Milford's Memorial Tower: A look inside (VIDEO)
Sometimes people ask to see the inside of the Memorial Tower, a landmark in downtown Milford built in 1889.
Mayor Ben Blake said he received one such request recently, and a suggestion that tours be led inside the tower.
The suggestion made the editor at the Milford Mirror wonder just what is inside the stately 29-foot tower that has become one of the iconic symbols of Milford.
So the Mirror staff borrowed the key.
First, a little history:
According to History of Milford Connecticut, as the city was approaching its 250th anniversary, a joint committee decided that as part of the anniversary celebration, “a substantial mark should be made in honor of the Founders of the town.”
Town leaders decided to appropriate $3,000 to build the Memorial Bridge and Tower, and construction started in the fall of 1888. It was finished by August of 1889, in time for a lengthy celebration.
“Built of large, rough blocks of Leete’s Island granite, and dominated by a forty foot turret tower topped with red Spanish tile, the bridge includes a commemorative stone for each individual founder,” according to History of MIlford Connecticut.
Many residents are familiar with the tower, and may have noticed some of its markings, like the “idealized head of the Indian chief Ansantawae, and the mark — a bow and arrow — with which he signed the deed of the Milford land purchase.”
“Next to the doorway leading into the 29-foot tower is a large stone inscribed with a dedication to Robert Treat, an early Milford settler who served as governor of the Connecticut colony,” according to Ctmonuments.net.
The site notes that a knocker on the door was taken from the “front door of a home with a porch from which George Whitfield, a founder of the Plymouth Church, preached. The doorway also features the hanger for a lantern that has been lost over the years.”
While the bridge and tower are indeed historic and impressive, the inside of the tower doesn’t appear to be much more than the inside of the tower.
“I don’t have any special stories associated with it,” said former city historian Richard Platt. “It’s a place where pigeons would like to roost if there wasn’t that mesh on the top.”
The inside is simply a round opening, about wide enough for one person to stand in the middle, stretch out both arms and nearly touch opposite sides of the wall.
The bottom is covered with pigeon droppings and feathers, so even walking into the small space requires a strong stomach and a plugged nose.
Looking up from the inside, one sees the inner stones leading to a narrow window of sorts, and then the underneath of the roof structure.
“It’s just a hollow tower, built in a circle,” Platt said.
Platt noted that the lantern that once hung from the tower was lost after a truck driving by one year knocked it off.
Go to Milfordmirror.com to see video of the inside of the tower.