Discovering Downtown: A Look Into Milford’s History

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Milford Town Hall: The text on Milford’s fifth town hall, built in 1916. Photo Courtesy: Sean Ayoub, March 10, 2021.

Sean Ayoub and Isabella Mema

     The Milford Green is the second-longest in New England, featuring small businesses and shops among historic buildings. In fact, history reads that George Washington dined and rested here. Milford’s culture runs deep through its rich history, which can sometimes be overlooked.

     According to the City of Milford, in February of 1639, English colonists purchased the ‘Wepawaug’ area from Ansantawae, Chief Sachem of the Paugussett Tribe. Townspeople began to settle in modern-day Orange, West Haven, and Milford.

     Colonists utilized the Wepawaug River and 17 miles of coastline for economic growth, focusing on shipbuilding, oystering, and trade from Milford harbor. The 1900s introduced the leather industry, along with clothing production.

     The Milford Historical Society demonstrates these changes through three 18th century homes and several Native American artifacts. During the summer, people can visit and take tours, as well as shop at their general store.

     Milford carries its motto,“A Small City with a Big Heart,” through everything it does as a town, from preserving history, to annual public events such as the tree lighting or Oyster Festival.

     Foran teacher and alum Mr. Jeffery Raucci says, “People will typically only think of Fairfield, Greenwich, Stamford, etc. when talking about popular places in CT, but forget about Milford because we may be a small city. But once people come to Milford, they are able to see the beauty and location of where we are… and the great businesses and shoreline that we have!”

Taylor Memorial Library: The Fort Trumbull Cannon as it sits in front of the current Chamber of Commerce. Photo Courtesy: Bella Mema, March 10, 2021.
Doughboy Monument: A statue of a World War I soldier outside Town Hall. Photo Courtesy: Sean Ayoub, March 10, 2021.
Jefferson Bridge: Overlooking Wepawaug River, the view from behind Town Hall. Photo Courtesy: Sean Ayoub, March 10, 2021.
A Closer Look: Milford’s well-known waterfall at the lower duck pond. Photo Courtesy: Bella Mema, March 10, 2021.
Milford Remembers: A memorial honoring the victims of 9/11. Photo Courtesy: Bella Mema, March 10, 2021.
Heroes who Fought: A memorial dedicated to those who served during World War II. Photo Courtesy: Sean Ayoub, March 10, 2021.
Preserving History: One of several buildings at the Milford Historical Society. Photo Courtesy: Photo Courtesy: Bella Mema, March 10, 2021.