 1867 when two constables patrolled the streets

of Milford, most offenses included brawls and free-for-alls. The first recorded murder investigation took place in 1870 when a local businessman named Nathan Fenn was slain when burglars broke into his store. Later, when automobiles came into vogue, the town court handled numerous cases for exceeding the speed limit on

A

bridge, in one form or

Connecticut general assembly granted

another, has spanned the

a charter to the Washington Bridge

Housatonic River between

Company to build a wooden, 32-foot

Milford and Stratford for more than 200 years. In colonial days, traveling in

local roads of fifteen miles per hour.

drawbridge across the Housatonic. As horses and carriages eventually gave way to trolley cars and

Connecticut was an ordeal, due to the

automobiles, the wooden Washington

lack of well-established roads and the

Bridge gave way to steel. But by 1917,

time it took to cross rivers. Since only

a busy weekend would see more

small rivers could easily be spanned by

than 40,000 cars crossing the bridge.

stone or wooden bridges, larger rivers

(Remember, there was no Merritt

like the Housatonic had to be crossed

Parkway or interstate highway system;

by ferry. Even the father of our country,

the Post Road was still the main

George Washington, likely had to wait

route between Boston, New York, and

Assembly authorized Milford’s first

to be ferried across the Housatonic

Philadelphia.) Planning for the new

Board of Police Commissioners, $5,700

during his visit to Milford as part of his

bridge began that year, but WWI and a

was appropriated for the newly created

1789 inaugural tour of New England.

shortage of steel delayed construction.

police department, which was housed

The Washington Bridge that stands

in the basement of City Hall. The force

Post Road—the major road between

today was completed in 1921 at a

consisted of a chief and six officers, men

New York and Boston—through

cost of $1.5 million dollars—the most

who had served as constables prior to

Milford, by 1800 the slow-moving

expensive project undertaken by the

the official formation of the department.

ferry crossing between Milford and

Connecticut highway department at

An additional $570 was allocated for

Stratford was deemed inadequate. The

the time.

equipment.

With the beneficial routing of the

In 1915 when the Connecticut General

Milford Connecticut 57 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


Milford’s Attic

Little Sicily f you walked down West

I

Main Street on a Sunday in 1930, you’d probably

hear the faint sounds of Italy’s greatest tenors coming from nearby windows, and smell the enticing aroma of tomato sauce wafting on the air. The men would be in their basements pressing

town along West Main, Peck, and Gunn

grapes for wine or in a local yard

Streets their village.

playing bocce. The women are busy

T

The small but vibrant community

preparing the day’s meal, watching

took pride in their skills as masons

he mission of the Milford

after their children, and chatting in

(some worked at Lauralton Hall) and in

Historical Society has not

their Sicilian dialect.

their neighborhood gardens. Deliveries

changed since its first meeting was held

Italian and Sicilian immigrants

in May of 1930: “To preserve and collect

began arriving in Connecticut in the

or fresh fruits and vegetable from Mr.

Milford’s history and antiquities and to

1880s. Once established in a new town,

Cappolla’s wagon were part of every

make the information available to the

a chain migration would begin: newly

meal. The large families finally outgrew

general public.”

arrived immigrants would send for

their small enclave, but while it lasted

family and neighbors. The twenty-plus

Milford’s Little Sicily was a tight knit

Milford’s past that is the historic

families that settled in Milford came

community that held onto the religion,

Wharf Lane complex which includes

from the Sicilian towns of Campobello

food, wine, music, and games of their

the Bryan-Downs house (c. 1785), the

and Canicatta and made the section of

homeland.

The MHS oversees the bounty of

of cheese and olives from New York,

Clarke-Stockade house (c. 1780), and the Eells-Stow House (c. 1700) which stands on its original spot and is listed on the National Register of Historic Houses. This dwelling once belonged to local Revolutionary War hero Captain Stephen Stow. With its extensive collection of Indian artifacts (the Claude Coffin Collection), a 17th century herb garden, a country store, and items from everyday life throughout Milford 375 year history, the MHS is truly Milford’s Attic.

Milford Connecticut 58 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


The Big Wind

Enchanted Evenings

n the 1930s and ‘40s (and well

I

into the ‘50s) Milford was, quite

literally, hopping…Lindy hopping that is… whether in a swanky supper club, lodge, casino, or school gymnasium. A night on the town always included dancing, and n September 21, 1938 a

O

nearly thirty miles wide, covering the

folks from all over the state flocked to

storm the nascent U.S.

shore all the way to Old Saybrook.

Milford’s Seven Gables Inn, the Wheel

deemed “typical” slammed into

strong side of the hurricane would

Ballroom to listen to the music of

Connecticut at fifty miles per hour. At

cause massive destruction in Eastern

bandleader Frankie Carle and top New

3:30 p.m. the eye wall of the greatest

Connecticut and Rhode Island, killing

York nightclub acts. Formal dances like

storm to ever hit New England struck

upward of 700 people. Milford, sitting

the Fireman’s Ball, Hospital Auxiliary

east of New Haven. The eye alone was

barely on the sheltered side of the blow,

Dance, or yearly proms were meticulously

was lucky. The storm surge and wind

planned and held at the Oak Grove and

damage brought down many summer

Laurel Beach Casinos or Town Hall. And

homes along the shore, but fortunately

every week young folk would gather at

hit after the close of the summer season.

Woodmont Hall or Botsfords to

Weather Service had

The advancing right wing or

Inland hundreds of fallen trees

Club, Le Chateau, and the Wonderland

learn the latest moves.

caused most of the damage. It took weeks to restore the electric and telephone lines. The storm did provide unexpected clean-up work for many Milford residents during the depression.

Milford Connecticut 59 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


The Milford Flag

Milford Point M ilford Point is a fishhook-

through the marsh was overthrown

shaped sand spit at the

and the Interstate rerouted north to

southern-most tip of the

its present location. Finally, the area

city where the Housatonic River enters

came under state protection and was

Long Island Sound. The eight acres of

named after its most prominent duck

dunes and scrub vegetation is overseen

hunter (and famed decoy carver),

by the Connecticut Audubon Coastal

Charles “Shang� Wheeler.

Center and abuts the state-owned

After a developer began eying the

800-acre Charles E. Wheeler Wildlife

former Ford Hotel tract in the 1970s,

Management Area salt marsh.

community protests led to the purchase

The area is considered the best bird

of the area by the Nature Conservancy,

n 1964 upon the 325th

watching area in the state. Ducks are

who bought the land in 1984 and

anniversary of Milford, then

certainly part of the mix, and the site

handed it over to the U.S. Fish and

Mayor Alan Jepson decided the city

has long been one of the most popular

Wildlife Service as part of the Stewart B.

needed its own flag. He asked Milford

duck hunting spots on the East Coast.

McKinney Wildlife Area, under which it

school superintendent Joseph A. Foran

When progress threatened in the

remains today.

to conduct a contest among art students

mid-20th century it was duck hunters

attending Milford and Jonathan Law

who saved the day: plans to create

Society built and opened its $2 million

high schools, along with anyone else

a landfill on the site were derailed

museum and research center on the old

who wished to enter.

due to their protests, and later, the

hotel site to ensure the area remains

initial plan to build I-95 directly

forever pristine.

I

Karen Saloomey, then a senior at

In 1995, the Connecticut Audubon

Jonathan Law, beat out twenty other entries to win (she went on to graduate from the Rhode Island School of Design and have a successful career in fashion, interior design, and graphic arts.) The flag is a blue field (representing sky and water) with the city seal adopted in 1916 depicted in a white square to represent forthrightness and ethics. The gold laurel wreath surrounding the motif is the traditional symbol for excellence and superiority. The two stars on each side represent the city and state.

Milford Connecticut 60 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


Drive-In Flea Market

The Clapp House he Clapp House (as it was last

T

known), built around 1812,

replaced Fort Trumbull and became an outstanding Milford landmark. The magnificent white house graced the mouth of Milford Harbor for nearly 170 years until it was sold in 1980 and without debate, bulldozed. The razing of the Clapp House is still recalled with shock by many and resulted f the former Milford

I

outside the theatre close to Cherry Street

in a Demolition Delay Ordinance (a

Showcase Cinemas

to attract the attention of shoppers

waiting period to allow alternatives to

between Cherry Street and

headed into what was then King’s

demolition). One of the original Fort

the Boston Post Road seems to have an

Department Store across the street.

Trumbull canons that “guarded” the

unusually large parking lot, it’s because

(Thanks to Connecticut’s notorious Blue

Clapp House for decades now sits on

it was the site of the 500-car Milford

Laws, everything but Kings, a Jewish-

the grounds of the Milford Chamber of

Drive-In, built in 1938, and known as

owned store, was closed on Sunday.)

Commerce.

the first of its kind in Connecticut. Less well known is the fact that it

Soon the theater manager noticed the boys’ success and decided to leverage

was also one of the first (if not the first)

it to increase the drive-in’s revenue.

drive-in movie theatres to double as

The number of vendors increased and

a flea market—one that became

within a year was filled to capacity.

hugely popular practically

Some Sundays saw in excess

overnight, only to end with

of 10,000 visitors, making

its 1988 demolition.

the flea market among the

Milford resident Keet Hensley claimed credit for getting the ball rolling: in 1967 he and friend Richie Chernock

largest of its kind in New England. Things came to an end in 1988 when it was torn down

began to sell household “clutter”

to become the Showcase Cinemas

(radios, dolls, TVs, rugs, etc.)

multiplex. That closed in 2006, but

that they were being paid to

soon the property will show life

haul away from their odd jobs.

again—as the new home of Shoprite

The two teenagers set blankets

of Milford.

Milford Connecticut 61 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


Monuments Men

Ryder Park

M

ilford’s Green, like so many others, is considered the place of highest

community honor. Parades and military ceremonies usually end at n the early days, the unpaved,

I

the Green, and on it stands lasting

muddy stop in the pines off the

memorials to those who fought and

Boston Post Road was a way station

died for our country. The monuments

on the road to somewhere else. When

are situated down the center of the

Ralph and Ella Ryder founded their

Green beginning immediately west

mobile campground in 1932, it catered to

of High Street with the Soldiers and

another WWII monument, five bronze

those in search of inexpensive overnight

Sailors Monument (1888), a Union

figures representing the Army, Navy,

accommodations and offered little in the

soldier atop a tall granite pedestal

Marines, Air Force, and Women’s Army

way of amenities—the only running water

surrounded by a bed of flowers.

Corps atop a sixteen-ton granite rock.

came out of a pump. It was the Great

Further west is the Korea-

Depression and people went wher they

Vietnam Memorial (1986), two

thought they might catch a break.

bronze service men facing

Things changed after World War II with

Due to space limitations, the Milford Parks and Recreation Commission

in opposite directions

declared a moratorium on any new memorials

a severe housing shortage. Ryder Park

atop a granite base. On

became a flourishing community of 200

the east side of High

on the Green.

mobile homes and multiple generations

Street is the Milford

It was clearly

of Milfordites.

Memorial Flagpole

demonstrated that

Time passed and Milford grew up

being placed

(1954), originally

there are other

around Ryder Park. Trouble came to

dedicated to

beautiful areas in

paradise in 1997 when a developer bought

Milford residents

central Milford to

the 47-acre property—located on some of

who gave their

place monuments

the most valuable real estate in the area—

lives in WWII, and

when the 9/11

for $10 million from the estate of Ella

later amended with the

Memorial was

Ryder. A decade-long battle between the

names of those who died

placed near the

residents and developers ensued, a David

in Vietnam and Korea. In

Lower Duck Pond

vs. Goliath (and Eastern Box Turtle) match

1995, fifty years after the

that eventually ended with the purchase

end of World War II,

of 50-acres on Cascade Boulevard and the

the Green became

community’s relocation to Ryder Woods.

home to

Milford Connecticut 62 Three Hundred Seventy-Five

behind City Hall.


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2000 -2014 he mood is hopeful at the

T

start of the new millennium. Revitalization is underway in

Devon and Milford’s housing market is on the upswing. Everything changes on September 11, 2001. Two months later, James L. Richetelli, Jr. embarks upon his decade-long tenure as Milford’s mayor. In 2002, the NY Times runs “If You’re Thinking of Living In Milford…” as feature in their Sunday Real Estate section. Hollywood comes calling as both DeNiro and Pacino shoot scenes on Bridgeport Ave. for the film Righteous Kill. Homegrown stars

Yeargan wins two Tony Awards,

more devastating weather our way.

also shine: Heidi Voight wins Miss

broadcaster Dan Patrick picks up an

Private property and public parks are

Connecticut 2006, set designer Michael

Emmy, and Olympian Erin Pac earns

ravaged, including a newly dedicated

a Bronze medal in the 2010 Women’s

boardwalk at Silver Sands State Park.

Bobsled event in Vancouver.

In response, Milford residents do what

Milford Living debuts in spring of 2004; Milford Radio goes live in

they always do: they volunteer, rebuild, and rally once more.

2010. The Milford Preservation Trust procures funds to restore the John Downs House and rallies to save the Sanford Bristol House. Our elementary schools are restructured and Bodies’ Place Boundless Playground welcomes every child to swing, climb, and slide. Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy bring

Milford Connecticut 66 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


Revitalizing Milford

History Comes Home

ll towns go

A

the Minute Men used it as a

through growing

lookout in 1776.

Milford certainly has had

seen the benefits of a $1

is exceptional and unique. Unlike the

its share of growth spurts.

million dollar grant with

other few remaining examples from the

Over time certain areas

improvements to the beach

Revolutionary War, the Fort Trumbull

have undergone substantial

area and a new streetscape on

cannon retains its original wheels from

revitalization, conjured from

Naugatuck Avenue leading to

the late eighteenth century

the blood, sweat, and tears

investment in the commercial

of local activists, volunteers,

sector. The Walnut Beach

upstate Connecticut, the cannon

business people, residents, and

Association has worked

remained on the grounds even after Fort

politicians who want to see

tirelessly for more than a

Trumbull was no more and the property

every part of Milford be the

decade to bring the old beach

became the site of the Clapp House.

best that it can be. It can be a

community back to life. A

In fact, the family used to fire wooden

slow process, but eventually

beautiful boardwalk, pavilion

shells from the cannon every July 4th (the

the hard work will pay off.

for parties, concerts, and

last being for the American Bicentennial

town events, upscale condos,

in 1976).

pains, and

The heart of the Devon Revitalization Project can

Walnut Beach has also

T

he only remaining cannon of the six that for centuries stood guard

over Long Island Sound at Fort Trumbull

Cast at the Lakeville Foundry in

shops, and a burgeoning

be found in the roughly 1.5 mile

artist’s colony have all combined to

streetscape that branches off in two

return Walnut Beach to a community

directions from the key intersection of

with pride, and transform it into a

Bridgeport and Naugatuck Avenues.

destination for the future.

This advantageous strip is framed at both ends by two parks that function as the gateways to the “Village of Devon.� A $5 million state grant revitalized the community with new designer sidewalks, plantings, benches, and

When the Clapp family moved in 1988,

trash receptacles. The clock tower

the cannon went with them (the site of

park provides an attractive gateway

the Fort is now condos), before being

as one enters Milford from Stratford.

returned to the city to much fanfare in

At the other end of the stretch, Liberty

2010. It now resides on the grounds of

Rock stands as sentinel, as it has, since

the Milford Chamber of Commerce.

Milford Connecticut 67 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


The Boardwalk A

9/11/01

connection. A walkway. A running track. A collaboration

between state and city. Seniors amble. Kids scramble. Runners ramble. The boardwalk along the Milford shoreline is many things to many people. The boardwalk was conceived in 2005 by then CT Speaker of the House Jim Amann, who proposed adding

to the existing 800 foot Silver Sands

he horror and loss of

T

the 1993 World Trade Center attack,

September 11, 2001 was

for carrying a pregnant woman down

felt all over the world, and

ninety floors to safety.

Protection added $1 million in a federal

Miller, Seth Morris, and Avnish Patel all

research analyst for Fred Alger

environmental grant for a total of $3

worked in the World Trade Center, and

Management. He moved to Milford at

million to complete the project.

each had been raised in Milford.

the age of 13 from London and attended

boardwalk. He secured $2 million in state funding for the boardwalk and the Department of Environmental

The finished boardwalk is 4,030’ long

Milford was not immune. Michael

Avnish Patel was a 28-year old

Michael Miller was a 39-year old

Live Oaks School. He lived with family

with three “pull-out” areas with seating.

partner at Cantor Fitzgerald, a Live

on Depot Road and spent two years at

There are two creek crossings and six

Oaks Elementary School and Foran

Foran before moving to New York to be

beach access ramps although in many

graduate who was named Best Athlete

with his older brother.

places people can just step over the edge

when he graduated in 1980. His family

of the boardwalk to the sand.

established a scholarship fund in his

Garden at Live Oaks School was

name that benefits one male and one

dedicated in 2002 to graduates Miller

female scholar athlete each year.

and Patel, and to Morris of Mathewson

Seth Morris grew up on Wheelers

A World Trade Center Memorial

School. The Milford 9/11 memorial

Farms Road and was a 35-year old

stands behind City Hall erected in the

Cantor Fitzgerald director when the

memory of all the victims that died

plane hit Tower One. He had been

in New York, Washington D.C., and

called a hero eight years before, after

Pennsylvania that terrible day.

Milford Connecticut 68 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


Then and Now L auralton Hall was the

five; in 1906, the first graduating

first Catholic college-prep

class consisted of four young women.

high school for girls in

Today, there are 477 girls from

Milford’s Miss CT rowned Miss Connecticut in

C

2006, Milford native Heidi Alice

Voight (Foran class of 2000) entered

Connecticut, and among the first

forty Connecticut towns enrolled in

her first pageant in 2002 at the request

established in the United States. In

the school as day students, grades

of her mother and a year later won

1905, under the direction of Mother

9-12. Now, having celebrated a full

her first crown. A strong advocate of

Mary Augustine Claven, a beautiful

century of educating young women

sexual assault prevention, Voight made

Victorian Gothic mansion on a 40-acre

in the Mercy tradition of Catherine

“Educate, Empower, Eradicate: Stop

Milford, Connecticut property was

McAuley, the school is an independent

the Violence” her personal platform

purchased and the boarding and day

institution. The 2014-2015 school year

throughout her pageant days. She

programs of a girls’ Catholic academy

will mark the 150th anniversary of

currently serves as the director of

at Lauralton Hall begun. The first class

the building of the estate by Charles

Communications for the Fidelco Guide

at Lauralton Hall numbered twenty-

Hobby Pond in 1864.

Dog Foundation.

Michael Yeargan ony Award winning scenic designer

T

and professor of stage design

at the Yale School of Drama, Michael Yeargan won the 2005 Tony for Light in the Piazza. His impressive resume includes work for Broadway, off-Broadway, regional theater, London’s West End, and opera houses here and abroad. Originally from Texas, Yeargan arrived in Milford in the early 70s as a Yale graduate student, fell in love, and never left. He designed his first set in high school, worked with greats like Meryl Streep at Yale, and eventually made a name for himself designing for operas and Broadway.

Milford Connecticut 69 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


Jim Amann

Milford Business M ilford today has a good

mix of businesses. A strong manufacturing base led by

Schick with several hundred smaller

manufacturers in town. Retail makes up a large segment of the business mix

by the many non-profit corporations

with the Westfield Mall leading the way.

that call Milford home, striking a

Unique shopping and dining experiences

balance between serving the needs of

can be found in the Downtown, Devon,

the community and successful business

and Walnut Beach areas, while big boxes

is a testament to the good citizenship of

like Walmart and Target populate the

our community. The Milford Chamber of

Boston Post Road. Newer developments

Commerce works to represent the Milford

like Milford Crossing and Milford

business community and is celebrating

Marketplace add economic vitality to

sixty years. A Milford Chamber of

the City. Subway is the food service

Commerce study showed that 85 percent

ormer Speaker of the House of

corporate entity that is headquartered

of their members were businesses

Representatives, Jim Amann

here and continues to expand throughout

with less than five employees. Recent

was elected to the Connecticut

the world. Milford has other smaller

additions to the hotel business with the

Legislature in 1990 and served as the

corporations in the service, marketing,

Hilton Garden Inn and Hyatt Place add to

Speaker of the House from 2005-2008.

and the technology field. As evidenced

Milford’s over 1,000 available rooms.

F

Prior to the State House he served as a member of the Milford Board of Aldermen from 1983-1990. Speaker Amann is responsible for supporting many landmark legislation initiatives that positively address the healthcare needs of all citizens. Working together with current Senator Gayle Slossberg and former Senator Win Smith, economic and community development projects such as the revitalization of Devon and the development of the Walnut Beach Boardwalk were brought to successful completion.

Milford Connecticut 70 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


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Milford Connecticut 74 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


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AAnsantawae, bBeaches, cCharles Island, DDevon, EEisenhower Park, FFarms, GThe Green, HHistorical Society, II-95, JJudges, KKite Fly, LLaw, Jonathan, MMartin, Joseph Plumb, NNike Missile Site, OOyster Festival, PPeter Pond, QQuaker Oats, RRivers, SSubmarine, TCaptain Thomas Tibbals, UUnderground Railroad, VVilla Rosa, WWoodmont, XXiphosura, YYe Old Clark Tavern, ZZion Hill Road Milford Connecticut 75 Three Hundred Seventy-Five


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The Next 25… Predictions from 6 Milford Mayors hat do you think Milford will be like twenty-five years from now when we celebrate our 400th Anniversary?

W

kind, compassionate, and patriotic

people. We have it all, why would we want to change? No, I don’t see many changes. I am certain that Milford will

“Twenty-five years from now, when

always be the wonderful place that I

we celebrate the 400th Anniversary

remember growing up in, raised my

of our beloved community, I

family in, and will spend my golden

really do not see Milford being

years in.”

all that much different than it is

—Mayor Jim Richetelli, 2001-2011

today. We have been blessed in so many ways: beautiful beaches, a

“In twenty-five years, I believe that

breathtaking harbor, and cascading

there will probably be one Milford

rivers; a charming and thriving

High School again. Someone will have

downtown; comfortable and diverse neighborhoods; a flourishing economic base; our position on “We must strive to keep our small

the train line and access to major

town historical New England charm

transportation arteries; outstanding

while prospering in the 21st century. I

schools; a deep appreciation for

want my children to know the Milford

the arts and culture; and a rich

I knew, the Milford I know today…

New England heritage. Most of all,

the Milford I know we can realize

though, is the heart, soul, and spirit

tomorrow. For those of you familiar

of Milford—and that is our citizens—

with the Frank Capra classic film It’s a Wonderful Life, I see Milford as my Bedford Falls. What makes Milford

found Captain Kidd’s lost treasure on

special and defines us is our small

Charles Island. Eisenhower Park will

town character, a feeling that, even if

be a beautifully renovated park, but

you don’t know everyone, everyone is

there won’t be much open space left

your neighbor. As I look out twenty-

anywhere else in town. My grandson,

five years, I see a technologically

Jeff, said he thinks Bit Coins will be the

advanced, modern city providing

primary source of currency. Milford

efficient and excellent services to a

will still be the ‘Small City with a Big

tight-knit, caring community.”

Heart.’”

—Mayor Ben Blake, 2011-Present

Milford Connecticut 78 Three Hundred Seventy-Five

—Mayor Alberta Jagoe, 1981-1989


“In twenty-five years, the population

in population. Perhaps many

will be about the same, but older. The

homeowners will add solar panels

school population will go down. The

to their roofs and windmills will

Board of Education budget will go up.

be constructed along the shore to

The Long Island Sound will claim more

generate electricity. Homeowners will

land. The Seven Seas will still anchor

install heat pumps in their lawns to

the downtown. There will be no mail

take advantage of the constant soil temperature below ground. Wish I could be there to see it all!” —Mayor Edward J. Kozlowski, 1969 – 1971 Twenty-five years from now I believe that most remaining farmlands will

Milford will be the great city it is, just

be developed into condominiums.

like it is today. I hope that we will be

Eisenhower Park should be developed for more utilization by our Milford citizens. State plans for Silver Sands State Park should be reviewed and on Saturday. The Mayor will still call to

the project reinstituted. High-rise

tell us that it’s raining. There will be a

condominiums will be constructed

big bash at Stonebridge celebrating my

along the picturesque Housatonic

101st birthday!”

River. The construction of double

—Mayor Joel Baldwin, 1973-1977

decker highways on top of I-95 could be constructed to relieve the traffic

“I hope that Milford will retain its

jams. Widening of the Merritt and

early New England historic charm:

Wilbur Cross Parkways should be

from the Memorial Bridge and Tower,

under construction. Sanitary sewers

able to locate the time capsule from

Milford Center Green, to City Hall,

and wastewater treatment plants

the 375th Anniversary. Good Luck and

the Duck Pond, the First Church,

should be constructed or modernized

Best Wishes to all.

and the North Street Pond. I think

to accommodate the slight increase

Milford Connecticut 79 Three Hundred Seventy-Five

—Mayor Alan Jepson, 1963-1969


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Milford Living Summer- 375th City of Milford Anniversary Edition  

Milford Living Summer 2014-375th City of Milford Anniversary Edition

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