Milford’s First Stoplight

By Milford Museum Executive Director, Claudia Leister

The first Milford stoplight was erected at the intersection of Northwest Front Street and North Walnut Street about 1920. Milford saw its first automobiles when Dr. James Stanton and Dr. George Marshall purchased this new extravagant mode of transportation in 1905. Many of the wealthier Milford families followed in succession.

The stoplight was secured atop a metal framework attached to a concrete pedestal. The pedestal was highlighted with directional arrows pointing to Harrington, Dover, Georgetown and Rehoboth. A second stoplight was added late in the 1920’s after traffic patterns shifted much of the congestion to the South Milford plaza intersection at Southeast Front Street near the Presbyterian Church. This light is clearly visible in pictures from 1927 to 1940. It can easily be seen in the midst of junked cars and metal in photographs of the World War II scrap metal drive.

In 1950, the City of Milford undertook a major facelift for Walnut Street that included paving and widening Walnut Street, burying all electric lines, adding sidewalks and removing the old stoplight. The stoplight was stored in the City power plant until ownership was transferred to the Milford Museum in 2000. Finally, in 2007, it was restored and placed on display on Southeast Second Street next to the Museum. The current base, signage and framework are accurate reproductions of the original. The original yellow stoplight is once again lighted and is an interesting reminder of Milford’s earlier days.

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