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History

On February 1, 1639, the area then known as “Wepawaug” was purchased from Ansantawae, chief sachem of the Paugusset Tribe.

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Settlers began arriving shortly thereafter and began to build the town known as Milford. Adventurers from Milford reached out and founded several other communities and explored far into the American wilderness. The Milford Historical Society safeguards three 18th century homes at its Wharf Lane complex. Among their possessions is one of the finest collections of Native American artifacts.

Buried treasure is said to exist on a small island the Indians called “Poquahaug,” located a mile off Silver Sands Beach. It is a recognized fact that Captain Kidd and other pirates sailed and hid along the Connecticut coast. The island, now called Charles Island, still holds mystery and is protected by the state not for its golden treasure, but for its feathery inhabitants: the Black-Crowned Night Herons, Little Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Glossy Ibis and Piping Plover.

History abounds in Milford as three governors of Connecticut called Milford their home. 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.

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The long gone Fort Trumbull was built at the entrance to the harbor to provide protection in the late 1700s during the Revolutionary War. George Washington did sleep in Milford on his travels during the war. The Civil War made Milford a stop on the Underground Railroad. Although primarily agrarian, shipbuilding, oystering, small industry and trade on the open seas were part of the local economy. The early 1900s brought the leather industry along with the making of boots, hats and shoes.

After World War II, the population swelled as GIs returned from the war and bought houses in Milford and then in a suburb of New Haven and Bridgeport. Industry also developed to support the war effort. Manufacturing flourished with Norden, Milford Rivet, U.S. Motors and Edgecomb Steel being some of the familiar names of the time. Other industry followed most notably the consumer giants of BIC and Schick. The completion of I-95 in 1960 with its seven exits and entrances brought easy access. The Connecticut Post Shopping Center now known as Westfield Connecticut Post and other development followed rapidly. Development reached a peak in the ‘70s-‘80s, then leveled off in the early ‘90s. It then picked up again in the late ‘90s until we reached our present population of over 52,000 and businesses that number over 2,500.

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