History of the High School Hangout Hub

Gulf Beach Past vs. Present


Kelsey Kiely

Snap A Pic: Foran students visiting Gulf Beach at sunset on a summer evening and capture images of the beautiful view, July 26, 2022.

          Gulf Beach is the epicenter of activity in the Milford community, ranging from its infamous activities like watching the sunset, going on beach drives, making many meaningful memories and even becoming a vacation spot for tourists. However, the history of this familiar beach seems untold to students. 

          Many high school students see Gulf Beach as a place to gather with each other, oblivious of the influential part it plays on the timeline of Milford and the United States. According to the City of Milford webpage, the small city in Connecticut was established in 1639, nearly 136 years before the revolutionary war, and is rooted with history. 

          Gulf Beach specifically is the local star of one particularly interesting war story. On New Years Eve 1776-77, two hundred ill revolutionary prisoners of war washed ashore at Gulf Beach. The soldiers were taken as prisoners during battle in New York. They were infected with smallpox and dumped from a British ship that evening. 

          A local, known as Captain Stow, took the prisoners in and volunteered to care for them. In result, 46 of the prisoners unfortunately passed away, and so did Captain Stow. 

          The plaque that honors these veterans is overlooked by many, but should not be forgotten by those who occupy the public beach. This plaque is located on Gulf Street and can be seen on the right when traveling South at the far end of the bridge. 

          Fast forward over two centuries, this historical location is used by residents of Connecticut as a home and place to gather. 

          Senior Jacob Ward, who lives walking distance from Gulf Beach, states, “Gulf beach is the closest beach to where I grew up. My family and I would go there when I was a kid to collect shells and sand dollars. I have made many memories there and it holds a special place in my heart.”

          More students at Foran are highly involved with the beach. For example, the Sound Lions Club, a club in which they clean beaches and earn volunteer hours, chose their first clean up this year to be at Gulf Beach. 

          Sound Lions Secretary, Hannah Salsbury, states that students can help keep Gulf Beach, and any beach in general, clean by, “Preventing littering…to eliminate the root of the problem or clean up trash whenever they see it on the beach. They can also join Sound Lions so they can participate in beach cleanups with us.” 

          The importance of keeping Gulf Beach clean is essential. Problems like climate change and death of animals are due to pollution of beaches and the water.   

          While there are many beaches in Milford, Gulf Beach seems to be the most popular and has specialties of its own. As most may know, Gulf Beach has a pier, which attracts people who want to fish. Gulf Beach also has its infamous bridge and access to the entrance of the Milford Harbor. In addition, Gulf Beach’s refreshment stand, Goodies, is a known small town restaurant that is open from May until October every year. 

          Gulf Beach is at a great location with a great view of the sunset, Charles Island, and is so close to the Milford Green. It is also a great spot to watch the Milford Fireworks. Gulf Beach is a great place to make memories, as well as visiting the memorial benches to honor those who have passed or want to be remembered, which makes Gulf Beach even more meaningful to the Milford Community. 

          In addition to meaningful events, this beach hosts some fun activities as well. Gulf Beach hosts a vintage car show every year for Milford citizens to present their collection of cars and gives the opportunity for others to be able to look at different cars while socializing with people that have similar interests. One can also get a permit if they want to host their own event at Gulf. 

          Park, Beach, and Recreation of Milford is in charge of all the events and beaches in Milford. Dan Worroll has been on the Park, Beach, and Recreation Commission for 32 years, and is currently the chairman of this organization. 

          As being a part of a very respected community organization of Connecticut, Worroll is proud to say, “Its [Gulf Beach] got everything you want. It’s just a great spot.” He would not change anything about Gulf Beach and explains how well-maintenanced and cared for it is.

          Gulf beach is a treasured location throughout Milford full of history, memories, and multi-seasonal offerings.  Next time you are at Gulf beach, think about the significance of its existence in history and the contribution it makes to the community today.