Milford has been called “The granite town of the granite state” for more than 100 years. Milford’s granite industry was the catalyst to substantial growth in Milford, particularly on the East side of town. Though the first granite taken from the ground in Milford was as far back as 1850, the industry itself boomed between 1900 and 1930. Joseph Tonella brought his family to Milford in 1898. Prior to living in Milford, the family resided in Concord, NH and they came to America from Italy in the early 1880’s. His business was called Tonella & Sons as he involved his sons, Charles and Julian. In 1901 and 1902, Tonella purchased land on what was then the road to Brookline (today it is Old Brookline road off of Armory road) and started the “Tonella Queen Quarry”. Driving past this location today, you would hardly know a quarry even exists.
Being a kid and growing up in Milford brings back great memories. Just little things like riding my bike to Jim's store on Union street to buy baseball cards, sledding at Twin Tows and then walking all the way back to the center of town, hiking up to lookout rock up behind our house on Falconer Ave, etc. etc. I could go on all day with my Milford memories. The one event of my childhood that I often think about is the VFW's annual Labord day parade and carnival. The VFW still coordinates what some would say are the best parades in the state. I would guess that I've only missed a few of them over the past 40 years. My kids grew up going to the parades and I hope their kids get to enjoy the VFW parades someday. Kids today grew up enjoying the Pumpkin Festival. Before the days of the Pumpkin Festival, the VFW would host a great carnival every Labor Day weekend and us kids loved it!
Who can remember the Liberty Nursing Home on Elm Street? Liberty Nursing Home was located at what was then #39 Elm street. Though the building itself is no longer there, it stood just to the West of today's Smith & Heald Funeral Home. Today the location is the East wing of The Elm's nursing home.
In the Summer of 1947, Edgar and Marie Liberty owned the house next door (then #41 Elm Street and today the main building of The Elms nursing). They purchased the home just to their East (#39 Elm). They fixed the place up and converted it into apartments. It was called “Liberty Apartments”. In 1953, the Liberty’s sold their home at #41 Elm street, packed up their family and moved to Florida. Before their move to Florida, Marie Liberty actually owned and operated the “Milford Rest Home” for a period of time at her home at #41. When the Libertys moved back to Milford about a year later in 1954, Marie made plans for the “Liberty Nursing Home” at #39 Elm.
When was this picture taken? This picture was sent to us many years ago and unfortunately, I'm not quite sure who sent it. For me, this picture sums up what I love about our town. This picture was likely taken some 50+ years ago in a time when Milford's population was probably about a third of what it is today. Though Milford was experiencing a lot of growth in those days, it was still small enough where you knew most everyone in town. Fast-forward all those years to today. Buildings, automobiles, and landscapes change over the years and you surely dont "know everyone in town" any more, but when we have events like our parades or Pumpkin Festival or even Christmas craft fair day, the sense of community pride, the atmosphere, and the excitement of residents coming together around the oval remains the same today!