Milford is a coastal city in New Haven County, Connecticut, United States, between New Haven and Bridgeport. The population was 50,558 at the 2020 United States Census.[5] The city includes the village of Devon and the borough of Woodmont. Milford is part of the South Central Connecticut Planning Region and New York metropolitan area.

Milford, Connecticut
City of Milford
Aerial view of Milford city center and harbor
Aerial view of Milford city center and harbor
Flag of Milford, Connecticut
Official seal of Milford, Connecticut
Etymology: Ford by a mill
Sleepy Hollow[1]
A Small City with a Big Heart!
Coordinates: 41°13′27″N 73°03′35″W / 41.22417°N 73.05972°W / 41.22417; -73.05972
Country United States
U.S. state Connecticut
CountyNew Haven
RegionSouth Central CT
Settled1639; 384 years ago (1639)
Incorporated (city)1959; 64 years ago (1959)
Named forMilford, Surrey
 • TypeMayor–Board of Aldermen
 • MayorTony Giannattasio (R)
 • Total25.13 sq mi (65.09 km2)
 • Land21.91 sq mi (56.73 km2)
 • Water3.23 sq mi (8.35 km2)
 • Total50,558
 • Density2,308/sq mi (891.2/km2)
 United States Census 2010, United States Census Bureau
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP Codes
06460, 06461
Area code(s)203/475
FIPS code09-47515
GNIS feature ID0208882
Major highways
Commuter Rail

History edit

Early history edit

The Eells-Stow House, c. 1700, is believed to be the oldest extant house in Milford.

This area was occupied by indigenous peoples for thousands of years. At the time of English encounter, it was territory of the Paugusset (an Algonquian-speaking tribe). English colonists affiliated with the contemporary New Haven Colony purchased land which today comprises Milford, Orange, and West Haven on February 1, 1639, from Ansantawae, chief of the local Paugusset. They knew the area as Wepawaug, named for the small river which runs through the town. Later the settlers named streets in both Milford and Orange as Wepawaug.

The settlers built a grist mill by the Wepawaug River in 1640, to take advantage of its water power.[6]

During the Revolutionary War, the Milford section of the Boston Post Road, a vital route connecting Boston, New York and other major coastal cities, was blockaded by Continental forces, and Fort Trumbull was constructed to protect the town. The site of the blockade is commemorated by the Liberty Rock monument.

By 1822, the town had grown large enough that residents in the northern and eastern sections of Milford chartered the Town of Orange. During the next century and a half, the remaining section of Milford was known for shipbuilding, farming and oystering. Some industrial facilities were also developed in town.

Because of its location on Long Island Sound, during the later 19th century, Milford also became known as a beach resort for residents of New Haven and Bridgeport.

In 1899, the "Memorial Bridge" (a "stone bridge and tower commemorating the town's history and founders")[7] replaced the last mill over the Wepawaug, which had closed in 1894.[6] The bridge was described as "simple in design, its broad copings surmounted with rough hewn blocks of granite, bearing the names of the first settlers. There are ten blocks on the south and twenty on the north coping. At each end of the former is a stone four feet wide by five and a half high."[6] It is located where Broad Street crosses the Wepawaug River.

In 1903, the southeastern portion of the town was incorporated as the Borough of Woodmont. In 1959, the Town of Milford, including the Borough of Woodmont, was incorporated as the City of Milford.

View of Milford's greens on a 19th-century naïve landscape painting

Towns created from Milford edit

Milford was one of the early settlements in south central Connecticut and, over time, gave rise to several new towns that broke off and incorporated separately. The following is a list of towns created from parts of Milford.

The "oatmeal lots" of Liberty Park edit

Starting in 1902, Quaker Oats oatmeal boxes came with a coupon redeemable for the legal deed to a tiny lot in Milford. The lots, sometimes as small as 10 feet (3 m) by 10 feet, were carved out of a 15-acre (6.1 ha) tract in a never-built subdivision called "Liberty Park". A small number of children (or their parents), often residents living near Milford, collected the deeds and started paying the extremely small property taxes on the "oatmeal lots". The developer of the prospective subdivision hoped the landowners would hire him to build homes on the lots, although several lots would need to be combined before building could start. Since the subdivision into small lots predated Milford's planning and zoning regulations, the deeds were entirely legal, although they created a large amount of paperwork for town tax collectors, who frequently couldn't find the property owners and received almost no tax revenue from the lots.[8]

Oyster Huts on Milford Point, a sketch by John Warner Barber for his Historical Collections of Connecticut (1836). Barber wrote that he found 15 or 20 of these seaweed-covered huts along the shore when he visited the town in 1836.

In the mid-1970s, when the town wanted to develop the area, town officials put an end to the oatmeal lots in a "general foreclosure" that avoided the enormous expense of individual foreclosures by condemning nearly all of the property in one legal filing. One of the streets in the Liberty Park subdivision plans, Shelland Street, was later built in the late 1990s as an access road to the Milford Power Company. The site is currently home to the Bic Corporation's lighter factory at 565 Bic Drive.

In a separate land giveaway in 1955 tied to the Sergeant Preston of the Yukon television show, Quaker Oats offered in its Puffed Wheat and Puffed Rice cereal boxes genuine deeds to land in the Klondike.[8]

Post-World War II development edit

In the post-World War II period, Milford—like many Connecticut towns—underwent significant suburbanization. Interstate 95 was routed through town, and the Milford section was completed in 1958.

The 1960s and 1970s witnessed the construction of the Connecticut Post Mall, one of the state's largest shopping malls, and the extensive commercial development of the town's stretch of the Boston Post Road. One notable small business located on the Boston Post Road during the 1970s was SCELBI Computer Consulting, credited by many as being the world's first personal-computer manufacturer. Starting in 1975, the city began hosting the Milford Oyster Festival, which has since become firmly established as an annual Milford tradition that is held "rain or shine".[9][10]

The city became host to several headquarters of multinational corporations, including the Schick Shaving company,[11] and Doctor's Associates, Inc., owners of the Subway chain of fast-food restaurants. The US operations of BIC were headquartered in Milford, but in March 2008 moved most of its operations to Shelton. Milford Hospital has also developed into an important health care resource for the area. It has also become home of smaller national corporations such as K-Mart and Orchid Medical.

Demographics edit

Historical population

According to the 2010 US census Demographic Profile Data, there were 51,271 people living in 21,017 housing units of which 13,534 were counted as family households.[13] The population density was 2,341/sq mi (904/km2). The average density of housing units was 1,017.7 per square mile. The racial makeup of Milford was 93.55% White, 1.91% African American, 0.13% Native American, 2.36% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.88% from other races, and 1.14% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 3.34% of the population.

Of the aforementioned households 29.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.7% were married couples living together, 9.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.4% were non-families. 26.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.04.

(In Milford the population was 22.4% under the age of 18, 5.9% from 18 to 24, 31.7% from 25 to 44, 25.0% from 45 to 64, and 14.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.0 males.)

As of the 2000 census, the median income for a household was $61,183. The per capita income was $28,773. About 2.4% of families and 3.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.1% of those under age 18 and 5.4% of those age 65 or over.

The Census Bureau's 2010–2012 American Community Survey showed that (in 2012 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $77,925 and the median family income was $93,697. Year-round male workers had a median income of $67,631 versus $59,992 for females. The per capita income for the city was $38,560.[14]

Gallery edit

Government edit

Government in the city is set up with the mayor as chief executive and the Board of Aldermen as a legislative body. The mayor is permitted to propose legislation to the Board of Aldermen and introduces the city budget, but possesses no veto power over what the Aldermen chooses to pass.

Milford's city hall, the fifth building to occupy the site

Elected positions edit

The following is a list of city government positions elected by city residents and the terms thereof:[15]

  • Mayor: The mayor is the city's chief executive and is elected in odd-numbered years. The mayor receives compensation for his or her services.
  • Board of Aldermen: The Board of Aldermen consists of 15 members elected in odd-numbered years, three from each of the city's five political districts. Per City Charter requirements, only two of the three aldermen elected from each district may be from one political party to allow for minority representation on the board; voters are permitted to vote for any three aldermen in their district. Members of the Board of Aldermen receive no compensation for their services.
  • Board of Education: The Board of Education deals with educational matters in the city and consists of 10 members elected in odd-numbered years, two from each of the city's five political districts. Members receive no compensation for their services.
  • Planning & Zoning Board: The Planning & Zoning Board deals with development and land use issues and consists of 10 members, two from each of the city's five political districts. Members serve a four-year term, with one of the two members of each political district up for election during each odd-numbered year's election cycle, ensuring that no more than half of the board is made up of new members at the start of a new session. Members of the Planning & Zoning Board receive no compensation for their services.
  • City Clerk: The city clerk is elected in odd-numbered years and receives a compensation for services provided.
  • Constables: Seven constables are elected in odd-numbered years, though individual voters are only permitted to vote for any four of their choosing on the ballot. They are compensated on a case-by-case basis.
  • Registrars of Voters: Pursuant to Connecticut state law, each town must have a Republican and Democratic registrar of voters to serve as election administrators, though an additional third party registrar is permitted if they receive more votes than either of the major parties' registrar. Registrars in Milford are elected to two-year terms, their election taking place during each even-year state election cycle. Registrars are compensated for their services. Voters may only vote for one choice for registrar.

List of mayors edit

After becoming incorporated as a city in 1959, the city reformed its system of government by establishing a mayor–board of aldermen format. It elected its first mayor, Charles Iovino,[16] the incumbent city manager under Milford's previous form of government, on November 3, 1959.

Since 1959, 12 people have held the office of mayor in the city.[17]

# Name In office Political party
1 Charles Iovino 1959–1963 Independent
2 Alan Jepson 1963–1969 Democratic
3 Edward Kozlowski 1969–1971 Republican
4 Clifton Moore 1971–1973 Republican
5 Joel Baldwin 1973–1977 Democratic
6 Henry Povinelli 1977–1981 Republican
7 Alberta Jagoe 1981–1989 Democratic
8 Frederick L. Lisman 1989–2001 Republican
9 James L. Richetelli, Jr. 2001–2011 Republican
10 Benjamin G. Blake 2011–2023 Democratic
11 Richard Smith 2023 Democratic
12 Tony Giannattasio 2023–present Republican

Registered voters edit

Voter registration and party enrollment as of November, 01 2017[18]
Party Active voters Inactive voters Total voters Percentage Change since 2015[19]
Democratic 10,319 405 10,724 28.5% +15.6%
Republican 8,166 248 8,414 22.4% +18.6%
Unaffiliated 17,256 606 17,862 47.5% +6.3%
Total 36,309 1,274 37,583 100% +12.0%

Education edit

Milford Public Schools currently operates eight elementary schools, three middle schools, two high schools, and one alternative education high school.[20] There are also a number of private schools in the city.

Public edit

Milford High School operated for 141 years at the time of its closing in June, 1983. It was the first public high school to operate in Milford, beginning in 1842.[35] The former Milford High School building is now the Parson's Government building.[36]

Private schools edit

St. Gabriel's School opened in 1965; at the time clergy were the primary teachers. By the 2010s there were fewer clergy teachers, and lay teachers were more expensive; in addition fewer parishioners gave money to the church. By 2016 the school's budget was $111,709 in deficit. In 2008–2009 it had a peak enrollment of 219. In 2014 there was concern expressed about the school's survival expressed in the community, and in 2016 enrollment was down to 139, with 22 being in special education. The school directors chose to close the school in June 2016; the archdiocese did not order the closure.[41]

Emergency services edit

Fire Department edit

The city of Milford is protected 24/7, 365 by the 114 paid, full-time firefighters of the city of Milford Fire Department – ISO Class 1. The department currently operates out of four fire stations located throughout the city, under the command of a Battalion Chief and a Shift Commander. The Milford Fire Department is one of only two fire departments in the state of Connecticut to maintain an ISO Class 1 rating. The current[when?] Fire Chief is Douglas Edo.[42]

Fire station locations and apparatus edit

Below is a complete listing of all fire station locations and apparatus in the city of Milford.[43]

Engine company Truck company Rescue ambulance Special unit Command unit Address
Squad 1 (rescue pumper) Medic 1, Medic 2 Squad 1a Car 4 (Shift Commander), Car 5 (Battalion Chief) 72 New Haven Ave.
Quint 3, Engine 4 Haz-Mat. 1, Dive Rescue Unit 349 Naugatuck Ave.
Quint 5, Engine 6 Rescue 234(Collapse Unit), Utility 3 980 New Haven Ave.
Engine 7 Medic 3 55 Wheelers Farms Rd.
Special Services Canteen Unit 3 Charles Street

The Milford Fire Department also operates one reserve engine. Engine 8 (Reserve) is located at Semans Lane. The Canteen Unit is operated out of a garage at 3 Charles Street.

In 2021 Milford Fire department Removed Tower 1 from service and put in another full time Medic unit (Medic 3) one of the only towns to operate without a Tower Ladder

Police department edit

As of April 4, 2014, the Milford Police Department became one of 28 of Connecticut's 106 police departments accredited by the state of Connecticut.[44] Divisions and units include Detective Division, Special Investigations Unit, Identification Bureau and Narcotics & Vice Squad, Crime Prevention Unit, Training Unit/Recruit Academy and Marine Patrol / Dive Team.[45] The current chief of Milford Police is Keith L Mello[46]

Principal communities of Milford edit

Map showing Milford and neighboring towns: Stratford, Shelton, Orange, and West Haven
  • Downtown Milford
  • Devon
    • Rivercliff
  • Morningside†
  • Point Beach†
  • Bayview†
  • Walnut Beach
  • Wildermere Beach†
  • Laurel Beach†
  • Woodmont

Other minor communities and geographic features are Anchor Beach, Bayview Heights, Burwells Beach, Cedar Beach, Downtown Historic District, Ettadore Park, Far View Beach, Forest Heights, Fort Trumbull, Great River, Gulf Beach, Heatherstone, Lexington Green, Merwin's Beach, Merwin's Point, Milford Lawns, Milford Point, Myrtle Beach, Naugatuck Gardens, Point Lookout, Silver Sands Beach, South of the Green, Wheelers Farms. Some of these communities have access to public and/or private beaches.

†: Denotes that the community is chartered by Special Act of the Connecticut General Assembly and have been granted some of the powers normally held only by a municipality including taxing authority.

‡: The Borough of Woodmont is chartered by Special Act of the Connecticut General Assembly as a municipality and has been granted all statutory powers of a municipality while simultaneously remaining part of the city of Milford.[47]

Culture and events edit

2006 Milford Oyster Festival banner

Every year on the third Saturday in August, Milford celebrates its annual Oyster Festival, which serves as a combination of a typical town fair with a culinary celebration of the town's location on historically shellfish-rich Long Island Sound. According to the "Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink"[48] the lobster roll originated as a hot dish at a restaurant named Perry's as early as 1929.[48][49] This festival takes place in and around the Milford Green, near the center of town, as well as in various locations throughout the downtown area, and features a wide variety of events including canoe and kayak races, musical performances, and classic car shows.

The Milford Oyster Festival has drawn large musical acts over the years including Joan Jett, The Marshall Tucker Band, John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band, and Soul Asylum.[citation needed]

There are also other features such as carnival rides, food stands, crafts, face painting, and even opening your own oyster for a pearl.

The Milford Cultural Center, operated by the Milford Council for the Arts, offers various events throughout the year. The Firehouse Art Gallery was recently opened in Devon. The beach resort quality of the town lives on, with several rocky beaches, Silver Sands State Park, the Connecticut Audubon Society Coastal Center at Milford Point, Charles Island, two golf courses, and numerous other recreational facilities available for residents and tourists.

Since 2011, the Walnut Beach Concert Series has taken place under the pavilion at Walnut Beach. It features a different band playing every Sunday afternoon during the summer.[50]

Economy edit

Top employers edit

Top employers in Milford according to the town's 2020 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report[51]

# Employer Employees
1 City of Milford, Board of Education 1,076
2 Subway 870
3 Milford Hospital 774
4 Schick 696
5 City of Milford 542
6 Neopost Hasler 390
7 Macy's 325
8 Stop & Shop 288
9 Costco 240
10 Alinabal 226

Geography and environment edit

According to the United States Census Bureau, Milford, including the borough of Woodmont, has a total area of 26.1 square miles (67.7 km2), of which 22.2 square miles (57.4 km2) is land and 3.9 square miles (10.2 km2), or 15.11%, is water.[52]

Milford's Devon neighborhood[53] is located at the mouth of the Housatonic River near Stratford, and features the Connecticut Audubon Coastal Center overlooking the estuary.

Islands and coastline edit

Laurel Beach, 1910

Milford has over 14 miles (23 km) of shoreline facing Long Island Sound, the most of any town in Connecticut.[54] A large portion of Milford's shoreline forms the Silver Sands State Park. A newly built 3/4 mile boardwalk was opened in 2011 that connects Silver Sands to Walnut Beach in Devon. Charles Island is also a part of the park and is a protected bird nesting ground. There is a sandbar (called a tombolo since it is perpendicular, not parallel to the coast) accessible during low tide that people can walk on from Silver Sands Beach to Charles Island. However, the sandbar can be dangerous to walk on as the quick change from low tide to high tide has led to several drownings. Visitors to Charles Island include treasure hunters looking for stolen treasure believed to have been buried in 1699 by Captain William Kidd and his pirate crew.[20]

The island is a part of the Hamonasset-Ledyard Moraine and was formed as glaciers retreated at the end of the last ice age. The Wisconsin glaciation formed drumlins in Milford: Clark, Burwell, Eels, Bryan and Merwin hills.[55]

Milford owns three islands in the Housatonic River: Fowler Island, just to the south of the Igor I. Sikorsky Memorial Bridge, Duck Island, and Nells Island, both near the mouth of the river. In addition to Silver Sands State Park, Milford has five public beaches with lifeguard services for its residents—Gulf Beach, Anchor Beach, Hawley Avenue Beach, Walnut Beach, and Middle Beach—as well as seven private beaches.

Transportation edit

Interstate 95 and U.S. Route 1 pass through the southern part of Milford. The Wilbur Cross Parkway cuts across the northern part of the city and is connected to I-95 and Route 1 via the Milford Parkway, also known as the Daniel S. Wasson connector, named for the first police officer to die in the line of duty in the city of Milford. The Metro-North New Haven Line has a station stop in downtown Milford (Milford station) with direct service to New York City. The Milford Transit District provides in-town service to major attractions. Connections with the Greater Bridgeport Transit Authority, Norwalk Transit District, and Connecticut Transit New Haven are also available.

On the National Register of Historic Places edit

Notable people edit

Movies filmed in Milford edit

Movies filmed at least in part in Milford include:

References edit

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External links edit