On Sunday, January 8, The Milford Museum held their first presentation of their new speaker series on Historical Milford. The new series is an initiative of Milford Museum’s Executive Director Claudia Leister who took the position in July 2011. Her determination to increase the awareness of the Milford Museum and the historical richness the Milford offers was evident on Sunday as the Museum quickly became a standing-room-only event.
“I want to raise the visibility of the museum in the community,” commented Claudia. “This will allow people the opportunity to experience the local history of Milford.”
The first speaker series was given by Major Everett Bennet, Major Commander of the Civil Air Patrol at Dover Air Force Base. This Milford native served as a Platoon Leader , Tactical Officer and Executive Officer for the United States Army Air Defense Artillery. As an Assistant Professor at the University of Delaware Major Bennet taught Agricultural Engineering Technology, Electricity Hydraulics and Project Economic Analysis Courses.
At the Milford Museum Major Bennet gave a presentation on Fort Saulsbury, one of Delaware’s most forgotten forts located just east of Milford in the Slaughter Beach area. Fort Saulsbury housed thousands of soldiers from 1918-1945 and was the only fort in the United States to be privately owned. According to the State of Delaware archives Fort Saulsbury included four 12-inch guns capable of firing 2,000 pound shells 20 miles and two dirt and grass-covered concrete casements.
In 1941 the 261st Coast Artillery Batter B was assigned to Fort Saulsbury in order to protect the coastline, which they did from three towers located at Stone Beach, Misipillion Light and Fowler’s Beach. The Fort was deactivated in 1946 and sold to the Kendzierski family two years later.
The 2012 Speak Series at the Milford Museum will take place once a month. In February the Milford Museum and the Milford Public Library will partner for the speaker series which will take place on Saturday, February 18 at 10am at the library. Orlando Camp, one of the first 11 black students to be integrated into the Milford High School in 1954, will give a presentation about his experience as a child in Milford. Mr. Camp authored the book The Milford Eleven which describes the rocky road to school integration in the Milford community.