Friday December 1 and Saturday December 2 Christmas Open House at its headquarters
The Milford Historical Society will hold a Christmas Open House on Friday, Dec. 1 from 5:30 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 2 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at its headquarters, 34 High St. Admission is free.
November 20 - at the Mary Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church Sikorsky - That Magnificent Man in His Helicopter
The Milford Historical Society's next program will be about the Historical Archives of Igor Sikorsky, the genius behind Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford. Join us on Monday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. at the Mary Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church, 168 Broad St., on the Green.
The speaker will be Dan Libertino, president of the Archives since 2004, who will tell the story of the three aviation careers of Sikorsky: The Russian Years 1889-1918, The American Years 1919-1938, and The Helicopter Years from 1939 until his death in 1972.
Libertino has a 66-year association with Sikorsky helicopters. He started his career with the United States Air Force in 1951 as a helicopter mechanic and upon discharge in 1954, he spent a few years with Petroleum Helicopters. Then in 1956 he started working at Sikorsky Aircraft.
During his 41-year tenure with Sikorsky he spent 30 years (17 of that overseas) in the field as a technical representative, work that involved logistics management and sales. Eventually, he headed General Management for Sikorsky Operations in Australia, Korea and Turkey.
Since retirement in 1997, he has volunteered in the Archive program (founded in 1995) and has been its president since 2004.
The Sikorsky Family has provided many articles for the archives, including a gold and diamond watch given Igor by Czar Nicholas II.
Sikorsky was an aviation pioneer, pilot, designer, university engineering lecturer and entrepreneur. He was also a very religious man, and in 1942 he wrote a book titled “The Message of the Lord’s Prayer.”
His last letter was dictated on October 25, 1972 and includes the words: “I always believed that the helicopter would be an outstanding vehicle for the greatest variety of life-saving missions and now, near the close of life, I have the satisfaction of knowing that this proved to be true.” He died the next morning at age 83 at his home in Easton, CT and is buried in Saint John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Cemetery in Stratford.
All Milford Historical Society programs are open to the public at no charge, however donations are gratefully received. For more information call (203) 874-2664.
October 14 Graveyard Tour
The Graveyard tour will meet at 12:50 behind the Freelove Baldwin DAR building. Additional Information will be available as the date nears.
September 30 Walking Tour South of the Green
The walking tour will meet at the Eells-Stowe house at the Society at 34 High Street at 1:00 PM. Additional information will be available as the date nears.
September 25 General Meeting at the Mary Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church
Ed Oberg will present a review of the restoration of 18th century houses at the next meeting of the Milford Historical Society on Monday, Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. at the Mary Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church, 168 Broad St. on the Green. The public is invited.
Come early for coffee and refreshment time that will be followed by a 10-minute business meeting.
Mr. Oberg recently finished extensive restoration and preservation work on the Society’s Eells-Stow House (c. 1700) at the Society’s headquarters at 34 High Street.
For more info visit milfordhistoricalsociety.com or telephone (203) 874-2664
September 23 Herbcrafters at Garlic Festival
"The Herbcrafters Group” is a group within the Milford Historical Society that was formed in 1973 and takes care of the herb garden around the Bryan-Downs House (c.1785) at the Society’s head- quarters, 34 High St.
Members learn about the historical and modern-day uses of herbs for culinary and medicinal purposes. They share ideas on the cultivation and drying of herbs, along with ways to use companion plantings. A yearly plant exchange is held.
The Herbcrafters meet the 4th Monday of the month at the Society. Visit milfordhistoricalsociety.org or call (203) 877-1851 for more details.
Society Annual Picnic
July 17 at 6 pm Wharf Lane
The Milford Historical Society will hold its annual picnic for members and friends on Monday, July 17 at 6 p.m. on the Society grounds at 34 High St., rain or shine.
Indoor seating will be available with air conditioning, or you can be outdoors, if you prefer. Those attending are asked to bring their favorite dish. Please call Barbara Ortoleva at (203) 874-0035, to let her know if you are coming so that seating can be provided.
Herbcrafters Garden Tea Party
June 24 2-4 pm, 34 High Street
Tea sandwiches, delicious desserts, and teas will be served. Guest speaker will be Cheryl Cappiali, Beekeeper and Master Gardener Intern. There will be a tea cup auction. Donation is $20; only 50 tickets will be sold. For tickets call (203) 876-8207 or (203) 877-1851, or buy them at the Society’s Country Store weekends from 1 to 4 p.m. through June 18.
Open House Day
June 10 1-4 pm, Wharf Lane
Milford Historical Society will be part of "Connecticut Open House Day" during the annual state-wide celebration of all the museums, galleries, cultural sites and other attractions open to the public free for the day in our "Still Revolutionary" state.
Houses open for the season
June 3 from 1 - 4 pm, Wharf Lane
The Milford Historical Society invites you to take a memory trip back to see your childhood toys and books when its summer exhibit opens Saturday, June 3, 1 to 4 p.m. at its headquarters, 34 Him 2 to 4 p.m. (Exhibit also open Sunday, June 4 from 1 to 4 p.m. and every weekend until fall.)
Among the items on display will be a doll’s striped canvas folding beach chair (c.1950), yellow metal Armsco “Doll-E-Crib” bed with an adjustable side rail (c.1950), a child’s wooden drying rack (c.1910), a Horseman 18-inch baby doll (c.1924), Rag doll (c.1925), Effanbee 16-inch little girl doll (c.1930), log cabin doll house (c.1980) and a child’s wooden DUBL HANDI washboard (c.1910) from the Columbus Washboard Co.,Columbus, Ohio.
Children of today will enjoy seeing these toys of the past, but if your own memory stretches back to treasures in “grandma’s or great grandma’s” attic, you might remember, a rickshaw-style painted doll’s carriage with a leather bonnet lined in velvet (c.1867), a four-storied lithograph doll house (c.1890), a wicker baby carriage (c.1890) and a child’s black painted pressed back rocking chair (c.1890).
There’s something for everyone to enjoy from the Society’s collection of children’s books from 1897 to 1950s.
Also on exhibit will be a 1758 infant shift belonging to Samuel Higby of Milford. It has two narrow shoulder straps attached to a chest band with a gathered skirt including a 2-inch hem of a different muslin, printed with red and pink flowers. This infant later went on to add another story to Milford’s history.
When he was a Deacon at the 1st Church of Christ he encountered Thomas Jefferson’s vice president Aaron Burr, who was traveling by coach through Milford on his way to Philadelphia. Higby, a church tithing man, (charged with enforcing the observance of the Sabbath) told Burr to stop and stay overnight before continuing his journey, because there was a law prohibiting travel on Sunday!
Tours of Milford’s three 18th century houses are free, although donations are gratefully accepted. Visitors are welcome to view the herb and flower gardens and spend some time in the Country Store gift shop that offers such things as books, map reproductions, candles, old-fashioned toys, lavender sachets and small flags.
Annual Dinner at Gustos, Milford
Joint meeting with Orange Historical Society Thursday, March 16 at 7 pm at the Case Memorial Library, Orange. Speaker will be Judith Ann Schiff, Chief Research Archivist, Yale University Library, and New Haven City Historian. In her talk, entitled "Historic Women of Southern CT From the First Lady of the 1638 New Haven Colony to the Founder of the Culinary Institute of America" she will share stories about the contributions of some remarkable local women to American culture. The program is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.
Our January meeting was cancelled and will be replaced by the following program co-sponsored by the Milford Public Library and the Milford Historical Society on Monday, March 15 at 6:30 pm at the Library:
The Not-So-Good Life of the Colonial Goodwife [for mature audiences only]
In 2011, Velya Jancz-Urban and her family bought a foreclosed farmhouse in Woodbury, Connecticut, unaware of what the house would reveal. Behind the walls, surprises and secrets waited to be exposed. This became the spark for the novel, Acquiescence. Moving into this 1770 farmhouse ignited Velya's interest in the colonial era. While researching her novel, she became obsessed (in a good way) with colonial women. In Velya’s entertainingly-informative presentation, The Not-So-Good Life of the Colonial Goodwife, even history buffs will learn a thing or two.
The Not-So-Good Life of the Colonial Goodwife not only makes audience members laugh and grimace, but it also honors our foremothers. It’s not about quilting bees and spinning wheels - it’s an interactive presentation about the little-known issues faced by New England’s colonial women [some of which may be quite personal].
Christmas Fair 2016 Dec 2nd and 3rd
The Milford Historical Society will hold its Christmas Faire and open house on Friday December 2 from 5 - 9pm and Saturday December 3 from 12 – 5pm at Wharf Lane.
Christmastime! No time?
Just imagine getting a tabletop Christmas tree completely and beautifully decorated or a lavishly adorned wreath.
You can find those things at the Milford Historical Society’s Christmas Faire. The event is at the historic Bryan-Downs House, 34 High St., near the town dock. The Eells-Stow House, on the same property, will also be open for self-guided tours. Free admission.
All trees and wreaths were made by Society members, particularly those in the Herbcrafters group.
Need to save more time this season? Then visit the bake shop for Christmas cookies and breads that you can freeze and enjoy later ---or maybe sooner! Freshly baked goods will go great with free cider.
Friday, Dec. 2 is also the night of Milford’s Lamplight Stroll, and the Society is just a stroll away. Follow High Street where it cuts through the center of the Green and go two blocks toward the harbor. Look for the luminarias along our walks and come in for a warm welcome.
There will also be knitted apparel and handcrafted ornaments – lots of one-of-a-kind decorations. The Country Store will be stocked with old-fashioned toys, candy and jewelry for children, plus history books, map reproductions, Early American candlesticks, lavender sachets, scented soaps, and more.
For the Society this Faire is a major fundraiser to help pay the cost of much needed preservation work currently being done on the Eells-Stow House, one of the oldest houses in Milford. If you are new to Milford or someone who has never visited the Society headquarters, consider that you have a special invitation; it’s your house and your history, too.
November Meeting: The Red Cross
The history of the Milford Red Cross will be told by Joyce Milne at the November 21, 7 pm meeting of the Milford Historical Society at the Mary Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church, 168 Broad Street on the Green.
Joyce Milne, a retired teacher, who has volunteered with the chapter since the 1970s will tell the story of its early days and how the agency developed.
Her first volunteer job was making phone calls to get donors for bloodmobiles. Later, she became a First Aid class instructor, then took on teaching CPR classes and soon found herself a board member getting involved in fundraising and even running a golf tournament.
She credits her family for being supportive of her dedication. “It wasn’t unusual for me to have to leave the dinner table and go run a First Aid class because the instructor hadn’t shown up!” she recalled with a laugh.
She said there were times she felt she practically lived at the chapter house and that included hours spent in the attic deciding which old records (complete with social security numbers) had to be shredded for client privacy issues and which records needed to be preserved as historical documents.
The attic “archives” have notes from Feb. 1, 1917 from the first meeting of the Red Cross Chapter held at the DAR’s Freelove Baldwin Stow headquarters once located on Broad Street, (now the Milford Bank parking lot).
Old ledgers show much of the early work was sewing and knitting clothes, making layettes, supporting troops in World War I and gearing up for World War II. There are accounts of the numbers of garments, gauze, medical tape, wound dressings and other supplies that were processed and readied for shipment.
In the early days it was the Red Cross that staffed Milford Hospital with volunteers until the Milford Hospital Auxiliary was formally founded. And today the chapter is involved with families still trying to get back into their homes after the 2012 Hurricane Sandy. Records show that each decade brings multiple challenges that are met with help of all kinds; Mrs. Milne has many more stories to share.
The site used by the Milford Red Cross Chapter House today, at 1 Plymouth Place and Cherry Street, also known as “five corners,” has like the agency itself, served the Milford community in many ways. In 1639 the land was parceled to one of the settlement’s founders, Richard Platt, as Lot #38 on the Original Town Plot. In later years there was a store on that corner; today an historic marker on the lawn reads: “Site of store in which was located an early Post Office. 1824-1841.”
The house we see today was built and owned in the 1800s by William Strong, Milford's first Judge of Probate. (Milford had previously been part of the New Haven probate district.) In the front room there is a fireplace faced with Milford marble, from a rare green serpentine marble deposit discovered in 1811 about a mile or so from the house.
The next owner was David E. Platt, whose daughter, Marguerite, lived there with her husband Thomas Dewhurst. After his death, Marguerite and her daughter, Carolyn Dewhurst (Casagrande), sold the house in 1959 to the Red Cross. Before the program there will be time for coffee and conversation and a 15-minute business meeting. Although there is no admission charge, freewill donations are always gratefully accepted. For information on the Milford Historical Society and membership go to milfordhistoricalsociety.org.
Over the years, the Society has been the recipient of historical Red Cross items; many will be put on display at this meeting. More details to follow, but mark your calendar now!
Annual Cemetery Tour October 15
Reenactors will bring stories to life at the Milford Historical Society’s annual walking tour of the Old Milford Cemetery on Sat., Oct. 15 at 1 p.m. beginning from the DAR parking lot, 55 Prospect St. (If you can, it’s good to come at 12:50 p.m. so organizers can start making up small groups for the tour.)
This cemetery, laid out in 1676, was Milford’s first formal burying ground, and many of Milford’s early settlers are buried there.
The tombstones, themselves, tell a lot about the 15th and 16th centuries. What did the word “Esquire” mean? (It’s not what you think.) Some stones record information about buried “relics.” What’s the story there? What do the carved symbols on the top of the stones mean? Do we know who did the artistic stone work? And what’s a table tomb?
For some of the answers, prepare to meet early settlers Robert Treat, Molly Fowler, Jonathan Law, Stephen Stow and others who will be at the gravesites in the form of reenactors in period costumes. Visitors will also hear about the cemetery’s well-known but still mysterious “weeping lady” monument.
100 Years of Football at Yale Bowl
Monday, September 19 at 7 p.m. at the Mary Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church, 168 Broad Street.
The author of “A Bowl Full of Memories: 100 Years of Football at the Yale Bowl” will speak at the next Milford Historical Society meeting. The public is invited.
Rich Marazzi will tell stories that cover Yale football from 1872 and will talk about Yale Bowl that was 100 years old in 2014. He will take you into the huddle, the locker room, the practice field, the campus, and the hearts and minds of Yalies over the past century.
The 150 stories in his book are first-person accounts by those who played from the 1940s up to modern day games, along with remembrances from coaches, writers, broadcasters and fans who give their views of the spectacles and contests of the past.
Marazzi, who has seen almost every game at the Bowl in the last 50 years, will talk about the legendary Yale football coach Walter Camp, whose story is important to understanding Yale football and the evolution of the game as we know it. And of course Marazzi will cover one of the oldest rivalries in college sports, -- “The Game” – the annual Yale-Harvard game.
Marazzi, of Ansonia, is also known for his passion for baseball and for 17 years had a radio talk show on WICC, WELI and ESPN Radio 1300 titled, "Inside Yankee Baseball."
He is a rules columnist for several publications including “Baseball Digest” and has written for “USA Today Sports Weekly.”
For the past 11 years he has been the facilitator for the Silver Sluggers baseball group that meets weekly at the Derby Public Library during the baseball season.
Oyster Festival August 20 10am-4pm
Interested in Oysters? Visit Milford Historical Society
When you visit Milford’s 42nd Annual Oyster Festival this Saturday, Aug. 20, be sure to include a stop at the Milford Historical Society to see where 377 years of Milford history is celebrated every day.
And speaking of oysters, check out the booklet in the society’s Country Store on “Oystering in Milford: A Brief History” ($5) about “The Industry and the Men Who Farmed the Seas Off Milford’s Bountiful Shores.” The book by James E. Trapp and the late Rutheva Baldwin Brockett, traces the subject from pre-Colonial times through the 20th century.
At the society headquarters, 34 High St., members work to preserve three houses built in the 1700s; docent-led tours will be offered from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Students and children are invited to visit for free and a $5 donation is requested for adults. But there’s lots free to do for everyone. Colonial stocks will be set up so that you can take photos of friends; there will be old-fashioned games for children on the lawn from 12 noon to 1 p.m., and feather quill writing workshops from 1 to 2 p.m.
Everyone is also invited to stroll the society’s Herbcrafters’ herb garden and period flower gardens tended by the Milford Garden Club.
The summer exhibit includes items from Artic Engine Co. #1, early Milford Schools and information on the three governors from Milford.
There is also a photo exhibit of town halls that include the 1915 fire that destroyed the previous structure, along with early photos of the present Town Hall that’s construction was begun 100 years ago in 1916. Present-day photos have been lent to the society by professional photographers Paul Hromjak and Mary Grace Lisk Leone.The best way to get to the society is to go down High Street where it cuts through the Milford Green and walk two blocks toward the Town Dock. It’s a short walk that will take you way back in time.
Guided Tours July 30 1:30 pm Exhibit
2:30 pm Herb Garden
Annual Picnic July 18 at 6pm at 34 High Street. It will be held rain or shine; inside seating will be available. Those attending are asked to bring their favorite dish. Please call Barbara O. at (203) 874-0035 to let her know you are coming so that seating can be provided.
Summer Exhibit through Columbus Day Open for tours 1-4 pm Saturdays and Sundays in the three historic houses. The display includes photos and memorabilia from the early fire departments and schools, the three governors who hailed from Milford, and early fashions worn by Milfordites, along with old and current photos of Town Hall from as early as 1899.
Permanent displays include Native American artifacts in the Claude C. Coffin Indian Collection, a Victorian parlor furnished with items from Milford families, and the Molly Fowler Stone on loan from the Milford Cemetery Association.
Garden Tea Party June 25 at 2:00 pm
34 High Street. The Herbcrafters of the Milford Historical Society will host a Garden Tea Party on Saturday, June 25 at 2 p.m. on Society grounds at 34 High St. Tea sandwiches, delicious desserts, and teas will be served. There will be a speaker on herbs from Van Wilgen’s Garden Center, door prizes and a tea cup auction. The donation is $15; the event will take place rain or shine. Only 50 tickets will be sold. Call (203) 877-1851 for reservations.
Docent training session May 21 at 1:00 pm 34 High Street. Call 203-877-1851 to reserve a spot. Show visitors around the complex after one session.
Annual Dinner and Meeting
May 18 at 6:00 pm Aldario's Restaurant, 240 Naugatuck Avenue, Milford - Reserve by May 4
The life and work of New England weaver Silas Burton (1793-1827) of Stratford"will be the topic of the March 21 meeting of the Milford Historical Society, 7 p.m. at the Mary Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church, 168 Broad St., on the Green. The talk is open to the public and free, although donations are gratefully accepted. Guests for the evening will be friends and members of the Orange Historical Society.
The speaker will be Rebecca Arkenberg, an ardent weaver and an educator/consultant for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Arkenberg has compiled a spreadsheet of New England weavers, noting dates, clients, and types of cloth produced. She invites anyone who has an ancestor from the area, or who lives in an historic house whose early 19th century occupants are known, to bring forward names so she can do an instant search and see if they were clients of Burton.
She has already found that Capt. Charles Pond of Milford purchased a carpet from Burton, and that the one apprentice Burton took was Luther Northrup from Milford.
Burton was a professional “fancy” weaver, but also taught school, served as Town Clerk, and kept the town’s first lending library. His house still stands on Linden Avenue, although it is now a veterinary clinic. Most importantly, a number of his papers, including his daybook, account book, weaving memorandum, and his pattern books are owned by the Stratford Historical Society.
His papers provide more information than is available for any other New England weaver of the time. His documents record his interactions with his community. He made reeds for household looms, taught weaving, and bartered his goods and services for food, the use of a horse, etc. He sold or traded his weavings to clients from Stratford, Milford, Derby, New Haven, Westchester, New York, and North Carolina.
"Glimpses of Conservation History, Past Lessons and Choices for the Future", a talk by Steven Johnson.
Monday, January 18 at 7:00 pm, Mary Taylor Church Hall, 168 Broad Street on the Milford Green. The public is invited.
Steven is Milford's Open Space and Natural Resource Agent. He is a Master Wildlife Conservationist and serves as a volunteer for a number of local and regional conservation organizations, including the CT Audubon Society and Southwest Conservation District, and is past Vice-Chair of the Milford Conservation Commission.
COME TO THE CHRISTMAS FAIRE!
The Milford Historical Society will hold its Christmas Faire Friday, Dec. 11 from 6 to 9 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 12 from 12 noon to 6 p.m. at its headquarters, 34 High St. The three 18th century houses will be decorated by the Milford Garden Club and a Girl Scout Troop and open for tours. We also will have the choir from Jonathan Law singing. Visits from St. Nick are planned.
Paugussett Villages and Recent Archaeological Discoveries
Monday, November 16 at 7:00 pm, Mary Taylor Church Hall, 168 Broad Street on the Milford Green. The public is invited.
Tim Chaucer, Director of the Milford Marine Institute, will tell about archaeological finds in the Gulf Pond area where the Institute has been conducting scientific digs since 1983.
Woodmont Walking Tour
Saturday, October 31 at 10 am Milford Bank, Woodmont
The Milford Historical Society will sponsor its third walking tour of the Borough of Woodmont Saturday, October 31.
The tour will be led by long-time Woodmont resident Katie Murphy, author of “Woodmont on the Sound.”
Tour of the Olde Burying Ground
Saturday, October 24 at 1 pm, DAR parking lot
Lively reenactors will bring to life the stories of some of the “residents” in the Old Milford Cemetery during the Milford Historical Society’s tour of the town’s oldest formal burial ground that was established in 1676.
"Connecticut and the Civil War" by Hamish Lutris
Monday, September 21 at 7 pm Mary Taylor Church Hall
Oyster Festival - Houses Open for Tours
August 15 10am-4pm
The three 18th century houses of the Milford Historical Society, located at 34 High Street, will be open for guided tours on Oyster Festival Day.
Guided Tour of the Herb Garden
Saturday, August 1 2 pm, 34 High Street
Guided Tour of Summer Exhibit
Saturday, July 25 2 pm, 34 High Street
Annual Pot-luck Picnic
Monday, July 20 6 pm, 34 High Street
Bring a dish to share.
Guided Tour of Indian Collection
Sunday, July 12 at 2 pm, 34 High Street
Historic Downtown Milford Walking Tour Saturday, July 11 at 10 am
Herbcrafters' Garden Tea Party
Saturday, June 27
Ghost Hunt & Paranormal Investigation
Saturday, June 20 and 27 9 p.m. - midnight Join the Northeast Paranormal Investigations Society and Spirits of Milford Ghost Walks for tours of all 3 houses.
Connecticut Open House Day
free admission Saturday, June 13
Annual Dinner and Meeting
Wednesday, May 20 6:30 pm
Aldario's Restaurant, 240 Naugatuck Avenue, Milford
"Restoring Historic Homes: The Bryan-Andrew House"
Tuesday, March 24 at 7 p.m. at the Orange Congregational Church, Orange Center Road, on the Green across from The Academy building. This is a joint meeting with Orange Historical Society, who will present the program. Speakers will be Edd Oberg, a restoration contractor, Karan Oberg, a historian and artist, and President Ginny Reinhard.
“Historic Preservation in Milford”
Monday, January 19 at 7 p.m. at the Mary Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church. Everyone interested in preserving historic homes and sites is encouraged to attend and hear proposals by the Milford Preservation Trust. Former City Historian Richard Platt will start with a slide presentation of "Milford's Lost Buildings."
12th Night Celebration
January 11, 2015 1-5 pm. Wharf LaneType your paragraph here.
PROGRAMS AND EVENTS